Berkeley, CA, United States (4E Sports) – Freshman quarterback Marcus Mariota matched a school record with a career-high six touchdown heaves as No. 3 Oregon crushed California, 59-17, to stay unbeaten in 10 games Saturday at Memorial Stadium.
Mariota completed 27 of 34 passes for 377 yards and hit three touchdown passes to wide receiver Josh Huff, two to tight end Colt Lyerla and one to Will Murphy for the Ducks, whose victory made them one of the favorites to take over the No. 1 spot after Alabama lost to Texas A&M, 29-24.
Mariota, who briefly left with a left arm injury in the season quarter but returned, earlier earned the Manning Award Player of the Week. He added 96 rushing yards and set a career best with 400 yards of total offense.
The freshman playmaker has totaled 819 yards of total offense and 10 TD passes over his past two games. He hit 20-of-23 for 304 yards and four touchdowns in the Ducks’ 62-51 victory over USC last week.
“I thought Marcus played outstanding. When you’ve got the guy pulling the trigger that’s got his sense of not to rush things, take what they give you. You’ve got to poke and prod a little bit. They did a decent job early against us, but I thought he really made some plays in the end, and that was a huge help for us on the offensive side of the ball,” Oregon head coach Chip Kelly said.
Huff finished 109 yards on five receptions, sophomore running back De’Anthony Thomas added 101 yards on eight catches and Lyerla tallied 64 yards on four receptions as the Ducks (10-0, 7-0 Pac-12) notched a school-record 13th straight victory, currently the longest in the nation.
Senior Kenjon Barner led the Ducks in rushing with 65 yards on 20 carries, Byron Marshall had 43 yards on eight carries and a score while Mariota ran for 42 yards on six carries.
Filling in for the injured Zach Maynard, Allan Bridgford completed nine of 21 passes for 113 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions. His first career touchdown pass was caught by Darius Powe, who also tallied his first career touchdown reception.
Running back Isi Sofele posted his eighth career 100-yard performance and third this year with a season-high 134 yards on 15 carries with a touchdown for the Golden Bears (3-8, 2-6 Pac-12).
Mariota ended the second quarter with a 10-yard touchdown pass to Huff for a 24-10 lead before stepping on the gas in the third, unleashing two more throwing scores for a commanding 38-17 advantage.
It was all Ducks in the fourth period as Mariota threw two more touchdown passes before he was pulled out of the game. Backup quarterback Bryan Bennett found BJ Bennett with an 18-yard touchdown pass for the final score.