Oregon State defeats Weber State 26-7 in Andersen's debut
CORVALLIS, Ore. (AP) Seth Collins won himself the starter's job for Oregon State.
The true freshman threw a pair of touchdown passes, including a 44-yard fourth-quarter strike to Jordan Villamin, to lead the Beavers to a 26-7 victory Friday night over Weber State in Gary Andersen's debut as head coach.
Collins went into the game sharing quarterback duties with redshirt freshman Marcus McMaryion as the Beavers adjust to a new spread offense under Andersen, who came to Corvallis after two years in Wisconsin.
In addition to two TD passes, Collins led the Beavers with 152 yards rushing - the most for an Oregon State quarterback since Tim Alexander ran for 205 against Northern Illinois in 1996. One of his runs in the second quarter was capped by an acrobatic hurdle over a defender.
''I think we'd say after that game, that performance, that Seth is our starter,'' Andersen said.
Garrett Owens added four field goals for the Beavers as Andersen embarks on his first season following the departure of longtime coach Mike Riley, who went to Nebraska.
Transitioning from Riley's pro-style offense to a run-first spread, Andersen and new offensive coordinator Dave Baldwin wanted to give both Collins and McMaryion live-game experience.
''When I stepped out on the field it felt good, it really just felt good,'' Collins said. ''Obviously I had the jitters, but I wasn't scared. I just felt pretty good.''
McMaryion served on the scout team last year and said he learned a lot from former Beavers quarterback Sean Mannion, who graduated after a record-setting senior season and went to the St. Louis Rams. Collins arrived at Oregon State early and impressed coaches in the annual spring game, throwing for 175 yards and two touchdowns while also running for 74 yards.
Josh Burton intercepted McMaryion for an 8-yard touchdown return late in the third quarter for Weber State's lone score.
Oregon State went 5-7 - out of the bowl picture - last season under Riley.
Weber State, which plays in the Big Sky Conference, went 2-10 last season in Jay Hill's first year as head coach. Andersen recruited Hill to Utah when Hill was a promising young cornerback nearly two decades ago, and the two later worked on the Utes' staff together under coach Kyle Whittingham.
Weber State junior quarterback Jadrian Clark, who started the final five games last season and threw for 902 yards and seven touchdowns, completed 19 of 35 passes for 120 yards and an interception against Oregon State.
The Beavers went up 6-0 in the first half on a pair of field goals - from 30 and 40 yards out - as both teams struggled to sustain drives.
Collins started the second half and capped his first drive with a 4-yard scoring pass to Victor Bolden, Oregon State's top returning receiver.
On Weber State's ensuing drive, Josh Kealamakia's 45-yard field goal attempt fell short, but Burton's interception return for a touchdown pulled the Wildcats within 13-7.
Owens added a 39-yard field goal early in the fourth quarter before Collins' long scoring pass to Villamin. Owens' 45-yarder provided the final margin.
Villamin had one word for Collins: ''Electric.''
Hill was also impressed: ''He made some plays that were phenomenal tonight with his feet. And if he continues to impress with his arm, that kid's going to be a dynamic player in the Pac-12.''
The Beavers' defense, which is also sporting a new look under new defensive coordinator Kalani Sitake, held the Wildcats to 0-13 on third down.
Oregon State wore black and white uniform combination for the first time since the team's re-branding in 2013: Black jerseys, white pants and white helmets. The helmet will feature a red, white and blue Beavers logo in tribute the U.S. Armed Forces.