After two years spent mostly watching from the sidelines, quarterback Cody Vaz gets the start for No. 10 Oregon State this Saturday when the Beavers travel to BYU.
It will be a challenging task for Vaz, who takes over after starter Sean Mannion injured his left knee against Washington State last weekend. Mannion had helped lead the Beavers to a 4-0 start and their highest ranking since the 2001 Fiesta Bowl season.
Vaz has appeared in only five games in his career, completing six of 17 passes for 48 yards. The 6-foot-1, 198-pound junior has not played in a game since the 2010 season.
He hasn't started since high school.
"I'm not really nervous, more so excited," Vaz said. "It's a great opportunity for our team. We're going into a tough place to play, a really good football team, a really good defensive team. It will be a great opportunity for us."
OK, really, no nerves?
"I can't wait," he said smiling. "I can't wait 'til Saturday."
The question is whether Vaz can lead a team that has experienced a striking turnaround since finishing last season 3-9. Coach Mike Riley said he has complete confidence in Vaz, but does have one regret.
"The only unfortunate part is that I haven't played him enough," he said Tuesday.
Oregon State visits Provo to face an independent BYU team that is 4-2 but facing quarterback issues of its own. Cougars coach Bronco Mendenhall announced Monday that freshman quarterback Taysom Hill is out for the season after injuring his left knee in BYU's 6-3 victory over Utah State last Friday night.
Hill was standing in for senior quarterback Riley Nelson, who missed two games with what he described as "back fractures."
Nelson, who has thrown for 754 yards and five touchdowns with five interceptions, is expected to play against the Beavers on Saturday at LaVell Edwards Stadium.
Mendenhall learned of Oregon State's quarterback situation just before the start of practice on Monday.
"Who knows what the fallout is. You have a good offensive system in place that's very consistent from year to year. How that will be tailored all of a sudden to a new quarterback, I'm not certain," he said. "We'll prepare for what we know and then adjust to what we don't know or what we see on game day. That's really the best we can do."
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