Senior quarterback Sean Mannion ran for one touchdown, passed for another and threw for 328 total yards on Saturday to lead Oregon State’s 29-14 victory over Portland State at Reser Stadium.
An opening-day crowd of 40,309 saw the Beavers (1-0) parlay five second-half turnovers into 16 unanswered points to erase a 14-13 halftime deficit. OSU coach Mike Riley improved to 9-5 in season openers on the 10-year anniversary of the transformative east grandstand renovation.
Redshirt freshman placekicker Garrett Owens added five field goals and a two extra points in his debut and became the first player in school history with more than three field goals in his first game. The Beavers (1-0) improved to 4-0 in the all-time series, which dates back to 1983.
"It's good to win; we've all been there when we lost (opening) games," Riley said. "I was really proud of the way our defense played in the second half. We took the quarterback away," and did not allow big completions downfield.
Mannion completed 26 of 45 passes to eight different receivers and did not have an interception. He passed the 300-yard mark for the 10th time in his last 14 games, for the 18th time overall, and increased his career total to 10,764 yards.
He moved ahead of Arizona State’s Rudy Carpenter (10,491) and Andrew Walter (10,492), USC’s Matt Leinart (10,693) and UCLA’s Cade McNown (10,708) to assume sixth place on the Pac-12’s career passing yardage list. Next to pass are Stanford’s Steve Stenstrom (10,911) and Washington State’s Alex Brink (10,913).
Senior safety Tyrequek Zimmerman had his first two career interceptions to lead a defense that cracked down in the second half to hold the Vikings (0-1), one of the top offensive teams in FCS in 2013, to no points and 40 total yards over the final 30 minutes.
"We just played sounder football," Riley said, and stayed disciplined. "In the first half we got out of our lanes and not balanced. In the second half we figured out what was hurting us and took it away.
"When you take their best stuff away and don't give them the big pass, it's just a nice job. Our guys executed. That's a good sign. I think Tyrequek had his best game as a Beaver."
Senior tailback Storm Woods rushed for 126 yards on 16 carries and added a 23-yard TD reception with 5:07 left in the third quarter that sent the Beavers in front 23-14. It was his fourth career 100-yard game, and his second in a row. He gained 107 against Boise State in the 2013 Hawaii Bowl.
Owens, whose 26-yard field goal with 10:58 in the third quarter put OSU ahead to stay at 16-14, subsequently added 31- and 23-yard field goals for the final margin. His seven attempts were a school record.
"He did a good job, made some kicks and did a good job on kickoffs," Riley said of Owens.
Tight end Connor Hamlett had five receptions for 88 yards. Victor Bolden added five catches for 55 yards, Richard Mullaney five for 42.
OSU took a 3-0 lead at 8:04 of the first quarter when Owens drilled a 25-yard field goal in his first collegiate attempt. A 35-yard Mannion-to-Hamlett hookup set up the kick.
Owens hit from 25 yards again at 1:12 of the first quarter for a 6-0 advantage. A career-long 50-yard Storm Woods run on a third-and-20 play from the OSU 12 moved the Beavers into scoring position.
PSU went ahead 7-6 on a 58-yard run by quarterback Paris Penn but the Beavers answered with an 82-yard scoring drive to take a 13-7 lead. Mannion scrambled the last six yards on a third-and-goal for the go-ahead points with 9:36 left in the second quarter.
Penn scored again on an 11-yard run for a 14-13 PSU advantage with 3:50 remaining in the second quarter. The Vikings took that lead into the locker room when Owens missed wide-right on a 50-yard field goal on the half’s final play.
The Beavers head to Hawaii this week for a Sept. 6 game with the Warriors at Aloha Stadium. Kickoff is set for 7:30 PDT; it will be televised by CBSSN.