SPRING FINALE: Defense has edge in scrimmage

CORVALLIS -- The Oregon State offense did the best they could to get through their spring game on Saturday after losing two tight ends, several receivers and today, the backup center. But never fail, there were still some great plays made -- and it ended on a high note from RB Malcolm Marable. But the day belonged to the defense.

The Beavers started out with around 90 players at the beginning of spring ball, but it seems they've been plagued with injuries ever since, and ended up with a situational spring scrimmage.

"We ended up with two tight ends so we couldn't really have a regular game," Mike Riley said. "We lost our backup center the other day (Roman Sapolu, ankle) so I though the way it worked out was awesome, a lot of situational stuff."

The play of the day goes to LB Donnell Welch (D.J.) , who intercepted a pass from QB Sean Mannion for a 40-yard touchdown return.

RB Malcolm Marable also turned in a headliner, with a 65-yard run for a touchdown that ended up being the final play run in the scrimmage before Riley yelled "Everybody up!"

The only other scoring plays of the scrimmage game from the two placekickers -- Trevor Romain and Max Johnson. Johnson nailed two field goals, one for 38 yards and one for 34 yards. Romaine, the first string kicker, missed several attempted field goals before finally getting it through the goalposts for 34 yards.

Cody Vaz ended spring ball showing the same consistency he's produced the last five weeks. Vaz completed 19 of 32 passes for 234 yards.

"I thought Cody Vaz really looked sharp, especially early," Riley said. "It dwindled down a little bit when we got in to the red zone scrimmage and I think he tried to force too many balls into the end zone instead of just taking it and getting the ball out of his hands."

QB Sean Mannion, who's made some good-sized strides this spring, seemed to take a few steps backwards Saturday. Mannion completed 13 of 32 passes for 156 yards and a whopping three interceptions.

Third-string QB Jack Lomax finished off the scrimmage with seven of 12 passes completed for 111 yards.

With tight ends Joe Halauni and Colby Prince sidelined, it was up to the two remaining — Connor Hamlett and Tyler Perry -- to step up.

Hamlett caught 11 passes for 153 yards and was the leading receiver of the day. Perry caught four passes for 79 yards, which was the second most yards receiving.

"The fact that we are so thin at tight end, we really need two of these guys to step up," Riley said. "If we can get this thing going with our tight ends again and we can get some of our receivers back, we are going to have a really good receiving corps."

Statistically, Marable was the top running back of the day with 13 carries for 102 yards. Ryan McCants tallied 16 carries for 57 yards and Jovan Stevenson was 12 carries for 28 yards.

Stevenson also caught seven passes for 41 yards receiving.

Given that the defense is, overal,l healthier than the offense at this point, they seemed miles ahead. LB Michael Doctor led the D with 10 tackles as well as one tackle for loss and one sack. LB Cameron Collins and CB Jordan Poyer each had six tackles on the day.

There were a total of eight sacks throughout the scrimmage, two of which (the most by any defensive player) came from DT Dominic Glover. Glover also had three tackles for loss.

Aside from Welch's interception for a touchdown, S Lance Mitchel and MLB Feti Unga each tagged an interception off Mannion.

Backup safeties Ryan Murphy and Josh LaGrone each broke up three passes.

As far as the trenches go, Riley said he was pleased with the improvement of both the defensive and offensive lines. As of right, RT Colin Kelly is ahead of R Michael Philipp, but no starters on any position will be officially announced for a long time.

It's the same thing for the middle linebacker spot, with continued rotation between Tony Wilson, Feti Unga and Rueben Robinson.

The news on Halahuni is that he will travel to San Diego on Tuesday to get a second opinion from a doctor on whether or not he will undergo surgery on his left shoulder. How long he might be out for rehab following surgery is a concern.

RB Terron Ward, who injured his knee this spring, will have it scoped on Monday. WR Geno Munoz, who's been nursing a hamstring problem played today, as did WR Garett Hall, who injured his ankle a week ago.

Regardless of Halahuni's diagnosis, Riley was confident he will be back to play as well as WR Jordan Bishop, who is currently recovering from foot surgery. WR James Rodgers seems to be ahead of schedule on his knee rehab, but no one can say for sure when his return will be.

"Frankly, we have to plan on what we know and hope for the best with some of these other guys," Riley said.

"I was pleased with the amount of football that was able to be played today," Riley said. "We got thin as spring practice when on at a couple positions. I thought there were some individuals that made some particularly outstanding plays."

Running with the 1's on Saturday...
QB: Cody Vaz
RB: Ryan McCants/Jovan Stevenson
WR-X: Obum Gwacham
WR-H: Kevin Cummings
WR-Z: Markus Wheaton
TE: Connor Hamlett/ Tyler Perry
FB: Clayton York
LT: Mike Remmers
LG: Joshus Andrews
C: Grant Johnson
RG: Burke Ellis/ Michael Lamb
RT: Michael Philipp/ Colin Kelly

LE: Rusty Fernando
DT: Kevin Frahm
DT: Dominic Glover
RE: Taylor Henry
SLB: Cameron Collins
MLB: rotation between Rueben Robinson, Tony Wilson, and Feti Unga
WLB: Michael Doctor
CB: Brandon Hardin
CB: Jordan Poyer
S: Lance Mitchell
S: Anthony Watkins

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