MARCUS MARIOTA IS A GOD, and other end-of-the-year musings.

Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

A Tako Tuesdays season-in-review.

If a 11-2 season and a bowl win over a major program seems like something of a disappointment, then your team is in a good place. It wasn't a national championship, or even a BCS bowl win, but a dominant win over a major program like Texas is an important finish to a season that sustains Oregon as college football's elite. This season wasn't a step forward for Oregon's quest for world domination, but it wasn't a step back. My thoughts on this season:

  • Marcus Mariota is just the greatest. He spent two months lighting the world on fire, gritted his way through November on a bum knee, and then showed the nation what they can look forward to in 2014 by torching the Texas defense in the Alamo Bowl. 253 yards passing, 133 yards rushing, and a reminder to Duck fans that he's still the man. Even with the final four games of bulky knee braces and moxie, he still threw for 3400 yards, and ran for almost 600 more. His career numbers through two seasons: 62 touchdowns, 10 interceptions; over 7 yards per carry and 14 rushing touchdowns; and just a shade over 6000 yards passing. And he's coming back next season (I hope I think dear God Marcus please come back next season).
  • If Marcus Mariota wasn't he greatest, Josh Huff would be the greatest. He's a warrior who struggled and battled through years of injuries to put together one of the greatest seasons an Oregon wide receiver has ever had. No player in the history of Oregon has ever caught 1,140 yards of passes, until Josh Huff took charge of a receiving corps without an identity and gave the Ducks offense the go-to receiver they sorely needed with six 100-yard receiving games. His last two games in an Oregon uniform? 14 catches, 290 yards, 4 touchdowns. Dude can ball, and an NFL team will figure that out sooner rather than later.
  • The defense - for all their shortcomings (80th in the country in 3rd down percentage, 9,000 yards and 1 gajillion points vs. Arizona), they kicked some ass this year. 11th in the country in yards per play despite facing the second-most plays in FBS; 16 or fewer points allowed in eight different games; opposing quarterbacks averaged under 6 yards per pass attempt; and the D twirled a masterpiece in Nick Aliotti's finale, taking two interceptions back for touchdowns and completely neutralizing every Longhorn, save for two or so quarters of Malcolm Brown. This was a very good defense. Now if Ifo and Terrance come back, it'll be a very good defense in 2014.
  • Marcus Mariota is brilliant.
  • I don't know what to make of De'Anthony Thomas. He looked great to start the season, got hurt against Cal, missed some time, and wasn't the same player when he came back. Was the ankle injury one of those sprains that just wouldn't go away? Did he make up his mind about the NFL and check out? Did he lose his identity in the offense after Byron Marshall, Thomas Tyner, and Bralon Addison emerged? Or is it something else entirely? In any event, he seemed not to fit in Oregon's offense this season. Should he decide to enter the NFL Draft, it will be an unceremonious end to the most electrifying player to don an Oregon uniform.
  • Get better, Tyler Johnstone, for you are a monster and we all need you.
  • Byron Marshall and Thomas Tyner: the lack of a feature back going into 2013 scared the hell out of all of us. De'Anthony Thomas spraining his ankle sent us into a panic. But the two of you put us at ease with a hyper-efficient season. Combining for over 1700 yards and 23 touchdowns, Marshall and Tyner weren't the flashiest of backs, but the season would have been an abject disaster without them. And they'll both be back in 2014.
  • Marcus Mariota. Can't be overstated.
  • Thank you, Nick Aliotti. Just, thank you. Also, thank you Taylor Hart, Boseko Lokombo, Mana Greig, and Avery Patterson. Great Ducks, all of them.
  • I believe in the new guys, like Matt Wogan, Johnny Mundt, and Torrodney Prevot, and the guys that have stepped up this year to continue the excellence, like Derrick Malone and Tony Washington. The program is in good hands.
  • Lastly, Marcus Mariota. You can doubt the kid all you want, but you can do it somewhere else, when people with wrong opinions hang out. Because Mariota is gold.
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