The Oregon offense rarely misses opportunities in their hyper quick attack.
On Saturday afternoon, the Ducks took advantage of one of those opportunities, but this one was off the field and inside of the Oregon locker room.
After the teams 66-3 thrashing of Nicholls State, members of the Oregon squad led by quarterback Marcus Mariota offered first year head coach Mark Helfrich the ‘game ball.’
“It wasn’t just me,… a lot of the guys thought about it, and we wanted to kind of give something to coach Helfrich because he’s earned it,” explained Mariota after the game.
“It’s a game ball,… I’m sure it will go up somewhere. It’s awesome to have that moment where you’re able to give a coach his first game ball,…and it’s really his first victory. I think that’s pretty cool to be a part of.”
Even more cool was Oregon’s ground attack which accumulated 500 yards on 45 carries and a ‘single game’ record setting total of 772 yards.
“It gives us confidence” said Oregon running backs coach Gary Campbell after the game.
“Obviously, everybody is looking to see what we’re going to do this year, particularly under a new head coach. I think everybody kind of saw what that was today.”
The Ducks also set another school record on Saturday.
Marcus Mariota, De’Anthony Thomas and Byron Marshall all rushed for over 100 yards in a single game. That was the first time in school history three players all reached the 100 yard mark.
“I feel like we could have that every game,” said junior running back De’Anthony Thomas in his post game remarks.
“We are going to be better and better every week.”
Thomas led the way with 128 yards on 18 carries which averaged just over 7 yards each time he touched the ball.
Marshall echoed those sentiments Saturday after showing flashes of speed and power.
“We have a lot of different threats and different people were clicking today,” said Marshall when asked about the Ducks triple threat.
“This shows we have a lot of people who can make big plays and help us win.”
Marshall carried the ball just 8 times but rushed for 124 yards – one of those eight carries was a 49 yard burst to the end zone just before the end of the 3rd quarter.
“I thought I had a good game,” Marshall said. “My role picked up a little bit. I wasn’t too tired today.”
Next Saturday, the competition gets better when Oregon travels across the country to take on the Virginia Cavaliers from the Atlantic Coast Conference.
In their opener, the Cavaliers edged past BYU 19-16.
“This gives us a lot of confidence,” Mariota said.
“We have a lot of young players. Some of those guys are first-time guys going out there for the first time. We’re excited to get the season rolling.”
Video Note; Watch the Mariota post game press briefing by clicking on the video box above