Tako Tuesdays: The Best Touchdowns of 2013

Otto Greule Jr

Points, so many points, evewhere points.

Oregon scored 81 touchdowns in 2013. Many of them were short-yardage scores that made me chuckle, but were otherwise ordinary. Others were wide-open affairs, made possible by scheme, playcalling, and the opposing defense's utter confusion about everyone and everything. Some had brief "wow" moments, but ultimately just didn't have the staying power to make the list. But I've weeded all of those out, and put together a list of the top 20(ish) touchdowns of the year. As per usual, major credit for a post like this goes to madmike1951 on YouTube, who is a national treasure and deserves to be showered with all praise and gifts you have available. Without his cache of Oregon videos, this post would be a 1700 word Chris Farley Show. "Remember...remember that time....when De'Anthony Thomas scored that touchdown? That was awesome." TO THE LIST!

***

#20: Marcus Mariota 57 yard keeper vs. Washington State

The cut he makes at midfield to spring himself for the score is not a cut a quarterback is supposed to make, nor is it a cut a 6'4" person is supposed to make. But no, he's not a Heisman finalist.

#19: Marcus Mariota to Bralon Addison vs. Nicholls State

This one ends up at #19 because Addison is shaking the jockstrap off a Nicholls State defender, and not somebody from Stanford, Texas, or UCLA. But I've got the feeling he scores that touchdown on just about anybody in college football.

#18a: Marcus Mariota to Josh Huff vs. Cal
#18b: Marcus Mariota to Daryle Hawkins vs. Cal

This is a clinic in wide receiver blocking. First, Keanon Lowe is immaculate and fifteen yards better than you. Then, Josh Huff takes away a defender's legs, sees Bralon Addison has his man locked the hell up, and starts celebrating when Hawkins is at the 12 because he knows that's all that was required. I'm willing to bet Huff has just as much fun throwing blocks that lead to touchdowns as he does scoring them himself.

#17: De'Anthony Thomas 40 yard run vs. Virginia

Like #18b, my favorite part of this play is Josh Huff signaling touchdown, this time when DAT is at the 20 yard line with three guys still to get by. Because of course that's a touchdown, because De'Anthony Thomas is an unfathomable being. This is one of many instances where opposing defenses knew he was fast, but couldn't possibly comprehend how fast. They're taking angles to the ball carrier reserved for fast people. But that isn't fast enough. Also, Jake Fisher's lead block is gorgeous and unfair.

#16: Marcus Mariota to Josh Huff vs. Colorado

I like to think Josh Huff put handles on his jersey for this game, because he didn't want to make it too easy on himself. That's a strong man touchdown, and sums up what Josh Huff is about.

#15: Marcus Mariota to Pharaoh Brown vs. Stanford

The offensive line steps up on a do-or-die play and gives Mariota time, a smart adjustment from Brown gives Mariota the window, and he threads the needle to put Oregon one score away from a miracle comeback.

#14: Byron Marshall 49 yard run vs. Nicholls State

Marshall's 1,038 yard season was quite different from the 1,000 yard seasons we've gotten used to. Marshall is a worker, a chewer of yards, a grinder. Five of his fourteen touchdowns on the year came from inside 5 yards, and eight more came in that 10-25 yards range, where it's two pulling linemen + a block from a wideout + one cut = points. This was Marshall's longest touchdown run of the year, his first touchdown run of the year, and should have served as his "everyone chill out, I got this" moment, though it took us paranoid and nitpicky jerkoffs another six weeks to get the hint. Man, that's a real efficient stiff arm.

#13a: Terrance Mitchell pick-six vs. Washington State
#13b: Derrick Malone pick-six vs. Texas
#13c: Avery Patterson pick-six vs. Texas

From an individual skill standpoint, the best of the bunch is Mitchell dancing his way around a slew of Cougars before bursting out the other side. The most important score was Patterson's, giving the Ducks an Alamo Bowl lead they would not relinquish. And Malone's pick split the difference: the LB showed both speed and strength on the way to the endzone, sealed up the bowl win, and was also the final touchdown of the 2013 season. These three deserve each other.

#12: Thomas Tyner 66 yard run vs. Washington State

Thomas Tyner had high expectations and seemingly endless potential when he arrived in Eugene. We saw a glimmer of that potential in his TD run against Virginia. But it's this run, where he Kool-Aid Man's a group of four Cougar defenders and turns on the jets, that showed Duck fans how special he is, and how good he can be.

#11: De'Anthony Thomas kick return vs. Utah

You thought he was back. I thought he was back. Everybody thought he was back. Turns out, the hyper-dangerous De'Anthony Thomas never materialized after this return, But as far as final highlights go, you could do worse than this one. The three strides he takes from the 30 to the 45 yard line where he just out-speeds everyone is what I'll remember the Black Momba for; fast that you've seen a dozen times before, and is still surprising.

#10: Rodney Hardrick scoop-and-score vs. Stanford

Oregon had no business being in this game at the end. They got smashed into a locker wedgied for three quarters by the big Stanford bullies, but when DeForest Buckner stuck up his big paw, and Hardrick happened to be in the right place at the right time, it started a stretch of mayhem that left Oregon a drive short of stealing one from the eventual Pac-12 champs.

#9: De'Anthony Thomas 22 yard run vs. Nicholls State

You know in Looney Tunes, when Tom is chasing Jerry, and Jerry hides in a suit of armor or a Thanksgiving turkey, and Tom runs right by him only to figure it out as he goes, and then he turns around by taking approximately 35 steps in place to build back all his momentum? Or, for the more modern crowd, you know how in Sonic the Hedgehog you could take a stationary Sonic, hold him spinning for a second, and then just shoot off really fast? That's De'Anthony Thomas tiptoeing the sideline on this play. He might have the best body control in the universe.

#8: Marcus Mariota to Bralon Addison vs. Washington

Nevermind, Bralon Addison has the best body control in the universe. Not only does he get both feet in bounds, but he holds himself there for a split second, as if saying to the ref and the Huskies, "Take a picture trick, I'm in the endzone bitch, we drinkin' Santana champ cuz it's so crisp."

#7a: Marcus Mariota to Josh Huff vs. Washington
#7b: Marcus Mariota to Bralon Addison vs. Colorado

The throw to Addison is the more impressive throw, all the way to the sideline without a crowhop. The throw to Huff was perfectly in stride, was a little tougher of a catch, and I'm a sucker for flips into the endzone. I can't decide, so I'll cheat and put them both at #7.

#6: Marcus Mariota to Johnny Mundt vs. Tennessee

The head fake Mariota lays on an unsuspecting LaDarrell McNeil to avoid the sack the extend the play is just silly. If I tried that, both my legs would fall off. Mariota does it, then throws an across-his-body strike to a true freshman making his first career start, who promptly rumbles into the endzone. All-yellow silliness.

#5: Bralon Addison 75 yard punt return vs. Cal

A few things make this play happen. First, Ayele Forde and Troy Hill taking out three guys and giving Addison the corner. Second, there are few people in the world who can make the cut Addison makes at the 35 yard line without falling over. And third, Keanon Lowe making a key block, then sprinting alongside Addison to make another one 40 yards later.

#4: Marcus Mariota to Josh Huff vs. Oregon State

Is this the best individual throw of Mariota's career? He throws it from the far hash, on the 18 yard line, and just about cracks the pylon on the near side goal line. We can form a right triangle with the hash, the goal line, and Mariota's throw. Crank that Pythagorean theorem, and we get just under a 39 yard throw, into maaaaaaybe a twelve-inch window, on 4th and 11 in the 4th quarter of a rivalry game. Still, this guy wasn't a Heisman finalist. Psssh.

#3: Marcus Mariota 71 yard run vs. Virginia

Oregon fans knew Mariota had gotten faster prior to the 2013 season. But this run announced that fact to the world, a lightning bolt of a QB draw that surprised everyone, including and especially the Virginia defense. Watch that play again, and watch Virginia S Anthony Harris, maybe the best defender the Cavaliers had. Watch his angle towards Mariota. That's not the speed he was expecting. Whoosh. Extra props to Daryle Hawkins on that play for selling his route and taking two guys out of the play without throwing a block.

#2: Marcus Mariota to Josh Huff vs. Oregon State

A game-winning touchdown against the rival Beavers would be near the top of this list if it were the ugliest one-yard TD run in history. But this was a laser-beam throw by Mariota, and a sublime catch by Huff. Both players were already in Oregon lore, but this play cemented them there. This was the signature play of 2013, featuring the signature players of 2013. It seems near impossible to beat. However...

#1: Bralon Addison 67 yard punt return vs. Cal

The Huff catch to win the Civil War may have had the bigger impact on the game, and was the defining moment of the season for Oregon. But this play is wow. The wet conditions, the improvisation, the pair of filthy shoulder fakes Addison throws near midfield, and the block by Erick Dargan to finish off the score. We watch Oregon football to see plays like this, plays we've never seen from an Oregon player. This was one of those, and that's why it's atop the list.

***

In case you want to take a trip down memory lane, you can check out the 2010, and 2011 versions. The SBN search function is trying to tell me I didn't do one of these last year. I think it's a liar, but I'm also wrong lots of the time. Speaking of me being wrong, let me know in the comments if you agree of disagree with my rankings!

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