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Stanford faces difficult dual threat in Mariota
(11 07) 10:53 PST Since the 2004 USC game, when both Matt Leinart and Reggie Bush put on a show in a 31 28 win at Stanford Stadium, Cardinal fans have seen many great opposing players on the Farm: Matt Barkley and Marqise Lee of USC, Brady Quinn and Manti Te'o of Notre Dame, LaMichael James and Dennis Dixon of Oregon, to name a few.
Fans haven't seen anybody on the other side who can match the star power that will be on display Thursday night when the No. 6 Cardinal host the No. 2 Ducks.
Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota is, by most accounts, the front runner for the Heisman Trophy. In 225 pass attempts this year, the 6 foot 4, 215 pound redshirt sophomore from Hawaii has thrown 20 touchdown passes and not a single interception. Tarpley.
Not to mention that when Mariota gets loose in the open field, he looks like Usain Bolt in pads.
Stanford did a sensational job of containing Mariota and his mates in last year's game, a 17 14 overtime upset of the top ranked Ducks in Eugene. Mariota broke loose for a 77 yard run but otherwise had just 12 yards in 11 carries. He completed 21 of 37 passes for 207 yards and one touchdown far below his usual numbers.
"I thought last year he was the best quarterback in the nation," Stanford head coach David Shaw said. "I feel the same this year."
Of the quarterbacks Stanford has seen the last couple of years, including such exemplary athletes as Brett Hundley of UCLA and Keith Price of Washington, "he's the most athletic," safety Ed Reynolds said. "He has the quickest burst if he has any type of open field."
Shaw says the closest player to Mariota that he has seen in recent years is Colin Kaepernick of the 49ers: "so big, so fast, so athletic, so in command."
Unlike coach outlet for men Kaepernick, who was drafted in the second round, Mariota is certain to be one of the top picks in the NFL draft if he chooses to leave school after this season.
According to Shaw, Mariota is a more mature version of the player who tore up the Pac 12 last season with 32 TD passes, a conference record for a freshman.
"He has such a calm about him," Shaw said. "Even when he's getting pressured, he can slide and wait and wait and throw it. Or when a guy's about to tackle him, he just takes off and leaves him."
Mariota's mother, Alana, told USA Today that he inherited that coolness under pressure from his father, Toa, an investigator with the Department of Homeland Security.
"We've always called Marcus an old soul," she said. "He's always had this plan of outlet coach where he wanted to go and what he wanted to do."
It sounds strange now, coach outlet online store sale but Mariota didn't start for St. Louis School in Honolulu until his senior year. He was stuck behind Jeremy Higgins, who is on the University of Hawaii's roster. Mariota already had accepted a scholarship to Oregon by the time he became the starter, choosing the Ducks bags from coach outlet over Washington and Memphis.
He redshirted in 2011 but the word was spreading quickly about the freshman who was repeatedly piercing the Ducks' defense in practice. In 2012, he became the first freshman quarterback to make the All Pac 12 first team since coach factory outlet atlantic city Todd Marinovich in 1989.
Over the summer, Mariota added 12 pounds of muscle. His arm is stronger, and the Ducks look more dangerous than ever. They are averaging 56 points and 632 yards a game.
Interestingly, after Mariota committed to Oregon, Johnny Manziel who also was headed to Eugene changed his mind and switched to Texas A to be closer to home.
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