Entries in Marcus Mariota (3)


Newsday (N.Y.): Oregon crushes Florida State in Rose Bowl to reach College Football Playoff final

By Art Spander
Special to Newsday

PASADENA, Calif. — The oddsmakers knew Oregon, even if most of the eastern United States did not.

The Ducks, the aptly named Quack Attack, were a 9 1/2-point favorite over Florida State, a team that hadn't lost a game in two-plus seasons. Some people wondered how that could be. They found out the first day of 2015.

Read the full story here.

Copyright © 2015 Newsday. All rights reserved.


Newsday (N.Y.): Jameis Winston, Marcus Mariota square off in national semifinal

By Art Spander
Special to Newsday

PASADENA, Calif. — One team, Oregon, is second in the nation in the playoff rankings. The other, Florida State, is third and undefeated. Each has a Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback. What else do we need to know?

Other than who will win Thursday's College Football Playoff semifinal, of course.

Read the full story here.

Copyright © 2015 Newsday. All rights reserved.


Great night for Mariota and Oregon, not the Pac-12

By Art Spander

SANTA CLARA — The game didn’t hurt Marcus Mariota’s chance for the Heisman Trophy. “If this guy’s not what the Heisman’s about...” said Mariota’s coach, Mark Helfrich.

The comment went unfinished, but Mariota’s quest for the Heisman surely will not be.

Nor did the game hurt the University of Oregon, arguably the second-best team in the land and surely destined for one of the four positions in the college football playoffs. The Ducks embarrassed Arizona, 51-13, Friday night at Levi’s Stadium in the Pac-12 championship game.

“Wasn’t a good night,” said the Arizona head man, Rich Rodriguez. He was talking about his team, which had beaten the Ducks two in a row, 41-24 earlier this season at Eugene, Oregon’s place, and 42-16 last season.

He also could have been talking about the conference’s reputation.

Arizona took a hit, a big one. In what was supposed to be a competitive game, Arizona was disgracefully non-competitive. At halftime, the Wildcats had minus-9 yards rushing, only 25 yards total offense. At halftime, the Wildcats trailed 23-0.

At halftime, the game was over.

“You know,” said Rodriguez, “this play didn’t work, that play didn’t work.”

But for Mariota, the redshirt junior quarterback, after a slow start almost everything worked. By the time he was taken from the game in the fourth quarter, Mariota had rushed for 33 yards and three touchdowns and passed for 303 yards and two more touchdowns.

By that point, Mariota had all but made certain he would earn the Heisman.

“I wouldn’t be in this position,” said Mariota, “if it weren’t for the other players. It’s an 11-man game.”

But of those 11, Mariota, with 39 touchdown passes and only two interceptions this season, is one of a kind. The Ducks are 12-1, that only defeat to Arizona, and headed for one of two postseason semifinals, probably at the Rose Bowl on New Year’s Day. But that is a few weeks in the future.

On Friday night as the rain fell and stopped and fell, on turf at the San Francisco 49ers' new $1.3 billion stadium that despite having been replaced five times was slippery, Mario worked his magic.

And worked over an Arizona team that was as bewildered as it was battered, giving up 640 yards while acquiring only 224.

“I think Oregon is a very, very good football team,” said Rodriguez. “The winner of our league each year is going to be, I think, a contender to be one of the best in the country. Oregon’s the best in our league this year, and I think they have a chance to prove they’re the best in the country.”

That’s because, in addition to the offense driven by Mariota, they also have a defense. Or is that statement unneeded when the opponent has only 25 yards in the first half?

“The defense did a tremendous job,” confirmed Helfrich. “They stopped a higher power offense.” An offense that gained 495 yards against Oregon in October. An offense that Friday night could hold on to the ball just over 21 minutes of the game’s 60.

Helfrich was apologetic about his own offense early on. The Ducks took the opening drive to the Arizona 16 and finished with just a field goal. After Oregon recovered an Arizona fumble on the kickoff, the Ducks went to the Arizona five and finished with another field goal. Next, they were stopped on downs at the Arizona 25.

“Offensively,” said Helfrich, “we were a bit tight. A bunch of guys were trying to make it 42-0 on two plays, and that’s very difficult. Whether it was jumping offsides or making mistakes, we were inches away from a bunch of points.”

Those points would come, and in the fashion of Oregon’s high-speed tactics that wear down the defense, they came quickly. What didn’t come was the big crowd Pac-12 officials wanted in the first of the four conference championship games not held at one of the opponents’ stadiums. Announced attendance at the 68,000-seat stadium was 45,618, and it seemed closer to 35,000.

Mariota seems closer to the No. 1 individual prize in undergraduate football, the Heisman.

“We had a lot of motivation going into this game,” said Mariota. Two months ago, against the Wildcats, he caught a touchdown pass and threw TD passes of his own, but the Ducks were defeated.

“We didn’t try to put too much emphasis (on this game), because that’s going to be a distraction. We just wanted to go out there and play the best we could. The last couple of years we haven’t been able to put that out there against them. Tonight was just a great example of us playing a complete game.”

And a great example of a quarterback who has likely earned the Heisman.