It was another casually spectacular day for the Oregon Ducks as they wrapped up their regular season with a convincing 47-19 victory at Oregon State. The game marked the 118th meeting of the Civil War rivalry, and while it wasn't the single most lopsided (44 points was the record, dating back to 1895 and matched in 1987, if you want something that doesn't predate the McKinley administration), it was a 30-point game by halftime and really Oregon's game from start to finish. "Game control," I think the playoff committee calls it.
Marcus Mariota put on a show for the gathered fans in Corvallis. It probably wasn't a show the Beaver partisans particularly cared to see, but maybe, on some deep level, even they could appreciate the mastery of the sport on display. Mariota's stats were typically gaudy: 19-for-25, 367 yards, four TDs, 39 rushing yards and two more scores on the ground. Moreover, his plays were the highlight-reel type of stuff that you basically only see from the best player in college football.
Mariota went over defenders...
...straight past them...
...and threw absolute rockets that led to more gorgeous scores:
Hey, when Oregon's operating on that level, there's just nothing you can do.
Three things we learned
1. Marcus Mariota is going to win the Heisman. The Heisman race has been Mariota's to lose basically all season long, but his spectacular day against OSU effectively cemented things.
2. Oregon just might be the playoff favorite. The Ducks still need to beat Arizona in the Pac-12 championship to punch their ticket to the CFB Playoff—and that's obviously no sure thing—but if Oregon passes that test, its high-octane offense is going to be a nightmare for anyone else in the top four to handle.
3. Royce Freeman is one of the best running backs you're not paying attention to. He's only a true freshman, but Royce Freeman has become a major part of the Oregon offense—they moved incumbent RB Byron Marshall to WR to make room for Freeman—and he now sits at 1,185 yards on the season after a 135-yard effort Saturday night. He also threw in a juggling 12-yard touchdown reception, because sure, why not. Freeman is the total package in terms of size, speed and athletic ability, and he should be a major star in the Oregon offense next season and in the years to come.