Since losing to Stanford last year, Oregon Ducks quarterback Marcus Mariota has thrown for 2,587 yards, rushed for 658 yards, and scored 34 touchdowns (23 passing and 11 on the ground). Those type of numbers are impossible to ignore, and even though his Cardinal did a great job of limiting Mariota in 2012, Stanford coach David Shaw knows his team is up against a formidable opponent this Thursday.
In a piece by ESPN’s Kevin Gemmell, Shaw explained how he hopes Mariota will leave for the NFL after this year, comparing the sophomore quarterback to two of the best young QBs in the game:
I thought he was the best in the country last year and I think he’s the best this year. Why nobody is talking about him as the No. 1 overall pick, I don’t understand. He’s 6-5. He’s really smart. He’s unbelievably accurate. There is no wobble on his passes. Everything is precise and a quick release. Oh, by the way, he runs a 4.4. He’s that combination of Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin. You’re not choosing between one or the other. You’ve got both. The big, physical imposing pocket passer and the guy that can outrun everybody.
Mariota played decently against a great Stanford defense in 2012, throwing for 207 yards and a touchdown. He also ripped off 89 yards rushing, but Oregon fans certainly remember his dash up the sideline that fell short of the end zone when De’Anthony Thomas missed a key block (the Ducks wouldn’t score on the drive).
This year’s game should be another classic, so make sure to tune in on Thursday night (6:00 p.m. PT on ESPN).