Mariota Becomes A Leader: After last week's 20-for-23 performance at USC, Mariota had another superb performance going 27-for-34 and tying a school record with six touchdowns, a record he now shares with Danny O'Neil, Joey Harrington and Darron Thomas. The redshirt freshman showed grit by playing with an injured left shoulder that sidelined him for part of the second quarter. He eventually returned and turned the game from an upset special into a blowout. Given the Ducks rough night injury-wise on both sides of the ball, Mariota provided the spark that re-energized Oregon when the offense became stagnant and showed that he can keep the offense rolling if the running game stalls.
Train-Keeps-A-Rollin: There were a lot of injuries on Saturday on both sides of the ball. The entire starting defensive line is out, Avery Patterson was lost to an apparent knee injury and there were the dings to Mariota and Barner. With all of that, the Ducks managed to survive the dreaded Berkeley trip (Oregon had lost three of its last four in Strawberry Canyon) with a comfortable 59-17 victory. The Ducks showed some toughness on Saturday and dominated in what is becoming usual fashion.
Defense Comes Up With The Big Turnover: Last week, the Ducks forced a couple of key first half turnovers that kept momentum in their favor. This week, the defense came up with the big play again. Up 24-17 with Cal driving in the third quarter, Boseko Lokombo came up with a timely interception that Mariota turned into a touchdown on the very next play by connecting with Josh Huff from 35 yards out. From there, the Ducks scored 28 unanswered points and cruised to victory.
Josh Huff Is Becoming A Go-To Player: Huff had five catches for 109 yards with three touchdowns on Saturday giving him five touchdowns and 234 yards on 11 catches over the last two weeks. Huff is separating himself from the pack as the go-to receiver for Oregon. If injuries continue to be a problem, Huff taking on a bigger role will be a must for the Ducks if they want to get to the title game.