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COLLEGE FOOTBALL SPOTLIGHT

Oregon State has a solid backup plan at quarterback

Cody Vaz fills in flawlessly for injured Sean Mannion in the Beavers' victory over Brigham Young.

October 13, 2012|By Mike Hiserman
  • Oregon State quarterback Cody Vaz and Coach Mike Riley chat during a break in the action on Saturday.
Oregon State quarterback Cody Vaz and Coach Mike Riley chat during a break… (Rick Bowmer / Associated…)

So much for all the talk about the importance of being game-tested, especially at quarterback.

Cody Vaz, a fourth-year junior, had played only briefly in five games during his college career, hadn't taken a single snap in a game since 2010, and hadn't started a game since high school.

Yet, he was the starter for No. 10 Oregon State on Saturday because Sean Mannion is out indefinitely with a knee injury. The opponent, on the road in Provo, Utah: Brigham Young, which was third in scoring defense and fifth in overall defense among the Football Bowl Subdivision's 120 teams.

Vaz completed 20 of 32 passes for 332 yards and three touchdowns without an interception as the Beavers won, 42-24, to run their record to 5-0 for the first time since 1939.

"I knew all along that Cody is a pretty good player, but I also knew this is a pretty hard venue to step into," Oregon State Coach Mike Riley said. "I thought guys helped him out and made plays."

Vaz's yardage was 7.5 yards short of what Mannion was averaging, but we think Riley will take it.

Here's a tip

Attention pizza parlor workers: Safer to flip the pies than the college football jokes.

Or, to put this another way, if anyone who has anything to do with, say, West Virginia football calls to order takeout this week, watch what you say to them. It could cost you your job.

That's what happened to man who took a phone order from the wife of Luke Fickell, an Ohio State defensive coach.

The man, identified only as a 25-year-old student and lifelong Buckeyes fan, said he took an order from Mrs. Fickell and, in a joking manner, opined that the team "really should improve on our tackling. It's really bad right now."

He says she laughed. The manager of the pizzeria in Shawnee Hills, a suburb of Columbus, was not amused.

The worker says the Fickells called to complain and, as a result, he lost his job. When that story started making the rounds, it caused such a furor that it prompted Ohio State to issue a statement saying that the Fickells did not call to complain, that the manager called them.

"… they also did not ask that anyone be fired," the statement read in part. "In fact, they feel terrible that this person lost his job.

"All they did was order pizza."

He's been called worse

Washington State Coach Mike Leach has a good sense of humor, so we're fairly certain he's called himself a "bobblehead" or something similar over the years.

Saturday it was true. It was "Mike Leach Bobblehead Day" in Pullman when the Cougars played host to California.

Early in the week, the coach warmed up for the game by tweeting a photo of his bobblehead in the foreground of a photo showing a sign that read: "Bear Research, Conservation & Education Program."

Wrote Leach: "Just doing a little extra studying of this week's opponent."

Honor roll

With Oklahoma's 63-21 rout of Texas, quarterback Landry Jones notched career win 33, a school record. He now has one more win than Steve Davis, who had 32 back in the 1970s.

We're not sure Jones really should be considered the bigger winner, though. Although Jones' career record is a sterling 33-8, Davis was 32-1-1 and guided the Sooners to national championships in 1974 and '75.

Davis and Jones are two of the four Oklahoma quarterbacks to go 3-0 against Texas. The others were Jimmy Harris and Jamelle Holieway.

Phi Slamma Bama

Missouri accomplished something in a 42-10 loss to Alabama that no team had been able to do all season: They turned back the top-ranked Crimson Tide inside the 20.

In 29 trips to the red zone, Alabama has 22 touchdowns, six field goals and a turnover — a fumble by quarterback A.J. McCarron that Missouri covered at its own 19.

One-liners

Stanford became the first team to lead Notre Dame this season, holding a 10-3 edge in the second quarter and a 13-10 advantage in the fourth quarter before losing in overtime..... Notre Dame's defense has not given up a touchdown in the last four games.... Michigan, which has more victories than any other program in college football, will be going for No. 900 next week against Michigan State, which has a four-game winning streak against the Wolverines.... Minnesota said Coach Jerry Kill was resting comfortably at a hospital, where he was taken having suffered a seizure after his team's 21-13 loss to Northwestern.... Boise State, which defeated Fresno State, 20-10, hasn't lost a game played in October since the 2001 season.... Tulane snapped the FBS' longest losing streak at 15 games by defeating Southern Methodist, 27-26, as Ryan Griffin passed for 302 yards and three touchdowns, the last a 16-yard strike to Robert Kelly with 35 seconds left in the game.

mike.hiserman@latimes.com

Times wire services contributed to this report.

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