Ducks Outlast Bears and Win 59-41

SANTA CLARA – Marcus Mariota threw five touchdown passes and Royce Freeman rushed for two more as the No. 6 Oregon Ducks (7-1, 4-1) outmatched the California Bears (4-4, 2-4), 59-41 at Levi Stadium on Friday night.

Oregon Ducks quarterback Marcus Mariota (8) throws a touchdown pass against the California Golden Bears in the second quarter at Levi's Stadium. Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

Marcus Mariota established new Oregon career mark for passing yards, eclipsing Bill Musgrave’s (1987-90) former record of 8,343 and Mariota now has 8,625 after throwing for 326 yards on 18-of-30 passing. He also recorded his first interception of the year. Mariota seemed to find receivers whenever he wanted against the Bears.

“For us it was our recevers and their route running,” said Mariota modestly. “They were able to get open and we liked our matchups outside. Guys were able to execute and play well. It was those guys getting open and I had the time to throw the ball.”

Mariota had three TD passes in the first half and then in the second half he added two more first hitting Byron Marshall along the east sideline, much the chagrin of the California faithful and the delight of the well represented Oregon fan base, as Marshall was wide open. Then in the fourth quarter Pharaoh Brown turned up wide open and Mariota found him for his fifth TD pass of the night. However it wasn’t only the passing that stole the show, it double-M’s running ability to pick up first downs.

It was pretty good,” said Oregon Head Coach of Mark Helfrich of Mariota performance. “He had some big-time runs. He did a really good job of managing contact tonight in situations where he got the first down or had a manageable second down where he got either down or out of bounds. He had a couple of mistakes, which is almost funny because you expect him to be perfect.”

For the third straight game, Royce Freeman rushed for more than 100 yards by picking up 112 yards on 22 rushes and scored two touchdowns. Mariota had 36 yards of rushing and Freeman was aided in the run game by Byron Marshall who had 57 yards on seven carries. Marshall’s runs goes along with the 133 receiving yards and a touchdown on four catches.

Dwayne Stanford was the leading receiver with six catches for 103 yards and two touchdowns. Devon Allen had four grabs for 47 yards and Brown once again demonstrated his value on the field with two catches for 30 yards, one being a 21 yard TD.

The Ducks were without Thomas Tyner, Arik Armstead and Matt Wogan. Helfrich said after the game that while Oregon has a policy of non-disclosure for reasons players are unavailable to play, he did say it was not for disciplinary reasons that the three stayed home.

Taking Wogan’s place in place kicking duties was Aidan Schneider who was successful on his one field goal attempt of 23 yards.

Defensively, Oregon was led in tackling by Erick Dargan with 11 tackles (six solos) and a pass break up. Troy Hill had nine tackles (six solos), a forced fumble and four hurries. Joe Walker had a tackle for loss as did Danny Mattingly and Christian French, both were for sacks. Torrodney Prevot also had a sack and a forced fumble.

While some may question the Oregon defense giving up 41 points to California, Mark Helfrich defended his team when asked if he believes in the adage that defense wins championships.

“I believe in the adage that teams win championships,” responded Helfrich.”There are a bunch of guys in that locker room that are disappointed that the margin wasn’t different and their role in that deal.

Helfrich went on to compliment California calling the Bears a good football team with “really good” talent and compliment his team getting a win on the road at a neutral site in a short week of preparation.

Next up for Oregon is a game that many have circles since last year – the Stanford Cardinal, a week from Saturday at Autzen Stadium with kickoff scheduled for 4:30 p.m. (Pacific)

. Notes

•Mariota passed for a touchdown for the 33rd straight game - every game of his career. His streak is second among current players behind Marshall’s Rakeem Cato (39), who set the NCAA record in the Thundering Herd’s win over Florida International last Saturday.
•Mariota has passed for multiple TDs in eight straight games - the longest active streak in the FBS.
•Mariota’s streak of passing attempts without an interception ended at 253 after his first pick of the season. It ranks as the second-longest streak in Pac-12 history behind his previous best of 353.
•Mariota moved into third on the Pac-12 career list for touchdown passes with 87.
•Dwayne Stanford had career-highs of six receptions, 103 yards and two touchdowns.
•Devon Allen returned to the role of kick returner withThomas Tyner out of the lineup and ripped off a career-long 45-yarder.
Charles Nelson had his second touchdown on a punt return this season, scoring from 58 yards out.
•Royce Freeman set the UO mark for rushing yards by a true freshman and now has 748 for the season. Freeman rushed for more than 100 yards for a third straight game, finishing with 112 on 22 carries with two touchdowns. His 13 rushing TDs on the season are tied for the eighth-most by a UO player in a single season and one off the freshman record of 14 set by LaMichael James in 2009.
•Freeman has rushed for multiple touchdowns in 5 of 8 games this season.
•Byron Marshall hauled in a career-long 54-yd TD reception. He became the sixth different Oregon receiver with a catch of 50 or more yards this season.
•Troy Hill has a career-high four pass breakups to go with a forced fumble. His 12 breakups on the season are tied for the Pac-12 lead.
•Mariota has now totaled 30 touchdowns on the season (24 passing, 5 rushing, 1 receiving), which leads the FBS.
•Oregon was without a key player from each unit with RB/RET Thomas Tyner, DE Arik Armstead and K Matt Wogan out of action. Starting WR Keanon Lowe was also out of the lineup for the second straight game.
•The Ducks ran their winning streak against Cal to six straight games.
•Mariota has 11 passing TDs in two career road games against the Golden Bears.

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