We've looked at 35 of Marcus Mariota's games and found over 100 highlights. Today's the finale before the Hesiman ceremony we've awaited 3 years for.
Go get 'em, Marcus.
Utah 2014 - run, Marcus, run
I wanted to start with this one because of what it represents - this game was Mariota running the ball like crazy. He had 18 rushes on the day - one was a 61 yarder, so the rest were fairly short - and he was just doing this all day. If you watched one game of Oregon's and it was this one you'd think that this was all Mariota could do - run the ball all the time, occasionally throw.
Way to get the first down here.
Earlier in the game we get Mariota's patented jump pass on the run with an absolute dart to Byron Marshall. Not sure what else to say about this - it's nothing we've not seen before, but man is it special.
I love this one because it shows so clearly the eye discipline needed to hold the safety (#13, left of the referee) in the spot he needs. If Mariota looks even slightly to his right, the play is done. There's a window about 2 players wide that the ball needs to get through, and that window exists solely because Marcus Mariota is holding that safety with his gaze. The normal angle of this play doesn't do this view justice; it just looks like Mariota hitting Dwayne Stanford with a decent pass as he gets past his guys. Not even close to as true. This is a good reason why I like football so much - the complexities are so hidden most of the time, but they're very much there. It's as deep a game as you choose to delve into it.
Another great pass, this time to Keanon Lowe, on a designed roll out with multiple options. Utah defends it well, but Lowe sneaks out and gets open for just enough time.
Colorado 2014 - goodbye, Marcus
We've seen this play from Mariota at least 3 other times, but it never stops being beautiful. Mariota waits on the mesh a fraction of a second, makes the perfect read and is gone as soon as he hits 2 yards past the line of scrimmage.
This is an interesting new wrinkle we've not seen so much. The entire line and play acts like a sweep with a pulling center and Mariota is reading (I believe) the safety. Because the line isn't pulling downfield or blocking downfield there's no chance of an illegal lineman down field. If the safety stays with Nelson they're out of the play and the sweep has an additional cutback lane. What a cool play, and a great read by Mariota.
Not exactly a highlight for Mariota - the pass isn't that great and he doesn't put a lot of air under it. But it's a cool as hell catch, and I had to include it here.
Evan Baylis, good to see you. This is actually a similar cross play to what we saw Josh Huff catch again and again in the prior year; Mariota is locking in on Baylis the entire time. When the safety covering him falls down, Mariota just decides to throw it to him anyway. Might as well. Notice #44 having to stay over again and the receiver behind him crossing past; that would be the window Mariota could throw through - if he didn't have something easier.
It's just the last play of Marcus Mariota's career in Autzen. No big.
Civil War 2014
This is another easy throw that is that way because of eye discipline. Mariota is looking in the middle most of the time and then hits Charles Nelson when the cornerback peeks in the backfield. By that time, Nelson is gone. Looks so easy, right?
Of course we have to include his run that actually has Mariota doing the Heisman pose.
It's a great, great throw with classic Mariota efficiency of movement in the pocket combined with arm strength and good poise, and then Byron Marshall shows why he's amazing. Man, what a half this was.
What I love about this run is that he gives the safety this tiny little juke that freezes him in place and gives him a hole. It's another tiny little move, nothing big or dramatic, but it's enough to get him the TD.
This one I just love the special angle on it. And look at that blocking!
This was all set up presnap; Mariota knows that as long as Nelson gets past the corner on the side the safety won't be in any position to defend the corner route. The rest is making sure that the pass is on time and on target, and it's an easy TD.
PAC-12 Championship game - revenge is sweet
That escapability is crazy. And the arm strength. Poor mechanics that might cost him if he does this in the pros or against a good defense, but he has the power to throw 20 yards down field while going backwards and rolling out. Nice.
With so much else barely working, it was great to see Mariota simply take control here. This was a designed OZR run from the get go, but Mariota getting a break and getting to the corner was special.
So special, let's just see it again! Here it's a pass but since Scooby Wright falls on his keister, well, Mariota just makes the simple decision to take the corner again.
Another similar play to Michigan State. Mariota sees the blitz, knows that Charles Nelson will be one on one and throws a perfect pass. The rest is just #6 magic.
Nope, nope nope nope, nope. Bang. He rarely has enough time this season to do this kind of surveying of the field, but when he does it's deadly.
Darren Carrington, thank you for this. You'll be remembered as the receiver that caught the pass that guaranteed Mariota wins the Heisman.
And with this, Mariota breaks his own record for rushing TDs in a game.
Thank you, Marcus Mariota.