I did a "Best Touchdowns" post in 2010, again in 2011, somehow missed 2012, and back in 2013, and they were great. The 2014 season was the first season of the oppressive video highlight ban that prevents the likes of MadMike and keeerrrttt from doing the Lord's work. But what to my wandering eyes do appear but a video compilation of all 90 Oregon touchdowns on YouTube. I'm taking an awful risk by telling you; as of this writing, it only has a couple thousand views. We can't let the Pac-12 Network find out that this video exists. Trust no one. Spies are everywhere. Larry Scott has drones, and he is using them.
Let's get to it.
Royce Freeman to Marcus Mariota vs. Arizona - Mariota's second career receiving TD, while awesome, is cheapened by two facts: first, the near-fumble that ruins the celebration, and the final outcome of the game.
- Mariota to Byron Marshall vs. Ohio State - same reasons as above; Marshall very nearly pulls a Kaelin Clay, and Oregon lost by a gazillion. Let's just move on from this before we all get sad.
- Any wide-open passing touchdown, or walk-in zone read - these two are classic examples of the Oregon offense, and there were many examples from last season. First, the wide-open passing touchdown off play-action (like Devon Allen vs. Washington State), multiple crossing routes (like Keanon Lowe vs. Michigan State), or a pump fake (like Devon Allen vs. Michigan State). Second, any zone read inside the 10 where the ball carrier goes in untouched, like a dozen or so touchdowns last year. They're pretty, they mean the offense is working, and they aren't special enough to make the list.
#19: Joe Walker 99-yard fumble return TD vs. Utah - We begin the countdown with the first of two touchdowns scored by the Oregon defense. Kaelin Clay screwed up, no question. But Joe Walker, and recovery instigator Erick Dargan, followed the play all the way down the field, and made the play happen.
#18: Marcus Mariota to Darren Carrington vs. Arizona - It looks easy; Mariota rolls out, Carrington makes a tough catch with a defender on him for the score. But damn, that's a perfect throw and a great catch. You'll hear from both these men later; we're just getting started.
#17: Jeff Lockie to Pharaoh Brown vs. South Dakota - perfect option football from Lockie, who sells the run and leaves Brown with plenty of room. Also, Pharaoh Brown. Get better, big guy.
#16: Marcus Mariota rushing TD vs. UCLA - Mariota had at least four or five of these TDs last year on his way to the Heisman, where he simply outfasts the defense to the corner and takes it home. This one has a dive to the pylon, for style.
#15: Marcus Mariota fumble recovery and rushing TD vs. UCLA - It was just that kind of year for Oregon's first Heisman winner. Even when he mishandled the ball, it turned into a touchdown.
#14: Marcus Mariota to Darren Carrington vs. Stanford - Terrific body control on the across-the-body throw, terrific body control on the catch.
#13: Royce Freeman rushing TD vs. Michigan State - My problem with Royce Freeman is the same as my problem with Jonathan Stewart: the brilliance can't be summed up in one play. Runners like LaMichael James, Kenjon Barner, and De'Anthony Thomas can be summed up in highlights: James HERE, Barner HERE, and Thomas HERE HERE or HERE. Stewart and Freeman are workers. They can knock you out with one blow, but they'd rather hit you 30 times until you can barely stand, and then knock you out, just because they can.
#12: Charles Nelson punt return TD vs. South Dakota - We were wondering who would fill the big play void with De'Anthony Thomas graduated and Bralon Addison injured. Charles Nelson didn't wait long to let us know, housing this punt without being touched.
#11: Royce Freeman rushing TD vs. Washington - Marcus Mariota's pitch is something out of a video game, waiting almost too long to toss it out.
#10: Marcus Mariota to Darren Carrington vs. Florida State - and then...
#9: Marcus Mariota to Darren Carrington vs. Florida State - Keep watching this video until 2:05:00, when the replays kick in. Giddy, jumping Keanon Lowe is everything. We should all feel lucky if we ever feel as good as Keanon Lowe felt at that moment.
#8: Marcus Mariota to Devon Allen vs. Michigan State - We've had six passing touchdowns already on this list. None of those receivers played against Ohio State. Not that extra receivers would have helped stop Zeke Elliott, but still.
#7: Marcus Mariota to Byron Marshall vs. Oregon State - The throw is a rocket, Marshall hits the brakes, and they fly right by.
#6: Charles Nelson punt return TD vs. Cal - Usually, punt return touchdowns involve one wave of big blocks or missed tackles, and then straight line running. On this play, Nelson follows a convoy down the sideline, jukes anyone who gets through, and then turns on the jets at around the 15 and takes it home. It's the most impressive punt return TD against Cal since... 2013. Okay, but before that one you have to go back to... 2013.
We missed you, Bralon Addison.
#5: Marcus Mariota rushing TD vs. Wyoming - If I can seeeeeeee it, then I can beeeeeeeeee it. If I just belieeeeeeve it, there's nothing toooooooooo it.
#4: Tony Washington fumble recovery TD vs. Florida State - The broadcast version has been seen thousands of times by now by the members of this site, so I used SportsChat503's crowd version instead. Good to see their section of the Rose Bowl lost their minds as badly as my section did.
#3: Thomas Tyner rushing TD vs. Stanford - B button! Hit B button! It's a shame this is Tyner's only appearance on this list. He should score more touchdowns next year.
#2: Marcus Mariota to Byron Marshall vs. Washington - I'm easily seduced by plays with multiple filthy cuts that make defenders look stupid. Case in point: this play, and Josh Huff's TD against Stanford in 2011. Marshall's stop-and-go here is just unfair. Bonus points for doing it against Washington.
#1: Marcus Mariota to Dwayne Stanford vs. Washington - This is perfect football. Just perfect. We can marvel at breakaway speed, spin moves, and Jameis Winston flailing about like he's been hooked, but it doesn't get better than a perfect throw, a perfect catch, in perfect uniforms, on the perfect field.