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MailTribune.com
  • Mariota not as sharp in Game 2

  • EUGENE — Quarterback Marcus Mariota came back to earth a bit on Saturday, with an outing more typical of a redshirt freshman one week after earning national praise for his debut performance.
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  • EUGENE — Quarterback Marcus Mariota came back to earth a bit on Saturday, with an outing more typical of a redshirt freshman one week after earning national praise for his debut performance.
    Mariota was 19-for-27 for 166 yards and one touchdown against Fresno State in Oregon's 42-25 win at Autzen Stadium.
    In just his second career start, Mariota didn't look nearly as fluid or comfortable as he did last week when he went 18-for-22 for 200 yards and three TDs in the first half of the Ducks' 57-34 season-opening win against Arkansas State.
    "He played okay," Oregon offensive coordinator Mark Helfrich said. "There were several things (that he's) never had to deal with, some adversity. It's good that we can plow through that and just learn and grow."
    Mariota was 11-for-17 for 104 yards and a score in the first half Saturday and led Oregon on five touchdown drives for a 35-6 lead at the break.
    But he struggled in the second half and the Ducks failed to score until late in the fourth quarter.
    Mariota, who played the whole game Saturday, was 8-for-10 for 62 yards in the second half but also lost fumbles after getting sacked on two occassions. The first led to Fresno State's first touchdown of the game midway through the third quarter. The second killed an Oregon drive deep in Bulldogs' territory early in the fourth quarter.
    "We took our foot off the accelerator there for a bit and let them climb back into the game," Mariota said. "We got too comfortable with the lead. The adversity we faced today is good for us, it will help us prepare for upcoming games, especially conference play.
    INJURY UPDATE: Oregon started the game without star safety John Boyett and ended with a few more players sidelined by apparent injuries.
    Boyett, who led the team in tackles in 2011, was jogging around and shagging balls during pregame warmups in street clothes, showing no specific signs of being hurt, though he has a history of knee problems. Later Saturday, Rob Moseley of the Eugene Register-Guard tweeted that Boyett is injured and it could be season-ending.
    Oregon does not release information on player injuries.
    During the game, the Ducks lost starting wide receiver Josh Huff when he appeared to injure his left knee while playing on the punt return team late in the first quarter.
    Huff had to be carried off the field by trainers. After being tended to on the sideline, he walked gingerly back to the locker room on his own and returned late in the half on crutches and with his left knee heavily wrapped.
    The crutches and wrap were gone when he told reporters after the game he just planted wrong and his knee gave out.
    "I'm feeling fine," Huff said. "I thought it was worse but I'll be back Monday."
    Offensive linemen Carson York, Ryan Clanton and Jake Fisher also left the game early and reserve defensive lineman Jared Ebert didn't play after suffering an apparent knee injury last week against Arkansas State.
    SPEED KILLS: Fresno State's defense was caught off guard by the speed of Oregon's backfield, namely running backs Kenjon Barner and De'Anthony Thomas, two players who combined for 303 of the Ducks' 366 rushing yards. They also scored five times.
    "We lined up fine, but the actual speed of their players was something we weren't used too," Fresno State coach Tim DeRuyter said. "We were taking poor angles and it took us a half to figure out what kind of angles we had to get for No. 6 (Thomas) and No. 24 (Barner)."
    Linebacker Tristan Okpalaugo, who had nine tackles, including a sack and strip of Mariota, said it took too long for the defense to adjust to the Ducks' speed.
    "Their speed was ridiculous," Okpalaugo said. "I'll give them credit, they really put it on us. "… But you could tell by the second half that we adjusted and our eyes got right and we started playing better."
    SELLOUT STREAK CONTINUES: Saturday's attendance was officially announced as 55,755, keeping Oregon's consecutive sellout streak alive at 84 games.
    For the second week in a row, the streak was in jeopardy late in the week with thousands of tickets still available and students still one more week from being in session.
    The last non-sellout for the Ducks was Sept. 18, 1999, vs. Nevada.
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