The Oregon Ducks seniors will play their final game at Autzen tomorrow as they take on the Colorado Buffaloes and each should be celebrated.
Like several other games this season, this is an assumed mis-match. That being said, the Buffaloes have held their own a few times this season and will definitely bring all they’ve got tomorrow. While it’s probably safe to anticipate a win, don’t count it as a gimme. Here are 4 quick hits to peak your interest:
1. Milestones galore.
Marcus Mariota is of course slaughtering the record books one game at a time and this game should be no exception. He currently needs just 9 rushing yards to be just the 5th player in NCAA history to have both 9,000 passing yards and 2,000 rushing yards.
Royce Freeman, a true freshman is also making a huge name for himself and marching toward several records. He needs just 55 rushing yards to become the first Oregon true freshman to break 1,000 rushing yards.
2. Grasu-less Offensive Line
Unfortunately, one of Oregon’s top leaders, senior center, Hironis Grasu, was injured in the Ducks’ last game. Though he is expected to return this season, tomorrow is likely too soon. That leaves either freshman, Doug Brenner, or senior LG Hamani Stevens, filling in. With so much communication coming from the center, there is some concern this interference on the line could be an issue. When asked about this on Tuesday, Marcus Mariota dismissed the concerns but described subtle differences in the replacement centers saying, “Little things like the speed of the ball coming back but it’s nothing too crazy. . . for the most part it’s gonna be smooth and we’ll be fine.”
3. It Never Rains at Autzen Stadium.
Except when it does. Tomorrow’s forecast is full of precipitation and every football fans knows just how much rain can impact things. Don’t fret though, my bet will still be on the Ducks’ QB to save the day. Marcus Mariota has said several times he’s played in the rain and is comfortable in it. He’s also talked about his high school coach spending time teaching him how to handle the ball should the clouds start to cry.
4. High School Reunion
Though it’s not the first time, it’s worth retelling the story line. Juda Baker, defensive tackle for the Buffs also happens to the same high school that produced Marcus Mariota. The two go way back, even playing in Pop Warner as young boys. Though he too speaks very highly of Marcus, Baker will not hold back on the field. Last year, he narrowly missed sacking Mariota. This Summer, at the Pac-12 Media Days, Baker told talked about that “almost sack” saying, “He threw the ball as I tackled him to the ground,” Parker said. “It was close. I’m going to try to get him this year.” We’ll see Juda, We’ll see.
Though the Buffs will put on a good fight, the Ducks will hold steady and break away by the beginning of the 3rd quarter. 45-20 Ducks.