OREGON STEAMROLLS SOUTH DAKOTA 62-13 IN SEASON OPENER – Marcus Mariota Sets Career Touchdown Record While Freshman Tailback Royce Freeman Scores Twice in Debut
GAME BRIEF In front of an Autzen Stadium crowd of 57,388, No. 3 Oregon rolled to a 62-13 win Saturday evening against FCS opponent South Dakota. While quarterback Marcus Mariota only played the first half, he was responsible for four touchdowns – three through the air and one on the ground. Mariota’s three aerial scores tied Oregon’s all-time passing touchdown mark ( 66 ) set by Darron Thomas. In addition to setting the passing touchdown mark, Mariota also set Oregon’s all-time career total touchdown record ( 78 ) which was held by Joey Harrington. With his four scores on the night, Mariota now holds that career benchmark with ( 82 ) scores. Final numbers for Mariota; Passing – 14 of 20 for 267 yards and 3 touchdowns. Rushing – 6 carries for 43 yards. It was also a productive night for some of Oregon’s true freshman. Running back Royce Freeman carried the ball just 10 times for 75 yards in his Oregon debut, however he found the end zone twice sending the Autzen Stadium crowd into a frenzy. In addition to Freeman’s outstanding performance, freshman wide receiver Charles Nelson also put his name in Oregon’s stat sheet for the very first time with a 50 yard punt return for a touchdown showing similarities to De’Anthony Thomas.
Tailback Byron Marshall also had a stellar night as the leader in both the receiving and rushing categories. Through the air, Marshall caught 8 balls for 138 yards with 2 touchdowns. It was Marshall’s first ever 100 yard receiving game. In addition, Marshall led all rushers with 8 carries for 90 yards. Other notable performers were wide receiver Dwayne Stanford who scored his first touchdown as a Duck after catching a 62 yard strike from Mariota in the first half. Redshirt freshman Darren Carrington also caught 4 balls for 68 yards – his first receptions of his young Oregon career. NOTES: * Cornerback Ifo Ekpre-Olomu left the game in the first half with an injured ankle. In his post game interview, Ekpre-Olomu said his ankle seemed fine and it was secondary coach John Neal’s decision to keep him on the sideline in the second half. * Oregon garnered a total of 673 yards – 293 Rushing and 380 Passing. * Marcus Mariota extended his streak to 27 consecutive games of throwing at least 1 touchdown pass. * Oregon was 5 for 5 in the red zone – all touchdowns. * Oregon played ten true freshman – LS Tanner Carew, OL Tyrell Crosby, OLB Justin Hollins, RB Royce Freeman, WR Charles Nelson, DL Austin Maloata, DL Henry Mondeaux, LB Jimmie Swain, DB Arrion Springs and PK Aidan Schneider.