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A Mariota-fest again at Autzen

Oregon QB shines, as Ducks cruise past Colorado


Photo Credit: TRIBUNE PHOTO: JAIME VALDEZ - Oreon Ducks quarterback Marcus Mariota leaves Autzen Stadium after Saturday's Colorado game.EUGENE — Marcus Mariota added to his place in Oregon lore, Royce Freeman kept scoring touchdowns and the Oregon Ducks rolled past Colorado 44-10 Saturday afternoon at Autzen Stadium.

Mariota threw three TD passes, dashed for a 46-yard TD run and became the fifth college quarterback with 9,000 passing yards and 2,000 rushing yards, joining the likes of Colin Kaepernick and Tim Tebow.

Mariota's 42 total TDs this season set a Pac-12 record.

He came off the field — very likely for the final time at Autzen — when coach Mark Helfrich substituted Jeff Lockie for him early in the fourth quarter. That move brought the crowd to its feet with a standing-ovation tribute for their Heisman Trophy candidate, who is expected to head to the NFL after this season.

Freeman scored two touchdowns against the Buffaloes, giving him a Pac-12-leading 16 TDs, and he became the first UO true freshman to top 1,000 yards rushing. He ran 17 times Saturday for 105 yards.

The Ducks (10-1, 7-1 Pac-12) were never threatened, and now they prepare for the Civil War game, Saturday, Nov. 29 at Oregon State.

Colorado, winless in Pac-12 play, was ineffective with Jordan Gehrke playing quarterback ahead of Sefo Liufau, who suffered a concussion two weeks ago. The Buffs stuck with Gehrke until going to Liufau in the third quarter.

The Ducks also held the Pac-12's leading receiver, Nelson Spruce, in check, although he made his 100th reception of the season.

The Ducks led 30-3 at halftime and played out the game in the second half. There wasn't much concern when they had first down inside the Colorado 5 and failed to score in the third quarter, with Mariota slipping and falling on first down (and chuckling about it) and sailing his fourth-down pass — yes, the Ducks, ahead 30-3, opted for a fourth-down play rather than just kick a field goal.

Mariota later threw a 15-yard TD pass to Evan Baylis, the tight end who replaced the injured Pharaoh Brown.

Liufau, on his second possession, led Colorado on a touchdown drive. He threw a 5-yard TD pass to Donovan Lee to make the score 37-10.

Mariota's second TD pass to Charles Nelson, a 14-yarder, made it 44-10.

Mariota finished 24 of 32 passing for 323 yards.

Colorado pulled out a trick and succeeded at an onside kick to start the game. But the Ducks held them on defense, gave the ball to Mariota and the offense — and the points began to pile up for Oregon.

The Ducks played with some different offensive line lineups, putting Hamani Stevens at center (replacing injured Hroniss Grasu) and Doug Brenner at left guard and working in Andre Yruretagoyena at tackle as he returned from injury.

Running back Thomas Tyner didn't play, though.

On Oregon's first possession, Mariota threw seven yards to Devon Allen on fourth down and Freeman scored on a 20-yard run. The conversion pass failed.

Cornerback Troy Hill made some fine plays on 100-reception receiver Spruce in the first half, and the Ducks didn't allow Colorado much offensively.

Mariota surpassed 2,000 career yards rushing, and his zone-read, 46-yard TD run put Oregon in front 13-0.

The Ducks went on a 94-yard, 11-play drive and scored again on Freeman's 7-yard TD run. After the Buffaloes marched for three points — thanks to Rodney Hardrick's personal foul and Torrodney Prevot's taunting penalty — the Ducks needed only four plays to go ahead 27-3 on Mariota's 31-yard TD pass to Nelson. On the drive, Freeman topped 1,000 yards rushing for the season.

After another defensive stop, the Ducks moved for more points — a drive highlighted by Darren Carrington's 29-yard circus reception. He and a Colorado defender competed for a passed ball, and as Carrington fell down the ball bounced off his leg and into the air, and Carrington caught the ball on his back.

Matt Wogan, kicking ahead of Portland's Aidan Schneider, booted a 25-yard field goal to make the halftime edge 30-3.

The Ducks held Colorado to 93 yards on 32 first-half plays while rolling up 341 yards on 42 plays.

SCORE BY QUARTERS

COLORADO 0 3 7 0 -- 10

OREGON 13 17 14 0 -- 44

FIRST QUARTER

OREGON — Royce Freeman 20 run (pass failed), 10:48

OREGON — Marcus Mariota 46 run (Matt Wogan kick), 0:10

SECOND QUARTER

OREGON — Freeman 7 run (Wogan kick), 10:06

COLORADO — Will Oliver 23 FG, 6:18

OREGON — Charles Nelson 31 pass from Mariota (Wogan kick), 5:06

OREGON — Wogan 25 FG, 0:42

THIRD QUARTER

OREGON — Evan Baylis 15 pass from Marcus Mariota (Wogan kick), 3:53

COLORADO — Donovan Lee 5 pass from Sefo Liufau (Oliver kick),

OREGON — Nelson 14 pass from Mariota (Wogan kick), 0:15

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