Despite being 40-point favorites in their home game against Washington State, Oregon made it less than easy for themselves through second quarter turnovers, including two fumbles by Marcus Mariota, who is a good enough player to put mistakes like that behind them and get the Ducks rolling again en route to another impressive offensive display and remaining perfect so far this season.
Mariota threw for 327 yards and two touchdown passes, while running for 67 more with another touchdown as Oregon beat Washington State 62-38, in what should help them remain number 2 in the AP Poll, but probably not number 2 in the BCS standings, who don’t love what Oregon have done so far in terms of the quality of opposition.
Mariota wasn’t alone in putting up big numbers, as running back Byron Marshall had his fourth consecutive 100-yard game this season, finishing with an immense 192 yards and scoring three touchdowns. Washington State couldn’t get any closer than six points at the end of the first half thanks to Xavier Cooper returning a Mariota fumble for a touchdown, but 21-27 was the closest they were able to get to the team that looks like the best in the Pac-12.
We needed to take care of the football better in the first half, though we got a lot of yards. We got off to a sluggish start, but we responded well in the second half. I was happy with our response in the second half. Our culture has been one play at a time. You have to focus on the next one. I was nonchalant with the ball a couple of times there. But we knew if we take care of what we need to do, we will be successful. You have to stay on it. You have to pick it up. Three fumbles is unacceptable. You don’t turn the ball over.
At 7-0, Oregon are second in the nation with 643.1 yards per game and 57.6 points. Their win over the Cougars was no different, as they ran for 383 yards, scoring 6 touchdowns on the Courgars who have looked better at times under Mike Leach, but they’re clearly light years away from Oregon and Stanford at the top of their division.
The most interesting thing in this game was Leach ordering his team to keep throwing. Connor Halliday attempted 89 passes, breaking Pac-12 and FBS records along the way, including the 83 attempts Drew Brees made with Purdue 15 years ago. He completed 58 of his passes for 557 yards and four touchdowns, but he was also intercepted four times, including one that was returned for a touchdown by Terrance Mitchell to cap off four consecutive TDs for the Ducks, running away with the game for good.