(PHOTO)Oregon Ducks quarterback Marcus Mariota (8) scrambles with the football in the first quarter against the Colorado Buffaloes at Folsom Field. Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
Marcus Mariota has now tossed at least one touchdown pass in all 18 games of his career and Saturday he spread the wealth around with touchdown throws by finding Josh Huff and Bralon Addison twice and Keanon Lowe once. Mariota finished the day throwing for 355 yards on 16-of-27 passing with a long of 75 yards to Addison for a score.
“Marcus is a stud,” Oregon head coach Mark Helfrich said of Mariota. “He’s such a great person first and foremost and he’s by the way, an incredible football player. The stuff he does in practice we look at each other and shake our heads, and that’s shows in games.”
For the game the Ducks racked up 755 yards of total offense, the second most in school’s history. Oregon had 406 yards of passing. Backups Jeff Lockie (37 yards) and Jake Rodrigues (16 yards) saw action in the third and fourth quarters. Oregon gave up its first interception of the year when Lockie threw a long ball on third down deep in Oregon territory and the ball was picked off. Colorado however was unable to exploit the turnover for any points.
Oregon runners had a total of 349 net yards rushing headed by Byron Marshal with 122 yards on 23 carries. Ayele Forde picked 82 yards including a 40 yard run in the second half. Mariota had 43 yards and the two TDs. Freshman Thomas Tyner scored in the first half and finished the night with 43 yards.
Addison was the game’s leading receiver with 158 yards on five catches including two TD receptions. Josh Huff also went over the 100-yard receiving mark with five catches good for 103 yards and two TDs.
“Those guys are studs,” commented Helfrich on the Duck receiving corps. “Absolute warrior type guys, they love to play football. We have a physical group of playmakers that love to play football.”
Veteran wide receiver Eric Dungy made his first appearance of the season but did not record a catch.
Defensively, Oregon was its stubborn self. Despite an early touchdown on a halfback pass good for 75 yards, Colorado had trouble in the Oregon redzone and in the second half the Ducks turned up the heat and completely shut Colorado out.
“We challenged the defense at halftime,” admitted Oregon’s headman. “We didn’t play our way in the first half, that’s my fault. I don’t know if it’s the altitude or something else but whatever that may have been we responded well and that’s important.”
One significant fact in this game was that Oregon’s defense did not allow Colorado to convert any third downs (0-15).
Ifo Ekpre-Olomu was Oregon’s leading tackler with a total of eight tackles (seven solos) while Derrick Malone recorded four solo tackles. Terrance Mitchell picked off two of Colorado quarterback Connor Wood’s passes. Both turnovers resulted in Oregon touchdowns.
While Oregon again had a game with few sacks (two, one by Tony Washington and one by Joe Walker) the Ducks put a lot of pressure on Wood, especially in the second half. Oregon was credited with five quarterback hurries and three break-ups.
Wood was 11-for-32, 205 yards and two interceptions. Christian Powell was the leading Buffalo rusher with 78 net yards on 20 carries. Paul Richardson had five catches for 134 yards but no touchdowns. Colorado’s only touchdown came in the first half on the halfback pass from Richardson to D.D. Goodson that covered 75 yards. Field goal kicker Will Oliver was good on all three field goal attempts of 33, 22 and 31 yards.
With the win the Ducks are now 5-0 for the season and 2-0 in conference play. This was the fifth straight win in which Oregon has scored at least 50 points. Oregon now has won 10 games straight on the road with the last loss to LSU at a neutral site, Cowboy Stadium in Dallas on Sept. 3, 2011. Next week the Ducks are on the road again, this time to Husky Stadium. Oregon is seeking its 10th straight win over Washington.