Oregon Ducks' Marcus Mariota; Defense Leads Charge Over Brett Hundley and UCLA

By Ryan Wenzell
Scott Olmos-USA TODAY Sports

It was said to be an epic battle between quarterbacks. It was between two highly rated Pac-12 signal callers in Brett Hundley and Marcus Mariota. Two guys that will hear their respective names called early in the 2014 draft. Instead, the headlines should be about the Oregon Ducks defense.

They stifled the UCLA Bruins offensive attack. They made life extremely difficult on the red shirt sophmore Hundley, getting consistent pressure on the quarterback, sacking him multiple times, and causing two huge interceptions.

With all the accolades going to the Ducks’ offense this night, it was really about their defense. They are loaded with athletes on that side of the ball. It was an impressive effort on both sides of the ball from Mark Helfrich’s crew.

Mariota did nothing to dispute his claim as a top flight quarterback prospect. He makes throws look effortless. He also played mistake-free football once again in a game where the Ducks’ offense racked up well over 500 yards of offense and more than 40 points.

Mariota is neck and neck with Jameis Winston right now in the Heisman race. It really is a razor-thin margin. I would give Winston the slight edge right now for his epic performance against the then third ranked Clemson Tigers.

However, Mariota has a chance to equal or even surpass Winston if he takes down the highly ranked Stanford Cardinals, and if Winston has any slip up in his play.

It has become clear who the top two quarterbacks in the country are. Winston and Mariota are No. 1 and No.  “1a” if you will. It will be a tight race between these two for both the Heisman and a chance to represent their squads in the BCS National Championship Game.


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