What a way to end the last home game of the season! Last night, the third-ranked Ducks destroyed Colorado, 44-10, in a match-up that honored the seniors of the team. Plus, all the fans respectably acknowledged quarterback Marcus Mariota as the entire College Football world expects him to forego his senior year and enter the 2015 NFL Draft. Furthermore, Mariota performed amazingly, ending the game with 323 passing yards, 73 rushing yards, and 4 touchdowns. Plus, running back Royce Freeman ran hard with 105 yards and scored 2 touchdowns for Oregon in this home finale.
Sadly, last night was the last time Oregon fans will get to see the seniors of the team play at Autzen Stadium and rep the Ducks. Each and every senior has contributed to this team either in the form of points on the board, key defenses stops, or words of encouragement that altogether define the idea of being part of an epic brotherhood.
Here’s the list of the seniors graduating and continuing their career elsewhere: DB Erick Dargan, WR Keanon Lowe, WR Johnathan Loyd, DB Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, LB Derrick Malone, RB Kenny Bassett, OL Hamani Stevens, OL Hroniss Grasu, OL Jake Fisher, LB Tony Washington, WR Jeff Stolzenburg, LB Grant Thompson, LB Isaac Ava, PK Eric Solis, RB Ayele Forde, DB Troy Hill, DB Dior Mathis. Seniors, on behalf of the whole Ducks’ fan base, I’d like to take the time to thank you for your contributions to Oregon Football throughout your time here. We wish you the best in your future endeavors and take care!
Okay, some readers may be wondering why I put a question mark after Mariota. Look, there have been many writers and reporters talking about the possibility of Mariota returning to the Ducks next season and finishing his college career off as a senior. Andrew Greif of The Oregonian tweeted last night after the game, “Marcus Mariota. Last time he jogs off this field?” Also, another writer with The Oregonian, Bruce Ely tweeted after the game, “There you have it. Oregon Ducks quarterback Marcus Mariota done at Autzen?”
Throughout the season, it’s been known that Mariota never makes plans about his future until he completes what he’s been focusing on. Currently, that focus is to bring his team to the National Championship. Plus, in almost every 2015 mock draft, Mariota has been projected as a top five pick. Above all, he’s the favorite among other contenders for the Heisman Trophy this year. He has already completed all of his degree (General Science) requirements and is expected to graduate in December after Fall Term 2014.
Backtracking to last year, Mariota didn’t make his decision to stay for his junior season until the end of the year. It’s been noted that Mariota is a family man and always discusses his future with his family members before making a decision.
So, what can Duck fans expect from Mariota at the end of the year? Well, for starters, we should realize his decision is totally up in the air, although many anticipate he will enter the draft. If that’s the case, we should appreciate and thank Marcus for his contributions to the Ducks over the years and wish him the best in the future. After all, once a Duck, always a Duck.
Although Mariota is always a popular topic of discussion, last night and for the rest of Sunday, we need to acknowledge and thank all the seniors for the great memories they gave us during their time at the University of Oregon. Last night was indeed an emotional night for everyone. Even though I’m only a freshman here at the University, it’s evident that Autzen Stadium is truly a special place to be in no matter if you’re a student, athlete, or even a member of the general population.
Top Photos by Craig Strobeck