The Ducks came, they saw, and they conquered, and for the seventh straight year Oregon walked off the field victorious against their longtime rival in Corvallis. The mighty Ducks were the chief on Saturday night, and Oregon State was the unlucky sampler. Oregon gave the Beavers a little bit of everything. The Ducks sprinkled a little bit of Royce Freeman and Charles Nelson, and they also added a speck of Byron Marshall, but the overwhelming ingredient was the best player in college football, Marcus Mariota. Oregon ultimately dominated the Beavers, 47-19.
Freeman – who broke Oregon’s freshmen touchdown record last week against Colorado – was cutting and weaving through the Beavers’ defense all night. Although he didn’t score a touchdown, the 6’1″ and 229-lb. freshmen had 22 carries for 135 yards. Saturday night marked the seventh time that Freeman rushed for at least 90 yards, and it was the fifth time that he eclipsed 100 rushing yards, as well. Also, despite the fact that Nelson had only two catches, they were vital because both resulted in touchdowns.
One of the major changes that the Ducks’ offense underwent at the begging of the season was when the coaching staff decided to use Marshall primarily at the receiver position. Marshall, who rushed for 1,038 yards and 14 touchdowns last season, has responded well to the change, and he added 6 catches for 131 yards and 1 touchdown on Saturday night.
The star of the night, however, was college football’s leading candidate for the Heisman Trophy award. The man that Oregon fans call “Super Mariota” was practically flawless. Mariota stood strong in the pocket all game long, and despite a few collapses by Oregon’s offensive line, the Ducks quarterback constantly evaded the Beavers’ pressure, which allowed him to find his targets. Mariota completed 76% of his passes and he finished the game with 367 passing yards and four passing touchdowns. He is now the only quarterback in FBS history to throw at least one touchdown pass in each of his first 38 games.
He didn’t stop there, however, Mariota also used his athleticism and quick instincts to create plays for himself when his receivers couldn’t get open. The speedy quarterback had 39 rushing yards and two rushing touchdowns as well. The Ducks’ potential Heisman has now accounted for 47 total touchdowns this season, and he now holds the record for most total touchdowns in Pac-12 history with 126.
Oregon finished the regular season with 11 wins and one loss, but the Ducks won’t have much time celebrate their Civil War victory as their focus will quickly shift toward the Pac-12 Championship game. The Ducks will have a chance to redeem themselves when they face the Arizona Wildcats for a second time this year next Friday in Santa Clara, California.
“They [Arizona] beat us twice but Stanford beat us twice and we put a good whooping on them,” Marshall said after Oregon’s victory over the Beavers. “Hopefully the same thing happens.”
Top Photo by Kevin Cline