Big game, big records for Mariota
EUGENE — Quarterback Marcus Mariota was the catalyst behind No. 3 Oregon’s 46-27 rout of No. 7 Michigan State on Saturday at Autzen Stadium.
The senior threw a pair of third-quarter touchdown passes to ignite 28 unanswered, game-ending points for the Ducks.
Besides the victory, it was also a record-setting day for the junior.
Mariota became Oregon’s all-time leader in total offense and passing touchdowns on Saturday.
Entering the day, Mariota needed only 22 yards to pass Bill Musgrave’s mark of 8,140 yards of offense, set in 1990. Mariota finished with 360 (318 passing, 42 rushing).
He was also tied with Darron Thomas with 66 touchdown passes at the start of the game but had three on Saturday to claim sole possession of the record.
“Marcus and I were just in there hugging and talking,” Oregon coach Mark Helfrich said. “I should have to pay to watch that guy play. It’s just unbelievable to watch him train, to watch him prepare, and then to see him come to fruition in this game. We think very highly of Marcus.”
Mariota also moved past Joey Harrington for fourth all-time in passing yards.
“The guy’s just special,” Helfrich said. “He’s in there talking about what he could’ve done differently and better. Going into this game, we knew a lot of it was going to be on him.”
DEVON ALLEN SHINES: Redshirt freshman wide receiver Devon Allen finally got a chance to flash the speed and skill that has made him one of the most intriguing players on the team.
Allen, who won NCAA Outdoor and U.S. Outdoor titles in the 110-meter hurdles last spring as a member of the Oregon men’s track and field team, caught the first two touchdowns of his career and finished with three catches for 110 yards.
He hauled in a pass from Marcus Mariota and took it 70 yards to the end zone in the second quarter, spinning out of a tackle along the way.
“That first touchdown, just as an athlete, it gives you confidence and the ability to get into a rhythm and a flow,” Allen said. “It felt kind of good.”
He also caught a 24-yard TD pass from Mariota in the third quarter that sparked a run of 21 straight points for the Ducks.
Allen was a highly touted recruit coming out of Brophy Prep in Phoenix, Ariz., as both a four-star receiver and the state record holder in the 110 and 300 hurdlers.
“I’m excited,” he said. “ I feel blessed and lucky to be able to be out there and play every day. … Hopefully I will continue to play and keep getting better.”
JOE WALKER STEPS UP: Junior linebacker Joe Walker got the first start of his two-year Oregon career and made the most of it, matching the team lead with nine tackles — also a carer high — including two for a loss of yards.
“I think he played great for us right out of the gates,” linebacker Tony Washington said. “He started for us for the first time, and he didn’t look nervous. He came out ready to play. He was playing hard, and that’s what we need for the defense. He stepped up when we needed him.”
COLLEGE GAMEDAY: ESPN College GameDay was in town Saturday morning, set up inside the quad on campus in front of the Knight Library. It was the ninth time overall and sixth straight season the program has broadcast live from Eugene — a record for the show.
Host Lee Corso thrilled the assembled crowd of approximately 3,000 when he donned the Duck head for the 16th time, predicting an Oregon victory against Michigan State. The Ducks are now 12-4 when picked by Corso.
INJURY UPDATE: Starting right tackle Andre Yruretagoyena suffered what appeared to be a serious lower right leg injury on the second play of the third quarter and was carted off the field.
Oregon didn’t address Yruretagoyena’s injury after the game, which is its standard policy.
He was replaced in the game by true freshman Tyrell Crosby.
Yruretagoyena, a redshirt junior and career backup from Scottsdale, Ariz., moved into the starting lineup during fall camp when starting left tackle Tyler Johnstone tore his ACL and was lost for the season.
Jake Fisher moved from right tackle to left tackle to replace Johnstone, and Yruretagoyena moved to right tackle.