If Marcus Mariota keeps this up, the Heisman Trophy might find its way to Eugene come December.
Oregon’s sophomore quarterback threw for 366 yards and three touchdowns on 24 of 31 passing and added another 88 yards and a score on the ground as the No. 2 Ducks held off a gritty Washington squad in Seattle, 45-24.
It was Mariota’s calm under pressure that carried his team through a very difficult second half where the game almost got away from the Ducks. Washington tailback Bishop Sankey rumbled 60 yards for a touchdown on fourth down to cut the Ducks’ lead to 21-14 early in the third quarter. But Mariota stepped up on the next series and found Josh Huff on a 65-yard touchdown bomb. When Washington again closed to within seven on another Sankey touchdown at the end of the third quarter, Mariota responded with a five-yard touchdown run of his own early in the fourth.
No matter what Washington did, Mariota had an answer.
With the season halfway over, the sophomore is on course for the type of numbers that should make Heisman voters sit up and take notice. On his current pace, he’ll have 3,735 passing yards, 37 touchdown passes, 923 rushing yards and 17 rushing touchdowns by the time the Heisman vote is due. It would be hard to argue against a player with over 4,600 yards of offense and 54 total touchdowns, right? After all, Johnny Manziel wowed the college football world with 4,600 yards and 43 touchdowns last season on his way to winning the Heisman.
There are still hurdles to overcome. UCLA and Stanford loom in the next three weeks. But as it stands right now, Mariota is the solid favorite to win his school’s first Heisman.
The polls are meaningless. Especially any poll that isn’t the College Football Playoff top 25 and even then, as the TCU learned late last season, even the penultimate ranking is as meaningless as the paper they’re metaphorically written on.
Still, they’re catnip to college football fans and observers. Place them in front of us and we can’t help but gnaw on them.
And with that said, a bit of milestone was reached in Sunday’s Associated Press Top 25, as the SEC was completely shut out of the top five.
That group breaks down as follows:
- Ohio State
- Michigan State
An SEC free top five hasn’t happened in nearly five full years; October 10, 2010 was the last time such a thing occurred. Oddly enough, two of the same five culprits occupied that ranking as well:
- Ohio State
- Boise State
Underscoring the lesson of the first paragraph, eventual national champion Auburn checked in at No. 6. Those Tigers moved up a spot the following week and never looked back.
None of this means anything at all, until it does. But that doesn’t mean we can’t have some fun along the way.
After battling to get on the field throughout the season’s first five weeks, Georgia is shutting down inside linebacker Reggie Carter for the rest of the year, Dawgs head coach Mark Richt confirmed Sunday evening.
Carter fought shoulder problems throughout the year, and saw action in only one of Georgia’s first five games. A junior, Carter will be eligible for a medical redshirt.
The Snellville, Ga., native recorded 28 tackles in 12 appearances in 2014 and eight tackles in eight appearances as a freshman in 2013. UAB transfer Jake Ganus started in the spot many pegged to Carter before injure ruptured his season.
Carter totaled two stops in one appearance this season.