BERKELEY, Calif. — Oregon's offense surely deserves much of the credit for the 59-17 rout of California Saturday.
But the turning point of the game came midway in the third quarter, and it was provided by the Oregon defense.
Cal trailed just 24-17 and had the ball after scoring on its previous possession.
But Boseko Lokombo intercepted an Allan Bridgford pass at Cal's 35-yard line, and on the next play, Mariota threw a 35-yard scoring pass to Josh Huff to give the Ducks a 14-point lead with 6:20 left in the third quarter.
"I think that two-play sequence may have been the game-changer," Oregon coach Chip Kelly said.
"That really flipped the momentum," Mariota said.
Oregon got a scare when quarterback Marcus Mariota injured his left arm or shoulder in the second quarter when he hit the ground following a run.
He had to leave the game, but returned later in the second quarter and led a 69-yard scoring drive in the final two minutes of the half.
After rushing for a school-record 321 yards — the second highest rushing total by an FBS player this season — in last week's victory over USC, Oregon running back Kenjon Barner had 65 yards against Cal.
Oregon's 12-game winning streak heading into Saturday's action was the longest in school history and the second longest active streak in the country.
Alabama held the longest winning streak at 13 in a row, but the Crimson Tide lost to Texas A&M on Saturday. As a result, Oregon now owns the longest active winning streak at 13.
The Ducks have scored 42 points or more in 13 straight games and 30 or more in 23 straight, breaking the NCAA record.
Oregon won its 13th straight road game, the longest such streak in the country.