Sep 7, 2013; Charlottesville, VA, USA; Oregon Ducks quarterback Marcus Mariota (8) on a long run for a touchdown in the first few minutes of the first quarter as Virginia Cavaliers cornerback DreQuan Hoskey (22) defends at Scott Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
We all know how good Oregon is on the offensive side of the ball. It, at times, becomes so technically sound and effective, that it becomes pretty to watch (even if it is at the cost of your team’s defense). The only way that this difficult offense runs well, which is chalk full of moving parts, is if it has a true leader under center. Oregon, luckily, has been able to consistently put up such a top-notch offense over the last few seasons because they’ve had such great players at the quarterback spot. From Dennis Dixon to Jeremiah Masoli to Darron Thomas, this offense has purred like a beautiful muscle car running wild along Highway 1.
However, over the past season and a half, Oregon may have found the best quarterback out of all of them in Marcus Mariota. Mariota, through 16 games has produced 3,566 passing yards, 1,014 rushing yards, 39 passing touchdowns, nine rushing touchdowns, and only six interceptions. Those numbers put him in the pantheon of quarterbacks who have played in the NCAA since the turn of the century. He is a duel-threat quarterback who had a phenomenal season last year, and has returned looking even better and has produced at an even better rate thus far (889 passing yards, 256 rushing yards, seven passing touchdowns, four rushing touchdowns and no turnovers).
Oregon is full of stars, many of whom will play on Sundays eventually. Mariota, though, shines the brightest, because he at the most important (and visible) position on the field, not to mention he is probably the best player on the field on most Saturdays. He also has only been sacked twice this season. If he plays his game, he’ll likely dominate the Cal defense.