Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota entered Thursday night’s game with Arizona in Eugene as the Heisman front runner.
He left it with his Heisman status in doubt, as the Wildcats came away with a 31-24 victory.
Let’s first go over what Mariota did in the game. The final stats show that he completed 20 of 32 passes for 276 yards and two touchdowns, rushed for one yard on nine carries (he was sacked several times), and caught a 26-yard touchdown pass from running back Royce Freeman.
While this was his worst passing outing of the season, it was still pretty productive. Certainly anyone who watched the game did not come away thinking that Mariota was the reason the Ducks lost. That fault would most definitely lie with the decimated Oregon offensive line, the tackle-averse Duck defense and (perhaps) the flag-happy Pac-12 referees.
However, Mariota did let Arizona’s Scooby Wright strip the ball from his hands on Oregon’s final drive, which enabled the Wildcats to secure the huge upset. Mariota was robbed of a chance to pull off a dramatic Heisman moment.
All that ultimately matters, though, is what this game meant to Heisman voters. How did it play in Heisman Peoria, so to speak? Continue Reading →