When the clock hits zero at the Super Bowl, it also serves as the conclusion to the football season each year. Seemingly long after all of the bowl games have been played at the college level, the NFL has a way of temporarily filling the void before dropping fans into the abyss of the long off season.
Events like National Signing Day, the Winter Olympics, the NFL draft, spring football and the sports of basketball and baseball always have their own ways of keeping fans engaged, but are really only good for distracting people until football starts again.
With all the hype, analysis and reporting of live games coming to a sudden screeching halt, it’s time to
panic take a look back at some of the statistical highlights from the 2013 Oregon Football season.
Here are six standout performances:
De’Anthony Thomas vs Virginia (59-10)
Can De’Anthony Thomas really carry the load as a primary running back? Coming into the season, it was among the most popular questions being asked. Against Nicholls State, he had rushed for 128 yards and two touchdowns — but that was against Nicholls State. Could he do it against better competition?
The question seemed to get an answer in Week 2 when Oregon traveled to Virginia and posted one of the most efficient running performances of the season. De’Anthony had 11 carries for 124 yards and three touchdowns, and added a 28-yard reception. His 11.3 yards per carry average was simply ridiculous, but was actually only third-best on the team that day. True freshman Thomas Tyner scored his first two touchdowns and averaged 12.8 yards per carry, and QB Marcus Mariota rushed for 122 yards on just four carries, a 30.5 average.
Marcus Mariota vs Tennessee (59-14)
SEC teams don’t always come to Autzen Stadium. But when they do, they usually leave with their rear ends having been emphatically handed to them by the home team, like our friends from Knoxville this year. The 59-14 final score represented the worst beating anyone had given the Vols since 1910.
While Tennessee scored first and held Oregon’s run game mostly in check, Marcus Mariota shined as Oregon cruised to victory behind his career day passing. Mariota completed 23-of-33 passes for a career-high 456 yards and four touchdowns. Josh Huff continued his strong start to the season, catching 6 passes for 125 yards and a touchdown, and Duck fans became acquainted with freshman TE Johnny Mundt who looked completely dominant en route to 121 yards and two touchdowns on five receptions.
Marcus Mariota vs Colorado (57-16)
After a slow start to the game, the Oregon offense eventually became an unstoppable force in Boulder, again behind a huge day from the signal caller. Mariota completed 16-of-27 passes for 355 yards and five touchdowns, and added two more touchdowns on 43 yards rushing. The seven total touchdowns tied a single game conference record.
Marcus Mariota vs Washing-ten (45-24)
ESPN College Gameday was on hand to witness what was supposed to be a spirited rivalry game in renovated Husky stadium. Oregon had the upperhand recently, but Year 5 under then-head coach Steve Sarkisian was supposed to be different. The recruiting had reportedly been better, and the Huskies had changed their offense to keep pace and compete in the Pac-12.
Instead, Marcus Mariota was unstoppable as the Ducks rolled to their unprecedented 10th-straight victory over their bitter rivals to the north. Mariota could do no wrong and finished with an extremely efficient 24-of-31 for 366 yards three touchdowns, plus another 88 yards rushing and a TD. Receivers Bralon Addison and Josh Huff both had huge days, as Addison caught eight passes for 157 yards and two touchdowns while Huff had 107 yards and a touchdown on six receptions.
Byron Marshall vs Washington State (62-38)
This game might be better remembered for the uniform accents, Mariota’s fumbles which led to two WSU scores, Connor Halliday’s NCAA record 89 pass attempts or Nick Aliotti’s post-game rant. But the day belonged to sophomore running back Byron Marshall.
A steady and productive presence in the backfield during the first few weeks gave way to an explosive performance against the Cougars. Marshall went off for 192 yards and three touchdowns on the ground and caught two passes for another 54 yards, before being pulled in the fourth quarter with Oregon leading 62-24 with just a few minutes remaining.
Josh Huff vs Oregon State
It could be said that there wasn’t as much on the line in this year’s Civil War. Oregon was coming off a crushing loss to Arizona which knocked them out of PAc-12 Championship and BCS contention, and the Beavers had lost five straight games.
There was no Rose Bowl, conference championship, or national championship game on the line this time, but it was the best Civil War game in years. The relative future of both programs were on display, as Oregon State’s freshman Victor Bolden ran 25 yards for a go ahead score late in the fourth quarter, and Thomas Tyner had his best game of the season, rushing for 140 yards and a touchdown.
A back and forth affair in Autzen Stadium almost slipped away from the Ducks, but receiver Josh Huff was there to save the day in his last home game. The senior posted nine receptions for a record-setting 186 yards, and three second-half touchdowns including the game winner.
By a margin of 17 yards, Huff finished with a school record 1,140 receiving yards, which bested Bob Newland’s old mark of 1,123 which had stood since 1970.
Those are my 6 — picked from many highlights for 2013. Disagree? Post your own 6-pick below.