Imagine your redshirt freshman quarterback completing 68.5 percent of his 336 pass attempts for 2,677 yards with 32 touchdowns, just six interceptions and running for 752 yards and five more scores.
Then imagine that he gets better each of the next two seasons.
That’s what Marcus Mariota has done in his three seasons as Oregon’s starting quarterback and Saturday night he became the school’s first Heisman Trophy winner.
Mariota beat out Wisconsin’s Melvin Gordon and Alabama’s Amari Cooper for college football’s most prestigious individual award.
With the Heisman award in hand, Mariota now begins a much bigger quest. The Ducks are the No. 2 seed in the first College Football Playoff. They play No. 3 Florida State in the semifinals Jan. 1 at the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans.
In a season that say various players assume the role of Heisman favorite at one point or another —Jameis Winston, Kenny Hill, Dak Prescott, Todd Gurley — it was Mariota, the steady and consistent leader of one of the nation’s best offenses who played big week in and week out.
The only blip on Mariota’s season: a Week 6 loss to Arizona in which he threw for 276 yards, two TDs (no interceptions) and also had a 26-yard touchdown reception.
For the season, Mariota completed 68.3 percent of his passes for 3,773 yards, 38 TDs and only two interceptions. He also ran for 669 yards and 14 touchdowns.
He beat teams through the air: In a Week 2 win against Michigan State, he threw for 318 yards with TD passes of 70, 24 and 37 yards.
He also beat them with his legs: He gained 75 yards on seven carries with TD runs of 13 and 23 yards in a win against UCLA and ran for a season-best 114 yards against Utah.
Source: Sporting News | Ken Bradley