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  • 11 Jul 2014

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Mannion, Alexander, Nielsen expected to start for Beavers

CORVALLIS — Sean Mannion will start at quarterback, D.J. Alexander will try to go at linebacker and Grant Enger will likely be missing when 15th-ranked Oregon State (7-2 overall, 5-2 in Pac-12 action) plays host to California (3-8, 2-6) at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at Reser Stadium.

Mannion will start in place of Cody Vaz, who didn’t practice Thursday and is unlikely to play in Saturday’s contest due to a sprained ankle.

“I’m ready to go,” said Mannion, the 6-5, 215-pound sophomore who has started five games this season after being the starter all of last year.

Mannion underwent knee surgery on Oct. 10 and played 17 days later at Washington.

The knee feels “100 percent,” Mannion said. “Good as new.”

Alexander played only four plays in last Saturday’s 27-23 loss at Stanford due to a high rib fracture that the sophomore outside ‘backer has existed for a long time but only last week began to bother him.

“I thought I was going to be fine (in the Stanford game), but practice and a game are a lot different,” Alexander said. “As soon as that first game hit came, I knew I wasn’t going to last.

“I feel a lot better today than I did last week. I think it’ll be fine. I just have to adjust to it.”

Enger didn’t practice Thursday due to a sprained ankle suffered in the third quarter of the Stanford game. His replacement, sophomore Derek Nielsen, will start in his place at right guard Saturday. Enger is unlikely to be available.