Arizona — 0-0-7-6 — 13
Oregon — 6-17-21-7 — 51
The first quarter Friday night was filled with missed opportunities for Oregon. But in a dominant performance that showed just how unstoppable the second-ranked Ducks can be, Oregon shook off the slow start and throttled seventh-ranked Arizona 51-13 to win the Pac 12 championship.
Marcus Mariota, the MVP of the title game and the likely Heisman Trophy winner, rushed for 3 touchdowns and threw for 2 more as the Ducks wrapped up a spot in the inaugural College Football Playoff, the only question being whether they’ll enter the tournament as the No. 2 seed or the No. 1.
Check out the full box score here and read on for a recap.
Oregon Torched Arizona for 627 Total Yards
The Ducks dominated just about every statistical category. Among the highlights:
— Oregon out-gained Arizona 627-199 in Total Yards
— Oregon had 32 first downs. Arizona had just 10
— Marcus Mariota completed 25 of 38 passes for 313 yards and 2 touchdowns, while rushing for 33 yards and 3 touchdowns
— Oregon’s Royce Freeman rushed for a game-high 114 yards on 21 carries
— Arizona starting quarterback Jesse Scroggins completed just 3 of 11 passes for 79 yards, 1 touchdown and 1 interception.
Marcus Mariota Accounted for 5 Touchdowns
Oregon followed a maddening possession that ended in a missed field goal with an one that ended in a 7-yard Marcus Mariota touchdown run.
Mariota took it himself and snuck past a handful of Arizona defenders into the corner of the endzone with 7:27 left in the fist half, capping a 5-play, 39-yard drive to make it 13-0.
The Heisman frontrunner scored on a similar play — this one from 4 yards out — with 1:34 left in the half to make it 20-0.
The touchdown was made possible by a 74-yard bomb from Mariota to Charles Nelson across the middle of the field that gave the Ducks the ball at the Arizona 11 with an easy opportunity to score.
Aidan Schneider added a 31-yard field goal on the last play at the half to stretch the Ducks’ lead to 23-0.
Oregon wasted no time scoring in the third quarter, putting another touchdown on the board when Mariota hit Devon Allen for a 4-yard touchdown strike that made it 30-0 with 10:37 left in the third quarter.
Jesse Scroggins hit Cayleb Jones for a 69-yard touchdown strike that put Arizona on the board and made it 30-7 with 9:34 left in the quarter, but Oregon answered, scoring on an 11-yard Mariota pass to Darren Carrington to make it 37-7 with 7:59 left in the quarter.
Mariota took it himself again for his third rushing touchdown of the game — this one from a yard out, with 4:54 left in the quarter — to stretch the lead to 44-7.
Senior walk-on running back Kenny Bassett scored from 19 yards out to add one more touchdown and make it 51-7 with 4:12 left in the game.
Oregon Had to Settle for a Pair of Field Goals in the 1st Quarter
— ESPN CollegeFootball (@ESPNCFB) December 6, 2014
The bad news for Arizona in the first quarter was that the Wildcats did nothing on offense and were outgained 162-32 in total yards.
The good news? Oregon had to settle for a pair of Aidan Schneider field goals early: A 34-yarder on the Ducks’ opening drive that made it 3-0 with 11:30 left in the first quarter, and a 22-yarder with 7:55 left in the quarter that made it 6-0.
The Ducks failed to score a touchdown in the opening quarter despite 7 first downs and a time-of-possession advantage of more than 7 minutes.
The Ducks were on the verge of scoring their first touchdown when they drove down to the Arizona 1 mid-way through the second quarter. But back-to-back false start penalties pushed Oregon back to the 10, and Schneider missed a chip shot 27-yard field goal.
Preview: Arizona Trying to Do the Almost-Impossible & Stop Oregon
Scoring almost 46 points per game, Oregon’s offense has been nearly unstoppable the past two seasons under the direction of Heisman Trophy hopeful quarterback Marcus Mariota.
Key word in the above sentence: nearly.
That’s because when the No. 2 Ducks (11-1, 8-1 Pac-12) enter Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif., Friday night for the Pac-12 Championship Game, they will be facing the one team which has made them look average: Arizona.
The 7th-ranked Wildcats (10-2, 7-2 Pac-12) have been responsible for Oregon’s last two losses, holding Mariota and Co. in check in the process. Earlier this season Arizona won 31-24 in Eugene and last year trounced the Ducks 42-16 in Tucson.
The point totals were the Ducks’ lowest offensive output for each season. In 2013, Oregon was held under 30 points in just one other game, a 26-20 loss to Stanford. This season, the Ducks have scored at least 38 points in each contest other than the Arizona game, winning them all.
Friday night we’ll see if Rich Rodriguez and his Wildcats can continue their mastery of Oregon or if Mariota and the Ducks can finally figure out the Arizona defense.
Here’s all you need to know about this year’s Pac-12 Championship Game:
No. 2 Oregon vs. No. 7 Arizona, Pac-12 Championship Game
Friday, 9 p.m. Eastern on Fox
Levi’s Stadium, Santa Clara, California
Oregon (-14.5). Line provided by bovada.lv
Arizona 31, No. 2 Oregon 24, on Oct. 2, 2014, in Eugene, Oregon
Keep it here for live updates and highlights throughout the night.