Oregon Overcomes Cal 59-17

BERKELEY, CALIF., -- The Oregon Ducks (10-0, 7-0) took another step toward the goal of winning the Pac-12 Conference North and perhaps ultimately a return trip to the BCS Championship game by beating the California Bears (3-8, 2-6) 59-17 at Memorial Stadium in Berkeley.

(PHOTO) Oregon receiver Josh Huff hauls in a pass for a touchdown in Oregon's 59-17 win over California on Saturday night at Memorial Stadium in Berkeley, Calif. (Photo by Rich Kolbell).

Coming off a big last week over USC, the Ducks faced a challenged from a beleaguered Bears squad and had to rely and freshmen to get the job done.

Oregon red-shirt freshman quarterback Marcus Mariota proved to be the most valuable player for the Ducks by taking the game on his shoulders and throwing for 377 yards on a 27-for-34 performance, tossing six touchdowns and did not give up an interception. Mariota also rushed for 42 yards but it was on his longest run of 16 yards that caused most to take notice. After moving the ball deep into Bear territory on the run, Mariota stood up after the tackle and with his left arm dangling. Running off the field toward the medical staff, all eyes were on the Oregon sidelines wondering if the talented Mariota was badly injured. Fortunately for the Ducks' effort Mariota was able to come back on the very next series to lead a scoring drive and stayed in the game until the Oregon victory was well secured. Bryon Bennett came in relief during the time Mariota was on the medical bench and helped secure a 26-yard Alejandro Maldonado field goal. Bennett finished the game going 1-for-3, 18 yards and the final touchdown of the game on a deflected pass reception by B.J. Kelley.

DeAnthonhy Thomas led the Ducks with eight catches for 101 yards, but Josh Huff had five catches for 109 yards and three touchdowns. Tight end Colt Lyerla had three grabs for 35 yards with two of those receptions good for touchdowns. Senior Will Murphy also got into the scoring column by pulling two balls with one being a score.

Kenjon Barner, the star of last week's big win was limited due to a very stingy Cal defense but still had a respectable 65 yards on 20 carries. Byron Marshall had eight carries for 43 yards and had the only Oregon rushing touchdown of the game.

Defensively, Oregon was led by Michael Clay's 11 tackles (six solos). Safety Brian Jackson had eight tackles (six solos) and an interception, the second of his career. Taylor Hart recorded a sack early in the game and it was the only sack of the night for the Ducks. Hart left the game as did safety Avery Patterson. Oregon has a policy not to discuss or give injury updates. However, Avery was seen using crutches following the game.

For much of the game the Oregon defensive line consisted entirely of freshmen, either the true or red-shirt variety. True freshman Alex Balducci made his first career appearance as a nose tackle. Lake Koa Ka'ai moved from tight end to the defensive line to help man the gap as stalwarts such as Wade Kiliikipi, Ricky Heimuli and Isaac Remington were sidelined. Kiliikipi did not make the trip to the Bay Area and may be out for an extended period of time. Heimuli, Remington and Dion Jordan were suited up and on the sidelines but did not play.

Cal's Allan Bridgford was 9-for-21, 113 yards and one touchdown. Isi Sofele was the leading rusher for the game with 134 yards on 15 carries and one touchdown. Darius Powe Had one reception for a touchdown.

Bear's place kicker Vincenzo D'Amato was good on one of two field goal attempts.

Overall, Oregon 575 yards (180 rushing and 395 passing) while Cal had 349 yards (236 rushing and 113 passing). The Ducks were penalized 11 times for minus 105 yards compared to Cal's seven penalties at minus 89 yards. Cal had two turnovers but Oregon did not turn the ball over.

Oregon will face Stanford next Saturday at Autzen Stadium.

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