Last night was one intense game to say the least. The 2014 edition of the Civil War featured a dominant performance by the Ducks as shown by QB Marcus Mariota throwing 367 yards and RB Royce Freeman gaining 135 yards. Plus, let’s not forget about the one and only RB/WR Byron Marshall recording 131 yards on six catches. The Beavers, however, couldn’t get anything going on offense despite having a strong performance from RB Storm Woods (22 carries, 128 yds, 1 TD).
That said, here are two big questions the Ducks face against Arizona in the Pac-12 Championship game:
1. How will the Ducks perform against the Wildcats?
If there is one thing that my dad and I talk about, it’s if Oregon will literally be out for blood against Arizona. No Duck fan has forgotten about when Arizona defeated Oregon back on October 2nd and when LB Scooby Wright III recovered a fumble by Mariota. On top of that, injuries plagued the team on that day, especially with key players such as OL Andre Yruretagoyena and Jake Fisher being out. For the past two seasons, Oregon lost to Arizona. December 5th is a brand new day and one golden opportunity for Oregon to have a second chance at Arizona.
2. How will Mariota play?
Did anybody catch Marcus striking the Heisman Trophy pose last night against the Beavers? If not, it’s all over the Internet. Oregon’s dual-threat QB entered Saturday’s rivalry game as the top overall prospect for the 2015 NFL Draft and winning the Heisman, while also leaving the game with the same predictions. The last time the Ducks played the Wildcats, Mariota didn’t have a “Heisman-like” night gathering in only 276 yards and completing 20 out of his 32 passes.
For him to have a spectacular night against Arizona, two things will need to happen. One, Mariota is going to need great protection despite injuries to his offensive line. The second being that he will need to start connecting with his WR’s on long routes downfield. A couple of weeks ago, the dual-threat QB was 1-6 on throws longer than 15 yards. If the Ducks coaching staff addresses and fixes these issues committed in the previous performance against the Wildcats, Oregon will most likely come out with the “W.”
The Ducks have only six days to prepare for this match-up. Let’s hope that they have the right mindset come game time. Go Ducks!
Top Photos by Craig Strobeck