In a interview for FishDuck.com on Thursday, I spoke with Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota at the Hatfield-Dowlin Complex.
On this day in 1993, a child was born in Honolulu, Hawaii. As he got older he got a little bit bigger and a little bit stronger and he eventually became the best college football quarterback in the country. Now, at 6-foot-4 and 215 pounds, Mariota possesses both excellence and humility.
Mariota will be celebrating his 21st birthday today, but unlike most 21-year-olds, he doesn’t plan on going crazy tonight. He says his family will be coming to town to visit and he’s eager and excited to spend some quality time with them. “My family is driving down from Portland so I’ll probably have dinner with them and just relax,” he said.
Although Mariota will be spending some quality time with his family tonight, he says that he still has this Saturday’s matchup against Stanford on his mind. Throughout Mariota’s first three seasons at Oregon, he has thrown for 8,625 yards, 87 touchdown passes, and has separated himself from the pack with the mentality and physical talent he displays every day. In spite of his accomplishments, however, there is one thing that Mariota has not been able to attain: a victory against Stanford.
Oregon’s national championship dream has been derailed the last two seasons by their Pac-12 North nemesis, Stanford. They’re the only team that has had the ability to contain Oregon’s potent offense and their physical defensive line has shown that Mariota doesn’t scare them. The Ducks averaged 47.5 points per game through 2012 and 2013, and their offense is continuing to produce at an incredible rate this season. However, in their last two meetings against Stanford, Oregon’s offense has averaged a meager 17 points per game and the Ducks were shutout through the first three quarters of last year’s matchup.
Mariota understands that the Ducks will have to be efficient if they hope to get a victory this Saturday. “We have to make the most of every drive. We’re are going to get very little possessions because Stanford’s offense likes to hold the ball,” he said. “We have to make sure we execute and score when we’re in the red-zone.”
Despite Stanford struggling this season, Mariota believes they present a tough challenge. “They’re still physical upfront and they still have guys in the back that can make plays,” he said. “They have a very solid defense, not much has changed. We just have to focus and execute to the best of our abilities.”
A win against Stanford this Saturday will undoubtedly impress the playoff committee and help propel the Ducks into one of the four playoff slots next week. Even though Oregon is currently on the outside looking in, Mariota says that he is not discouraged by the committee’s decision to leave the Ducks out. “It really doesn’t have a say on what we have here (Oregon),” he said. “The playoff committee will continue to put out their rankings but we can’t control that. We just have to focus on what we have and make sure we take it one day at a time.”
Top Photo by John Guistina