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Originally published September 1, 2013 at 8:17 PM | Page modified September 1, 2013 at 10:36 PM

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Oregon State stumbles at start — again

Two years ago, Oregon State opened with a demoralizing defeat to Sacramento State and finished with one of its worst years under coach Mike Riley, at 3-9. After Saturday’s 49-46 loss to Eastern Washington, the Beavers have to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

Seattle Times college football reporter

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The moral of the first weekend of college football, sponsored by Oregon State, Kansas State and Connecticut: If you’re going to schedule a cupcake, make sure it is far down the food chain of FCS schools.

What We Learned

It’s déjà vu at Oregon State. Two years ago, the Beavers opened with a demoralizing defeat to Sacramento State, and finished with one of their worst years under Mike Riley, at 3-9. After a 49-46 loss to Eastern Washington, they have to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

This ought to be different, because Eastern Washington is different. It was written in Oregon last week that the two Pac-12 schools there were playing “body-bag“ games by playing outclassed visitors.

Eastern a body-bag opponent? Hardly, not when it won the 2010 FCS national title and was throwing into the end zone with a chance to beat Washington and Washington State on its final drive the next two seasons.

Anybody searching for a national player of the week ought to look no further than Eastern quarterback Vernon Adams, who had 518 yards combined rushing and passing against a team thought to have a pretty good secondary.

What a difference a year makes for OSU, which opened by beating Wisconsin in 2012.

Officials are going to enforce the targeting penalty. Oregon cornerback Terrance Mitchell was ejected for his vicious hit on a Nicholls State quarterback, and Cal defensive end Chris McCain got the boot for one on Northwestern quarterback Trevor Siemian.

Huskies get to have it both ways on Austin Seferian-Jenkins. In the end, not only did UW coach Steve Sarkisian enforce a disciplinary suspension for ASJ’s DUI, he proved to the player the UW can win without him. And big, as in 38-6, which just doesn’t happen to Boise State.

But I think Sark got it only half-right. To announce the suspension weeks ago would have quelled all the speculation, and more important, it would have set straight the issue of a competitive advantage in keeping Boise State in the dark, which should never have been a part of a serious matter.

Not much changed in the eight months for USC. Or so it seemed on offense, anyway, as the Trojans lurched past Hawaii, not impressing coach Lane Kiffin or the LA Daily News.

Wrote the paper, “The offensive line was atrocious, the quarterbacks spotty and the play-calling questionable at times. It could have been the Sun Bowl, just 40 degrees warmer.”

When the lights come on, Brett Hundley excels. Last year, the UCLA quarterback ran for a 72-yard touchdown against Rice on his first college snap. This time against Nevada, he scored from 37 yards out on UCLA’s opening possession against Nevada in a 58-20 win. Much more of this, and Hundley’s name is going to be on some Heisman lists.

Utah emitted a sigh of relief. This is how tenuous it was for the Utes in a 30-26 win over Utah State: A successful onside kick in the second half was pivotal. It’s not so much what the win does for a struggling Utah program, it’s avoiding what the loss might have done.

Jared Goff wasn’t on a pitch count. The Cal freshman quarterback threw 63 times in the Bears’ 44-30 loss to Northwestern that ended at almost 11:30 Saturday night. Alas, he threw two pick-sixes that beat the Bears.

This Week

In the first conference game of the season, WSU visits USC on Saturday night at 7:30. Arizona State and Stanford open against Sacramento State and San Jose State, respectively.

Bud Withers: 206-464-8281 or bwithers@seattletimes.com


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