Tag Archives: Marcus Mariota

Rapid Reaction: No. 2 Oregon 51 – No. 7 Arizona 13 (Pac-12 Championship)

By Ariel Bedford


The Ducks came into Santa Clara looking for revenge. Removing any doubt of their playoff worthiness as Kings of The West Coast, Oregon simply bottled up Arizona—claiming another Pac-12 football crown on a rainy Northern California night.

How Ducks Won: UO ran the ball with more effectiveness, especially from the quarterback position. Marcus Mariota finished the game with 313 yards passing and three rushing scores, including two key touchdown runs in the first half. Oregon’s Heisman front runner was looking to tuck and sprint much more often this time around, unlike early October in Eugene when he tallied only 1 yard on the ground versus the ‘Cats and Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year Scooby Wright.

X-Factor of Game: OLB Tony Washington, Oregon. The Senior from Rancho Cucamonga made up for the unsportsmanlike conduct penalty he received after a sack on AZ QB Anu Solomon late in the regular season match that may have cost them a close victory. His sack on the aforementioned Solomon in the title game, with 4:03 left in the second quarter for a loss of 6 yards to the Arizona 35, was the signature example of constant pressure applied  by Defensive Coordinator Don Pellum’s unit throughout the battle.

Stat of the Contest: After three quarters of play, Arizona only amassed 45 rushing yards as a team.

Why It Matters: Besides securing a spot in the inaugural College Football Playoff by beating a Top 10 opponent, Oregon put the nation on notice—the Ducks are ready to play physical, championship caliber football versus anyone the committee pits them up against. The defense stifled ‘Zona’s version of the zone read attack crafted by Head Coach Rich Rodriguez, forcing the ‘Cats into 3rd and long situations on a very consistent basis.

Offensively, it wasn’t a perfect outing for UO. With 10:16 left in the second quarter OL Doug Brenner committed a false start on 4th and goal from Arizona’s 1-yard line; another false start by DL Erik Armstead made the chip shot field goal try in wet Levi’s Stadium slightly more slippery, with kicker Aidan Schneider missing a 27-yard attempt.

Despite choppy play at times from the offensive line, Oregon washed over the Wildcats to make a legitimate case for the top overall seed. Depending on how the rest of Championship Weekend pans out, the Ducks might be hitting Bourbon Street instead of going back to Cali for the National Semifinals.

Featured Photo Credit: Image via seatvalet.com


Ariel Bedford writes for Scouts Alley. A freelancer from Florida, he also is a contributor for Bleacher Report. Check out his personal media profile page and follow him on Twitter @mpcmi.

 

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Rapid Reaction: No. 3 Oregon 46 – No. 7 Michigan State 27

By Ariel Bedford


In the biggest match-up of the college football season so far, the Oregon Ducks pushed the Big Ten bullies back, gaining a key victory and earning some cache come playoff selection time.

 

Why the game lived up to the hype: UO jumped out to an 18-7 lead early, sparked by a 36-yard interception return by FS Erick Dargan that set up the first TD of the game. The Spartans responded with 20 unanswered points to put MSU up 27-18 with 10:55 left in the third quarter. QB Connor Cook rebounded from his pick to orchestrate a patient offensive onslaught for Michigan State, relying on timely run calls and intermediate throws to WR Tony Lippett, who finished with 11 receptions for 133 yards and a score.

With Oregon’s defense showing fatigue due to the time of possession deficit, losing the line of scrimmage battle and not getting pressure on Cook, things looked similar to the Ducks’ previous losses at the hands of physical foes from the SEC and Stanford in big games.

How the contest turned: Oregon’s all-world QB Marcus Mariota had just been sacked to set up a 3rd and 10 at their own 41-yard line. Facing a fierce middle rush, Mariota showed dazzling escape moves to shovel the rock to true freshman RB Royce Freeman near the far sideline, who finished it off by gaining 17 yards for a Duck first down at the Spartan 42-yard line. Easily the play of the game.

Players that stepped up big: CB Troy Hill and wideout Devon Allen. Make no mistake, Mariota won the football game with his arm, ball-security, and decision-making. But timely plays by the two red-shirted Ducks are what allowed them to pull away.

Hill, a senior from Ohio, was targeted more often than Oregon’s All-American Ifo Ekpre-Olomu. He accepted the challenge well, being in the proper place on most passing situations and making strong tackles to stop Spartan receivers on third down. Allen, a freshman track star in the 110-meter hurdles, was the deep threat unleashed on the Sparty D. His three receptions for 110 yards and 2 TDs were all massive plays, especially considering UO couldn’t consistently run the ball until late.

What the win means: Oregon fulfilled their motto. Besides that, a lot in the eyes of the college football world. They finally solved the puzzle of beating a defense equipped at stuffing their renowned spread running game. Mariota was patient, and the Duck offense displayed an advanced passing attack that matched the potency of what they love to do on the ground. Considering Michigan State has excellent corners and a beastly front seven, Oregon should be pleased with the points that they were able to amass.

For the defense, this win is signature. Defensive coordinator Don Pellum’s unit found a second wind in the latter half, and took the fight right to the Spartans. Playing physical, generating pressure to force Cook away from his spots in the pocket, and getting off the field quickly allowed the offense to take over. They got more stingy against the pass, and “drew the line in the sand” against the run.

The Ducks solidified their position as the premier West Coast team with the win today. Moving forward, they should build off this game by getting more unpredictable in their play-calling and not forgetting to utilize Mariota’s running capabilities. Beating the defending Big Ten Champs gets them something even Nike can’t guarantee though: respect.


Ariel Bedford is a writer for Scouts Alley. Follow him on Twitter @mpcmi.

Classes Taken by Marcus Mariota

By Murphy Powell


Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota is blessed with a remarkably easy class schedule this fall. Having finished his required classes in just three years, he will take golf and yoga now.

This brings to mind a few other collegiate superstars who have had easy college classes, and they are as follows:

Former USC quarterback Carson Palmer took only two classes in his final semester: “How to Become an Average NFL Quarterback,” in which he was the only student, and “Dissecting the Films of Keanu Reeves.”

While at Long Beach State University, now-MLBers and then-teammates Evan Longoria and Troy Tulowitzki were both enrolled in “The Works of Dr. Seuss,” which sounds fantastic.

Former University of Alabama quarterback Joe Namath took “How to Talk to Women on Live National Television” as a freshman, which he passed with a B+.

Olympic sprinter Carl Lewis studied both “Karaoke: A Lost Art,” and “How to Sing the National Anthem” at the University of Houston, but did not pass either class.

Hall of Fame running back O.J. Simpson attended the University of Phoenix for a short time in the mid-1990s, and was enrolled in “How to Convince People You Didn’t Do It.”

NBA center JaVale McGee took “Shapes, Man. What’s the Deal with Those?” while attending the University of Nevada.


Murphy Powell is a creator of Scouts Alley, and feels like this is a ridiculous thing to put on his very own website but is doing it anyway. You can follow him on Twitter @MurphyPowell.