As big as the Civil War is in the Beaver State, Oregon were mostly concerned about not slipping up against Oregon State so their playoff hopes stay intact before the Pac-12 championship game, while Marcus Mariota put on one final show to make sure no one else wins the Heisman Trophy.
Mariota, maybe playing in his final rivalry game before going to the NFL, threw for four touchdown passes and ran for two more in an almost perfect performance from him, throwing for 367 yards while not completing only six of his 25 attempts. He rushed for 39 more, showing his unique blend of vision and speed while busting through tackles as the Ducks ran all over the Beavers, beating them for the seventh consecutive time.
Oregon opened the game with a 30-0 lead before the end of the second quarter. Oregon State have already been in charge of ruining the end-goal for one team this season, upsetting Arizona State to strip them from the Pac-12 South lead (eventually going to Arizona) and ruining their chances of making the playoff, which went somewhere else anyway after they lost a third game to Arizona this weekend. But they were never even close to bothering Oregon from staying the course.
Royce Freeman ran for 135 yards and also caught one pass for a touchdown, showing some nice one-hand juggling skills. Byron Marshall had a big game with six receptions for 131 yards. The offensive line helped out in making Mariota looked great with very few moments of the Beavers pass rush even penetrating the pocket so a certain extent. Oregon might be the Beaver State, but it’s been dominated in football by just one team with one color for the last seven seasons.
Mariota for the Heisman? Hard not to pick him. He threw just two interceptions all season long, while throwing for 36 and running for 11 more. He is responsible for 4106 yards of total offense with his hands or feet this season, more than Matt Leinart in 2004 or Carson Palmer in 2002, both ending up winning the Heisman trophy. J.T. Barrett had a very good season but he needed time to get going, not to mention the weaker Big Ten. Dark Prescott fizzled in the late-season stages and Jameis Winston was inconsistent. Can Melvin Gordon really get it? Hard to believe.
But beyond Mariota, the big thing is winning the conference, something that hasn’t happened since 2011, and playing for the national championship. Oregon made the 2010 BCS championship game but lost on a late field goal to Auburn. The field seems pretty even but still not determined. There’s just one more game to win for Oregon against an opponent they already lost to this season. Getting the same performance from Mariota and him getting the same protection will ensure Arizona don’t stand in their way of making history.