Behind an offensive line that gets healthier each week, Thomas Tyner returned to score twice, Mariota ran for two of his own, threw for two more; and now…
For the first time in three years, Eugene woke up to start another work week enjoying the high of a victory over the Stanford Cardinal.
With the win, Oregon snapped Stanford’s streak of 31 straight games without allowing an opponent to score 30 points.
The last time Stanford allowed 30 points?
October 6, 2012.
Since that date Oregon has scored 30 or more points 25 times, tied for most in the FBS.
How fitting it is that Mariota was the one to snap the Cardinal’s impressive streak while strengthening his case for the Heisman trophy. His entire career the Ducks’ quarterback has seemingly feared “the Tree”, but no more. After this season is over, and unfinished business is hopefully fulfilled, Mariota can now say he beat Stanford.
In what has been a somewhat up and down, confusing season for the Ducks, who would have thought as of this moment the Oregon offense is currently the nation’s most efficient unit with the most explosive passing attack in the land?
This season was billed to be all about Mariota, and thus far he has not disappointed.
Even in their lone loss to Arizona, Mariota was one of the lone bright spots. That loss was not his fault.
Is it fair to say that Mariota is back atop the Heisman big board?
Some may disagree, but I say the college football world should view the award as his to lose.
Mariota led an attack on Saturday that put 45 points and 525 yards up against the nation’s fourth most efficient defense that allows the fewest yards per play and second fewest yards per pass attempt in the FBS.
Oregon put up points, and put them up quick against Stanford’s juggernaut defense. The Ducks 24 first half points were the most Stanford has allowed since 2010 when they allowed the same amount to, you guessed it, the Oregon Ducks.
Oregon’s wunderkind, who just celebrated his 21st birthday this past week, can once again rest easy knowing that he did everything he possibly could. But this time, instead of losing, Mariota proved without a shadow of doubt that he was not only the most promising player, but the best.
Even more impressive, is Mariota has done more with perhaps less than anyone in the nation. Oregon has been working with a patchwork offensive line that has been in shambles most of the year. Everyone knew the quarterback was really good, but no one knew anything about who he would be throwing to in 2014.
Mariota has proven it doesn’t matter who he’s throwing to. It’s the Tom Brady/Peyton Manning effect— when you’re the best quarterback in the land it’s like a koolaid formula. Just add water and it will be guaranteed sweet every time.
When Oregon lost to Arizona, the cynic in all of us started screaming for the head of Mark Helfrich and had all but doomed Mariota’s final campaign as a lost cause.
How silly of us, how silly of me.
Oregon as a team, may still not be who we thought they were, but that doesn’t matter as much as the fact Marcus Mariota IS exactly who we thought he was.
Now Oregon finds themselves in as good a position as they’ve ever been. All they have to do is what they’ve always done—
Play fast and put up points.
All that’s left after that is to let the SEC teams eat each other alive, and slide into a final four spot, hot and healthy.
Against Stanford, Oregon proved to themselves it doesn’t matter who the defense is, they will score.
What a beautiful thing it is to win on your own terms. Don’t worry about the opponent, worry about your execution. The method is proven, don’t reinvent the wheel.
Just hand the ball to Mariota and let it fly.