Posted November 11, 2012 on
AP on Fox
California Golden Bears
Alabama Crimson Tide
Notre Dame Fighting Irish
Kansas State Wildcats
Oregon State Beavers
In a blink of an eye, Marcus Mariota and Oregon turned a tight game into another blowout that could have the Ducks in position to move into the top spot in the country.
Mariota threw the third of his school record-tying six touchdown passes on the first play after an interception to break open what had been a close game and help Oregon make its case for the top ranking in the country by beating California 59-17 on Saturday night.
While the final score was lopsided, the game was tight until midway through the third quarter when Boseko Lokombo intercepted a screen pass from Allan Bridgford. Mariota threw a 35-yard touchdown pass to Josh Huff on the next play to give the Ducks (10-0, 7-0 Pac-12) a 31-17 lead.
''That kind of got things going again,'' Mariota said. ''It flipped the momentum. It's really a momentum game. That helped us out.''
The Ducks, No. 3 in the BCS standings, withstood injuries to its entire starting defensive line and brief absences by Mariota and star running back Kenjon Barner to extend the longest active winning streak in major college football to 13 games.
The win over California (3-8, 2-6) could be enough to move Oregon up to No. 1 after top-ranked Alabama lost earlier in the day 29-23 to No. 15 Texas A&M. Even more importantly, the Crimson Tide loss cleared one potential rival for a spot in the BCS title game, leaving Notre Dame and Kansas State as the only other major undefeated teams eligible for a bowl. The Ducks are currently third in the BCS rankings.
''That's what's so good about this team,'' Huff said. ''We don't pay attention to the rankings and what's around us. We just play Oregon football. We'll pick our heads up in December and we'll see where we're at.''
After struggling for more than a half against a Golden Bears team that was missing quarterback Zach Maynard and star receiver Keenan Allen, the Ducks will have to be more consistent the next few weeks if they want to remain unbeaten. They finish the regular season against No. 16 Stanford and No. 13 Oregon State and also could be in the Pac-12 title game.
Oregon raced past the Bears with their passing game instead of the vaunted running attack that had rushed for at least 400 yards in the previous three games. Cal held Barner to 65 yards on 20 carries -- 256 fewer yards than he had last week against USC -- and even knocked him out briefly with a hard hit that sent him to the locker room in the first half.
''They did a good job of filling the box,'' Mariota said. ''That gave us and the passing game more opportunity to do what we can do. That's the kind of thing that happens when you have such a good running back like Kenjon. Guys fill the box to stop him.''
Mariota also left the game after a hard fall late in the second quarter but returned the following series. He then helped the Ducks break the game open in the second half with four TD passes, including two to Huff.
Mariota completed 27-of-34 passes for a career-high 377 yards and tied the school TD record last achieved by Darron Thomas last year against Nevada. Huff finished with five catches for 109 yards and three scores as the Ducks set a major college football record by scoring at least 40 points for a 13th straight game.
''You have to pick your poison really with them,'' Cal coach Jeff Tedford said. ''If you're going to get up in there and try to stop the run, then the play-action, you're covering really fast guys running down the field.''
The biggest moment came midway through the third quarter after the Bears cut Oregon's lead to 24-17 and got a stop on defense to fire up a crowd that has had little to cheer about this season.
Isi Sofele, who rushed for 134 yards, had been gashing Oregon's defense in the second half and started this drive with a 14-yard run. But Cal went away from him and Bridgford threw the interception under heavy pressure from Arik Armstead that turned the tides as Oregon scored the final 35 points.
''From then on it just stockpiled,'' safety Brian Jackson said. ''It was very important to that game.''
That ended the Bears chances in the final home game of the season and perhaps final home game for Tedford at Cal. There have been questions raised about Tedford's status after missing a bowl for the second time in three years. The Bears have lost four straight for the first time ever under Tedford.
Bridgford finished 9 for 21 for 113 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions.
''We felt like at halftime we were going to win the game,'' Bridgford said. ''The second half they pulled away a little bit, but we had our chances. We beat ourselves.''
Mariota left the game holding his left arm in the second quarter but returned after Vincenzo D'Amato missed a 48-yard field goal late in the half for Cal. Mariota drove the Ducks 69 yards, capped by a 10-yard pass to Huff that made it 24-10 at the half.
BEST OF MAXIM
AROUND THE WEB
The Alabama Crimson Tide and the Louisville Cardinals saw their perfect seasons come to an end in week 11 (Photos: Getty)
Tailgater Top 25 Rankings, Week 11
From six to four. Alabama’s defeat at the hands of Texas A&M was the most resounding loss of the weekend, but Louisville also tumbled from the ranks of the unbeaten. Now Kansas State, Oregon, Notre Dame, and Ohio...
The Oregon Ducks are 9-0 this season, ranked No. 2, and looking for a second BCS title game berth in three years. The man leading the team is head coach Chip Kelly, who maybe looking for a new challenge in the NFL. Former Oregon coach Mike Bellotti told CBSSports.com that he believes Kelly will soon be leaving for the NFL. “It's just inevitable that he will eventually be...
Ducks vs Bears Love ‘em Hate ‘em Style
This was not the prettiest game to watch if you are an Oregon Ducks fan; well, at least in the first half.
Heading into California the Ducks knew they would be hitting the road with a depleted roster, especially on the defensive side of the ball. With players like Dion Jordan and Ricky Heimuli sidelined with injuries, the Ducks struggled...
According to Dennis Dodd of CBS Sports, former Oregon coach Mike Bellotti says that it’s “inevitable” that current Ducks head coach Chip Kelly will one day leave to coach in the NFL.
“There are nine chances in 10 if he wins out [this season] he’s gone,” said another source who did not want to be identified.
Kelly showed interest in coaching the Buccaneers last offseason...
Oregon star running back Kenjon Barner was taken to the locker room briefly after apparently injuring his right hand against California on Saturday night.
Barner left the game for the second-ranked Ducks late in the first quarter holding his hand and grimacing on the sideline before being taken to the locker room. He came back to the field before the next series and got on the field...
Projections for rankings beginning week 12:Projected BCS Top Five Kansas State Oregon Notre Dame Georgia Texas A&M* *On the BCS and Coaches Poll top five bubble: Texas A&M, Alabama, Florida, and LSU. Projected USA Today Coaches Poll Top Four Oregon Kansas State Notre Dame Georgia Projected AP Top Five Oregon Kansas State Notre Dame Georgia Ohio State ...
Freshman defensive lineman DeForest Buckner discusses his first career start as Oregon defeats Cal, 59-17. Buckner was credited with three solo tackles and an assist.
The No. 3 ranked Oregon Ducks (10-0, 7-0) emerged victorious with a 59-17 win at Cal on Saturday. Here are some takeaways from the game.
Tallahassee Godby athlete Jaylin Hayward loves the Oregon Ducks. He's a 2015 prospect that plays cornerback and wide receiver.
Tony Woods scored 14 points, including an emphatic two-handed dunk late in the game to put Oregon up for good in an 83-73 victory against Northern Arizona on Saturday night in the season opener for both teams.
Damyean Dotson also scored 13 points for the Ducks, E.J. Singler added 12 points and eight rebounds, and Dominic Artis had 10 in the season-opener for Oregon, which sealed...
With the Alabama Crimson Tide losing, they predictably fell out of the #1 slot in the BCS. Kansas State is the new #1 and the Oregon Ducks are the new #2. Bama is now #4 behind Notre Dame
• Schools debuting in 2012 BCS Standings: No. 25 Washington.
• Dropped out of BCS Standings: No. 21 Mississippi State, No. 24 Northwestern; No. 25 Toledo.
• Kansas State makes its first-ever...
The California Golden Bears hung in there against the powerful Oregon Ducks offense for two and a half quarters. Underdogs were playing inspired football across the country on Saturday, especially #15 Texas A&M who handed the #1 Alabama Crimson Tide their first loss of the year, 29-24.In fact, the Bears stayed in the game until a key third down and nine with 6:20 to go in the...
Trap Game? Not so much.
Week 11’s contest against the California Golden Bears has been looked at as a trap game all season long for the Oregon Ducks. Coming off a big win against the USC Trojans, the fear was that the Ducks would be looking ahead to tougher competition, and that they just might struggle in a place that has historically not been kind to them over the past few seasons...