No matter whether you call him the “Hawaiian Hurler” or the “Touchdown Tiki,” Marcus Mariota was everything advertised in his Oregon debut against the Arkansas State Red Wolves.
Mariota racked up 200 passing yards and three passing touchdowns as the Ducks defeated the Red Wolves 57-27, and he only played the first half. He also showed a “cool under pressure” image while running Oregon’s speedy spread offense while completing 18 of 22 passes.
The Ducks need a quarterback that is cool under pressure. Head Coach Chip Kelly can teach his quarterback how to run the offense, but he cannot teach his quarterback how to be cool under pressure while doing it.
Chip Kelly pulled his starting quarterback from the game at halftime, but that did not mean Mariota wanted to take the second half off.
After the game, Mariota said:
"“I would have liked to play a little bit more, but that’s the competition nature in me.”"
Mariota showed that his spring game performance, where he had three total touchdowns, was no fluke. Some can say that this is why he was named the starter over Bryan Bennett, but no one will truly know because of Oregon’s closed practices.
With this game, Mariota became the first freshman to start for the Oregon Ducks since Danny O’Neil in 1991. This could be a huge thing for the Ducks this season and in the future as well.
Because of the performance in his Oregon debut, many people might be thinking more and more about a Mariota v.s. Barkley match-up later this season on November 3rd.
Other Notable Oregon Ducks From Week 1 –
Kenjon Barner – 9 carries, 66 yards, 2 TDs
De’Anthony Thomas – 4 receptions, 55 yards, 3 TDs
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Check out my other writings on the Kansas Jayhawks blog, Through the Phog.