Marcus Mariota has been virtually everything this Oregon offense has been looking for to put them over the top for quite some time now. He’s everyone’s dream of what a dual-threat QB should be. The sophomore’s numbers are just flat-out ridiculous. He’s 100-for-165 with 1,724 yards, 17 touchdowns and absolutely zero interceptions. He’s also added in 426 yards on the ground and another eight scores. He’s the Commander-in-Chief of this potent offensive attack, and it ultimately comes down to him keeping up this level of play to get the Ducks back to the national championship game.
Rest of offense: A
The Ducks are 21st in passing offense (306.5), third in rushing yardage (324.0) and second in points for (56.8). So far throughout 2013, no one has been able to stop this army of offensive weapons. Some teams, as was the case with Washington last week, are able to hang with them for a little bit, but then like a good boxer who jabs you until you can’t take it anymore, they eventually just break down and tire out, and then things begin to get out of hand.
It’s certainly not the most talked about unit on the team, but it can’t be ignored how well the defense is playing for this team and first-year coach Mark Helfrich. They currently rank 18th in the country in total defense, and have yielded 338.7 yards per game. Add in the stat they they rank sixth overall in points against at just 13.8 points per game, and they complete the entire juggernaut that this team has become.
Offensive spotlight: RB Byron Marshall
Sophomore Marshall has stepped up in a big way for the offense. He provides a good balance as a lot of defenses focus on Mariota and all-everything threat De’Anthony Thomas. Through six games, Marshall has totaled 554 yards and six scores on 90 carries, and is currently on a streak of three straight games with over 100 yards on the ground.
Defensive spotlight: CB Ifo Ekpre-Olomu
Part of the reason for the success of the Oregon defense has been the play of the junior cornerback Ekpre-Olomu. Washington coach Steve Sarkisian recently made the claim after Saturday that he may be the best defensive player he’s ever seen. On the year, he’s totaled 36 stops and one pick.