When the Ducks and Huskies faced off the stakes couldn't have been any higher. For Oregon, the decade of dominance hung in the balance as well as a 17 game road winning streak. The Huskies were looking tough, having just coming off a dismantling of Arizona and a tight contest with Stanford. Ranked in the top 20, Washington had one of the more potent offensive tag teams in the conference in Keith Price and Bishop Sankey.
This was reported to be the best Washington team the Ducks had had to face in the last 10 years. They had a renovated stadium, a talented duo in the back field and a hot commodity at coach. Game day was in town. In short, this was a massive meeting between the I-5 rivals. UW would have loved to been spoiler to the Ducks aspirations but Marcus Mariota stepped up and made the play that sucked all the air out of the defense.
For nearly three quarters, the Huskies stayed within striking distance, keeping the Husky Stadium faithful in the game as Oregon misfired on offense early. As mentioned, Washington simply refused to go away in this game. When Bishop Sankey punched it in from 25 yards out, the Huskies were only down 7 with all sorts of momentum on their side. That's when Marcus Mariota took UW's heart.
Moment starts at 10:30
Facing a 1st and 15 and a hostile crowd with the clock winding down in the third, Marcus Mariota dropped back to pass. Seeing nothing, he took off around the right side and took off up field.
Normally, this is where you see a quarter back slide and get down, having earned a first down for his team. Instead of doing that, Marcus cut towards the far sideline, exploiting poor tackling angles from the Huskies and sprinted up the sideline getting to the Husky 35 to end the quarter.
A deep pass to Bralon Addison and a 5 yard run to the outside by Mariota put the Ducks back up by two scores and took Washington out of the game.
Why It Matters
It wasn't so much that Marcus had a good run against a heated rival. It was what the moment meant in the grand scheme of the game. Washington had just scored and Oregon was going backwards. This run recaptured the momentum for Oregon and Washington never recovered.
What was so exceptional about this play is that even though Washington was hanging around with Oregon and they had belief that they could be the squad to topple the streak; Mariota showed them that the talent disparity still exists between Oregon and Washington. He was simply faster and smarter than practically the entire Husky defense and if Washington didn't believe it before then, they did when the third quarter ended.