SPRING GAME RECAP
Junior quarterback Marcus Mariota led his ‘Team Mariasu’ to a 27-7 win over ‘Team Twifo’ in Saturday’s annual spring football game in front of 37,124 fans in Autzen Stadium.
In just three series of plays, Mariota was extremely accurate completing 6 of 7 passes for 100 yards and 2 scores – one of those a 45 yard strike to freshman standout wide receiver Devon Allen.
Mariota’s first score was just as nice. With 3:22 remaining in the first quarter, Mariota found Thomas Tyner for a 22 yard score to take an early 7-0 lead over ‘Team Twifo.’ Tyner flared out of the backfield and sprinted up the left hash where Mariota found him uncovered laying a perfect pass into his outstretched arms.
“When the teams got matched up I was kind of mad that I was going to have to chase him around all day,” said defensive lineman Arik Armstead after the game.
“Marcus is an excellent player. I tried to get after him as best I can, he’s elusive. Everybody’s seen the things he can do.”
Although running back Byron Marshall showed brilliant flashes of speed we’ve all become accustomed to, it was Tyner who used his power running style to make the Autzen Stadium crowd gasp with glee when they saw the soon-to-be sophomore power through ‘Team Twifo’ defenders on numerous occasions.
“That kid has learned how to practice,” Helfrich said in his post game press briefing.
“He’s one of the first guys out there everyday, which was the polar opposite last fall and he’s been outstanding on special teams. Now he’s starting to get it. Now he needs to get in better shape.”
In limited action, Marshall carried the ball just 4 times for 5 yards.
If they remain healthy, the duo of Marshall and Tyner will most certainly be one of the best in the country in 2014.
Once Mariota left the game it was clear why Duck head coach Mark Helfrich is having difficulty deciding who the true backup is heading into fall camp.
Looking back to last year, it was apparent why Helfrich and offensive coordinator Scott Frost decided to stay with Mariota after he injured his knee midway through the UCLA game.
In hindsight and in the chase for a Pac-12 Championship, an injured Mariota was certainly a better choice than an inexperienced and ineffectual Rodrigues and Lockie.
And that was again apparent in today’s action.
“I thought a couple times both of them absolutely forced it,” said Helfrich after the game when asked to evaluate both Lockie and Rodrigues.
“That’s again human nature to try to win the job with one throw and that’s the quickest, fastest way to lose it.”
Taylor Alie and Jeff Lockie each had touchdown passes on the day – Lockie finished 7-of-12 for 121 yards and a touchdown, while Jake Rodrigues finished his afternoon 7-of-18 for 66 yards with an interception.
“I think it’s a good foundation for next fall,” said Marcus Mariota in his post game remarks.
“I think there was some good things to take out of it. Besides some turnovers I think both offenses were able to move the ball, more or less. I think as we progress we want to always get better. This is kind of the standard now, to keep improving.”