Preview: Portland State at Oregon State

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One year ago, Oregon State opened their season against a Big Sky opponent with a dual-threat quarterback.The Beavers were upset by Eastern Washington.

Not many are predicting Oregon State will suffer the same fate Saturday against Portland State. But the Vikings are capable of causing a few problems.

It starts at quarterback, where Skyview graduate Kieran McDonagh is a classic dual-threat playmaker. The linebacker-sized junior produced 2,305 yards of total offense (1,936 passing, 369 rushing) and 19 TDs last season.

Yet, McDonagh could split time with sophomore Paris Penn, another dual-threat QB who saw action in six games last season.

That said, Oregon State should have enough firepower to handle a Vikings defense that allowed 430.0 yards per game last season. Sean Mannion returns after leading the nation’s third-best passing offense (372.6 ypg).

Speedy sophomore Victor Bolden could have a breakout season after backing up Brandon Cooks at flanker. Richard Mullaney is the lone returning receiver.

New offensive coordinator John Garrett has pledged to bring more balance to an OSU offense that ranked 118th in the nation in rushing last season (94.4 ypg). Storm Woods and Terron Ward will split time in the backfield.

Portland State at Oregon State

When: 1 p.m. Saturday at Reser Stadium, Corvallis.

TV, radio: Pac-12 Networks, AM-620

Key to game: Oregon State should score plenty of points. Portland State’s only chance is if they turn the game into a shootout. The Beavers defense allowed 30 or more points eight times last season, but should be better with eight starters back.

Local angles: Along with McDonagh, Portland State has a key player in linebacker Brandon Brody-Heim. The junior from Union had 46 tackles last season, fifth highest on the team. Freshman John Norcross (Camas) is also on the Vikings roster.

For Oregon State, freshman offensive lineman Drew Clarkson (Camas) is getting his Beaver career under way. You probably recall his inspiring story of beating testicular cancer.

Quotable: “They’ve got our 100 percent attention. What happened last year, we don’t want that to happen again.” — OSU running back Terron Ward.  

Prediction: Oregon State 45-28

Micah Rice

Micah Rice

Columbian Sports Editor Micah Rice is the author of Tailgate Talk: College football from a Clark County perspective.

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