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Mariota, Ducks ace big test

Oregon’s Marcus Mariota comes up shy of the goal line but throws for three scores and runs for one against Washington.

Associated Press

Oregon’s Marcus Mariota comes up shy of the goal line but throws for three scores and runs for one against Washington.

SEATTLE — In No. 2 Oregon's five previous games this season, Marcus Mariota was wearing a baseball cap and sending in signals from the sideline by the time the fourth quarter rolled around.

When the Ducks were finally pushed Saturday, he gave an emphatic response.

Mariota threw for 366 yards and three touchdowns and ran for 88 yards and a touchdown in a 45-24 win against No. 16 Washington.

"Guys were able to battle," Oregon tailback Byron Marshall said. "We're a four-quarter type of team. We just haven't had a reason to play four quarters. So the fact we got the first one under our belt to answer everyone's questions is good."

Mariota's passing was nearly spotless. He used his legs to make the Huskies pay when throwing options were covered.

"We tried to spy him. We tried to blitz him. We tried to contain him," Huskies coach Steve Sarkisian said. "He had a heck of a football game. He's a hell of a player."

Mariota was 24-of-31 and ran 13 times. He threw touchdowns of 4 and 3 yards to Bralon Addison and a 65-yarder to Josh Huff on Oregon's first possession of the second half.

In addition, Mariota answered each challenge. Twice in the second half, the Huskies pulled within a touchdown. Both times, he responded by leading the Ducks to touchdowns.

"We showed a lot of resolve in the third quarter and battled back in the ball game," Sarkisian said. "Unfortunately, we had a hard time containing Marcus. He threw the ball extremely well. And then when we covered him, he pulled it down and ran. We couldn't catch him."

Mariota topped 300 yards passing for the sixth time in his career.

"He was awesome," said Oregon coach Mark Helfrich, whose team has won 10 in a row in the series. "He played really smart and very productive. A bunch of guys made a bunch of plays for him, too."

Marshall added 106 yards rushing and two touchdowns. And while Oregon's streak of scoring at least 55 points ended at five games, it passed the first test of the season.

The Ducks rolled up 631 yards and averaged 7.8 yards per touch against a Washington defense that entered third best in Division I-A allowing 3.9 yards per play and third in pass efficiency defense.

Yet Mariota exposed the gap that remains between the Ducks and Huskies. Mariota hit on 13 of his first 15 passes and now has 25 combined touchdowns and zero turnovers this season.

"Marcus was huge again for us," Huff said. "He was taking care of the tempo and just leaving everything on the field for us. We stayed with him and were able to come away with the victory."

Mariota, Ducks ace big test 10/12/13 [Last modified: Saturday, October 12, 2013 10:31pm]
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