Originally written on The Duck Stops Here  |  Last updated 11/6/14

Upon further review, and no matter how you pronounce it, Marcus Mariota was dazzling and almost flawless in his debut as the Oregon quarterback.

He completed 18-22 passes for 200 yards and 3 touchdowns, and three of the four incompletions were drops.

In Mariota, Chip Kelly has a new kind of weapon. For the first time as head coach he has a passer who can run, rather than a game manager (Darron Thomas) or a runner who could throw a little (Jeremiah Masoli). Mariota, already nicknamed "Super Mario" by some and "8MM" by others, is faster than either of them and a better thrower than anyone the Ducks have had in a long, long time.

photo right: Marcus Mariota might be the youngest quarterback in Oregon history, but he had the best debut in an Oregon uniform since Amanda Pflugrad (bleacherreport.com photo).

Because he throws with great touch, matching the velocity to the type of throw required, he sets up his receivers well. Passes are in stride, on time. It makes them easier to handle and gives receivers an opportunity to adjust to the ball, make the catch and run with the football. Because he possesses great vision, recognition, study habits and intelligence, he'll excel at finding the open man and getting the ball out quickly.

As Mariota becomes even more comfortable and in command operating the offense, fans will see a new evolution in the Oregon spread. Oregon doesn't enjoy a power back with LaMichael James' tenacity running inside, although Barner and Thomas will both be far more effective between the tackles than opponents expect. But Mariota's ability to spread the defense and exploit openings with his arm take a lot of pressure off the running game. He can get the ball to playmakers with a variety of safe, simple throws, and already he's shown the courage and confidence to zip the ball into a tight window when required. Defenses, already overmatched by the pace and relentless execution of the Ducks up-tempo attack, now have the added pressure of defending the whole field at once. In high school, the Hawaiian phenom showed he could throw the football 65 to 70 yards in the air, and 45-50 on the run, with trajectory and accuracy. 

Pretty exciting stuff. 14-0, 4000 yards and 40 touchdowns, though not expected, are not out of reach. 

Of course the next step is to deliver another consistent and focused performance against Fresno State. Cool, poised and precise, it's very likely the Ducks emerging leader will do exactly that.


Aaron Rodgers buys TVs for Packers teammates

Harbaugh smiled when asked about Michigan's bday tweet

Jackie Robinson West Little League accused of cheating

Police: Fire that burned down McClain's home 'suspicious'

Furniture store will refund purchases if OSU wins title

What each NFC team in the hunt should ask for from Santa


Is SI ashamed to mention Jameis Winston on its cover?

Kobe Bryant disappointed Lakers didn't get Rajon Rondo

Niners OT Anthony Davis takes shot at offensive coordinator

Report: Josh Smith expected to sign with Rockets

Cullen Jenkins unhappy over his roughing the passer fine

Bochy: Peavy trade was best in-season move of 2014

WATCH: Blazers announcer botches Damian Lillard call

WATCH: P.K. Subban disguises himself, surprises kids for Xmas

Baseball cards: a fan's love for the ultimate stocking stuffer

Packers game is a career defining moment for Stafford

A look inside Jason Grilli's contract with the Braves

10 Week 17 NFL matchups that will impact the playoffs

WATCH: Bahamas Bowl ends on insane Hail Mary play

Mike Yeo slams Wild for not having 'winner's attitude'

Michigan St. QB, Ohio State TE have awkward Twitter exchange

Will FIFA ever care to change?

Top storyline for each NFL Week 17 game

The 40 greatest Christmas-related names in sports

College Football News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.

WATCH: Announcer botches call

Police: McClain fire 'suspicious'

10 Week 17 NFL matchups that will impact the playoffs

Bahamas Bowl ends on crazy Hail Mary

49ers OT Davis takes shot at coordinator

Will FIFA ever care to change?

Top storyline for each Week 17 game

40 great Christmas-related sports names

Nick Mangold and dealing with feelings as a sports fan

Ibaka, Aldridge ejected for scuffle

Baseball cards: a fan's love for the ultimate stocking stuffer

Nick Young on Kobe-less win: He needs to pass

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.