Mariota’s Top Five ‘Heisman Moments’

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The Pac-12 Network ran a ”Mariotathon” on Friday as tribute to Oregon’s All American quarterback Marcus Mariota and a prologue for the Heisman Trophy Award ceremony tonight on ESPN.  The Heisman candidate has enjoyed an all-you-can eat awards buffet, becoming Oregon’s first ever Walter Camp Award, Maxwell Award and Davey O’Brien National Quarterback Award winner. Mariota also received the Polynesian College Football Player of the Year Award and the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award.

As prestigious accolades orbit the galactically gifted dual-threat guru, endless images of Mariota leaping, dashing and dodging have bedazzled the eyeballs of gridiron aficionados and armchair quarterbacks alike. Here are five Heisman worthy moments from the greatest quarterback in Oregon history.

5. The Cowboy Capriole - Oregon hosted Wyoming this year in Oregon’s third non-conference game of the regular season. Mariota took matters into his own hands and executed an Olympic caliber leap over a few glassy-eyed defenders for a touchdown. This was an indication from the Flyin’ Hawaiian that there would be much more to come.

4. Pitch-Perfect Pitch - 2014 marked the 20th anniversary of Kenny Wheaton’s interception and touchdown run against the Washington Huskies. It was an unbelievable moment that ushered in a new era of Oregon football. In this play, Mariota ran the read-option and delivered a last minute pitch to Royce Freeman, absorbing a tough blow in the process, providing yet another example of his willingness to sacrifice anything to help his team win, seen at 0:35 below.

3. Fumble Furtherance – One of the many talents of Mariota is his ability to improvise after broken plays. At UCLA this year, what would have surely been a lost fumble for a quotidian quarterback, Super Mariota not only recovered his own fumble but proceeded to run for a touchdown, seen at 1:04 below.

2. Midwest Massacre - 2013 Rose Bowl Champion Michigan State brought their top-rated defense to Autzen Stadium in Oregon’s first big challenge of the 2014 season. But on this play, the Spartans much ballyhooed defense couldn’t wrap their Midwest sprigs around the slippery Hawaiian. Mariota escaped capture and, stumbling to the ground, flicked the ball to Royce Freeman for a huge first down, seen at 0:20 below.

1. Wildcat Bewilderment - The Ducks put on a marquee clinic against the Arizona Wildcats in the Pac-12 Championship Game with Mariota showing the nation why he is the best quarterback in college football. After escaping a collapsed pocket, Mariota, maintaining vision downfield, made an incredible throw on the run to Darren Carrington.

The regular season was packed with amazing plays from Mariota and tonight the nation should acknowledge this remarkable young man’s contributions to college football. The Heisman Trophy Award ceremony airs tonight at 5 pm PT on ESPN.

Top photo by Kevin Cline

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