Some players look for every edge when it comes to winning a game, but it seems Heisman Trophy front runner Marcus Mariota isn’t sweating the small stuff these days.
He just wants to play football.
Proof of the Hawaii native’s ‘hang loose’ mentality was on display in the Ducks 42-14 win over No. 12 UCLA this past Saturday, according to this report from Rob Mosely of GoDucks.com. Bruin linebacker Jordan Zumwalt was getting overly-aggressive and demonstrative against the Ducks in the early going (see a compilation here) and had a run-in with Mariota late in the second half.
Mariota was heading out of bounds when Zumwalt crashed into him just as he stepped onto the sideline. A flag seemed imminent but, apparently, Mariota convinced the referee to ignore it.
“Anthony Barr said he heard Mariota tell refs on Saturday not to call a late hit on Jordan Zumwalt, and to let them play,” Ryan Kartje of the Orange County Register reported this morning. “Earned him respect.”
Not only did Mariota apparently say something to officials, but he tapped Zumwalt on the helmet while running back inbounds, as if to say, “good job, good effort.”
It goes to show that Mariota’s poise isn’t just reflected in the fact that he hasn’t thrown an interception in a Pac-12 record 292 consecutive throws. It also shows in how he sets an example for his teammates, who responded accordingly by recording a season-low-tying five penalties against the Bruins.
“I don’t know,” Mariota told Mosely. “I just try to keep my head, and my guys did an awesome job keeping their heads. They did come after us a couple times, and for our guys to hold their character really says a lot about this team.”
It says a lot about Mariota, too.