In what many saw as a likely shootout and scary match-up for Oregon, the Ducks came out in full force, dominating on all fronts and took home the Pac 12 Championship Trophy with a 51-13 victory over the Wildcats.
After being taken down by Arizona in regular season play for two years in a row, Oregon was looking for redemption and it couldn’t have come at a sweeter time. With a win this evening, the Ducks have likely sealed their berth into the inaugural College Football Playoff and likely helped send their quarterback, Marcus Mariota, to New York next week to receive the Heisman Trophy. Though not a done deal, any other scenario would send shock waves across the college football world.
Despite playing pretty sloppy in the first half, racking up 11 penalties, Oregon was able to score 23 points in the first half, while the Oregon defense managed to shut out Arizona’s typically explosive offense. From there, things didn’t improve much for Arizona as they ended up pulling not only their first string quarterback, Anu Solomon, but their second as well. The ‘Cats were able to finally score 13 points in the second half, but Oregon’s defense and a Marcus Mariota-led offense proved just too much for Coach Rich Rodriquez and his crew.
The game ball goes to:
Who else but Marcus Mariota. On a national stage, in an epic redemption match up, Mariota shined as only he can, leading the Ducks to a 51-13 victory. When plays broke down, he found a way- breaking through coverage and threading the ball to his receivers. Or, in typical fashion, reminding any naysayers out there, he can do lots of damage on his feet as well. In the end, Mariota had notched 2 touchdowns through the air and 3 on the ground, sending a pretty darn good final message to all those Heisman voters.
How about that Ducks defense?
Against a team who has earned national recognition for its explosive spread offense, and who has managed to defeat Oregon two years in a row, the Ducks’ defense held Arizona to just 13 points. It’s also worth repeating they stomped on Arizona’s game plan and forced Arizona coaching staff to pull its first and second string quarterbacks after they failed to get the Wildcats’ offense moving. When was the last time you saw something like that?
The Ducks will have a little time to celebrate this win (and their quarterback’s trip to New York), before getting back to work. Likely an echoed sentiment, Oregon running back, Royce Freeman, told Fox after the game, he plans to “Enjoy it for a little bit with my teammates. It’s a great experience,” Freeman said.
“Most of us, it’s our fist time out here. But after that, our coaches will let us know when it’s time to get back to work.”
The Ducks are expected to be in the College Football Playoffs, opponent to be determined, set to begin January 1, 2015. Should they win there, they will finally make it back to the big show, or as Duck fans prefer to call it . . .The Natty.
It’s a great night to be Duck. Mariota and Co., consider yourself redeemed.