Sean Mannion’s Legacy Still Up In The Air In 2014


Sean Mannion’s career stats are indubitably impressive, but where does he rank among Beaver quarterbacks all-time? Mandatory Credit: Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

It was a miserably hot, muggy day within the skyward bound pillars and columns of Reser Stadium in Corvallis. The air was stale with defeat; Oregon State had just dropped the season opener of the 2011 season to FCS Sacramento State, 29-28, in overtime. The resounding echo of a missed field goal humming across the field and then the entire delirious fan base. The silence was astounding, but hardly so compared to the after-shock of spiteful discontent that would follow.

On that forgettable day a tall, lanky freshman took the reigns at quarterback in the second half, leading the Beavers back from a 21-6 halftime deficit. The starting quarterback of record at the time, Ryan Katz, had a miserable first half against a team that was previously 0-10 against FBS opponents since 2002. The winds of change were abound; Sean Mannion got the nod at half time and never looked back.

Sean Mannion’s career in orange and black started with the excitement and prospect of Adam Sandler’s next movie. The program was embarrassed, fans from all corners of Beaver Nation were calling for everything from new coordinators, to a new coaching staff, all the way to a complete athletic department overhaul. We’ve come some far in the last three years….

68 touchdowns, 10,436 passing yards, and one bowl victory later, we’ve arrived in the present. Mannion’s passing yards and touchdowns were gaudy last year, and three solid years as a starter have made the senior from Pleasanton, Calif. almost a lock to break every major passing record at Oregon State by the end of 2014.

Mannion currently holds the Oregon State record for single season passing touchdowns (37) and passing touchdowns in a game (6). He is also tenth in conference history in total yards (10,436) and thirteenth in touchdown passes (68).

In terms of quality wins, Mannion has a few solid highlight worthy victories. He led the Beavers over the #13 Wisconsin Badgers at home in 2012, 10-7. He followed that performance by battling past #19 UCLA in Pasadena, Calif. 27-20.

More recently, the Beavers 51-49 OT victory over Utah and the season finale Hawai’i Bowl win over Boise State highlight what has been an up and down career under center. There are certainly a few ugly Ls on his resume.

Mannion has never won a Civil War game. Unfortunately for Mannion, his freshman year was also smack dab in the middle of Chip Kelly’s time in Eugene. The Ducks were ranked tenth, fifth, and thirteenth from 2011-13 while Mannion was starting for the Beavers. 49-21 in 2011, 48-24 in 2012, and 36-35 in 2013.

His career record in 34 games at Oregon State is 16-18, and he’s tossed 46 interceptions to his 68 touchdowns. Stats that have caused many to grind their teeth thinking about missed opportunities and turnovers.

However, the returning passing champion of the conference will have a few big opportunities to cement a legacy with the likes of Derek Anderson and Jonathan Smith.

The Beavers kick off the conference season against the men of Troy at the Los Angeles Coliseum. USC made the best coaching change in the nation last year, bringing back Pete Carroll disciple Steve Sarkisian from Washington. The Beavers have had a favorable past against the Trojans over the past decade, however most of that success has been at Reser Stadium. A win on the road in Los Angeles would mean a lot in 2014 and in the overall schema of Sean Mannion’s perceived greatness.

Oregon State finishes out the year with a trip to Washington, to visit Sarkisian’s replacement, former Boise State coach Chris Petersen, and as always, the Civil War to be played at Reser Stadium on the last weekend of November. Facing two storied northwest rivalries to finish out his senior campaign, Sean Mannion could do a lot for his name in Beaver Nation.

Having fought through injuries, coaching changes, and two quarterback controversies, Sean Mannion returns in 2014 as the reigning passing champion of the nation’s most prolific passing conference. Some danced with the idea that Mannion’s sheer statistical clout could carry him to a Heisman nomination. He’ll need quality wins and greater consistency in 2014 if he hopes to achieve that feat.