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Mariota Wins Pac12 Honor, Wildcats,USC Kickoff Play on Thursday

While he’s been at the top of the Heisman conversation for weeks, #2 Oregon (5-0, 2-0) sophomore quarterback Marcus Mariota won his first Pac-12 offensive player of the week nod on Monday. This came as he set a university record with his 42 of 57 points in the team’s 57-16 victory over Colorado (2-2, 0-2) last Saturday.


Marcus Mariota

For the game, in the air he went 16 of 27, 355 yards and five touchdowns while he had 43 yards and two additional scores on the ground. He sits as No. 8 nationally for passing efficiency (a 176.30 quarterback rating) and No. 9 for total offense (339.20 yards per game). Mariota has also set an Oregon record for straight throws without an interception: at 202 and still going strong.

He remains at the top of the Heisman odds at 8/5.

The Ducks are No. 2 in the country offensively with its 630.40 yards per game and in addition to these great numbers, another one of its players recently made news: tight end Colt Lyerla. The player announced on Sunday he was leaving the program.This came after he missed Saturday’s game due to a one-game suspension.

The reason for the exit has been called “personal reasons” and the junior Lyerla has said he doesn’t plan to transfer to another program but instead just go to the NFL. He is eligible for next year’s draft and according to registerguard.com, he had been listed as a possible first rounder in preseason mock drafts.

In his Oregon career, Lyerla amassed 34 catches for 565 yards, 11 touchdowns as well as 16 carries for 94 yards and two additional scores.

The player said in a statement via the school, “I love everyone at Oregon; everyone’s on good terms, I believe. Just for my own benefit, it was time to move on.”

So who’s next up for the tight end spot? Look for freshman Johnny Mundt to step up. In the game against Tennessee (3-3, 0-2), he had five receptions for 121 yards and two touchdowns.

This Saturday, Oregon will face its greatest test to-date as they’ll take on #16 Washington (4-1, 1-1) at the loud Husky stadium. The home team is coming off a tough 28-31 loss against #5 Stanford (5-0, 3-0) last week and will suffer another one as Oregon gets the win (-14).

In Other Quarterback News…Meanwhile, one quarterback that got lost in last weekend’s headlines was Washington State’s (4-2, 2-1) quarterback  Connor Halliday. In a 42-22 win over California, the player, while battling an upper-body injury suffered in the previous week against Stanford, passed for 521 yards. This fell 10 yards shy of the school’s record set in 2005 by Alex Brink.

But Halliday did set a school record of 41 passes on 67 attempts with his three touchdowns and one pick. The team snapped an eight-game losing streak on Cal’s home turf.–a  win there had not come since 2002.

For this week’s game, Halliday’s team will face a tough challenge against Oregon State (4-1, 2-0).

Additional interesting Pac-12 games includes the Thursday night one with Arizona (3-1, 0-1) at USC (3-2, 0-2).

In 2012, USC won 39-36 in Arizona and we all know that was a different team, different coach. Thursday’s game will represent the first one since the school fired head coach Lane Kiffin; Ed Orgeron is the interim coach.

Last week both teams had their bye weeks. The Wildcats’ last game was a 13-31 loss to Washington; prior to that, they had defeated USTA (2-4, 1-1) on September 13 so there are grumblings they could either be rusty or very well rested, hungry for a win.

To-date, its defense has seven interceptions and is No. 11 nationally with its pass efficiency defense. This should be interesting as in USC’s game against Arizona State (3-2, 1-1) that ended in a 41-62 loss, tying a school-record high with the 62 points. For this week’s game, wide receiver Marqise Lee and linebacker Morgan Breslin are questionable to play.

No worries, USC will still get the win (-5.5).


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