Posted September 03, 2012 on
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Arkansas State Red Wolves
Fresno State Bulldogs
Tennessee Tech Golden Eagles
Washington State Cougars
With fifth-ranked Oregon heavily favored in its nonconference schedule, Ducks coach Chip Kelly must strike a balance between playing his starters and giving his backups valuable live-game experience.
In the opener against Arkansas State, most of the Ducks' first team was watching from the sidelines by halftime after Oregon built a 50-10 lead. The reserves showed they could use some work when the Red Wolves found some soft spots to close the final margin to 57-34 on Saturday night.
''It's that fine line of making sure we're getting better and starting to grow,'' Kelly said. ''And you don't want to get guys hurt.''
Oregon hosts Fresno State on Saturday and Tennessee Tech on Sept. 15 before kicking off the Pac-12 schedule against Arizona at Autzen Stadium on Sept. 22. The Ducks don't play their first game on the road until Sept. 29 at Washington State.
Redshirt freshman Marcus Mariota worked less than a half against Arkansas State, but threw for 200 yards and three touchdowns. It was his college debut after playing on the practice squad last season.
Versatile sophomore De'Anthony Thomas had 125 all-purpose yards, catching two touchdowns and rushing for one. Senior Kenjon Barner, taking over this season for departed running back LaMichael James, ran for 66 yards and two scores.
Bryan Bennett, who appeared to be on track to be the Ducks' starting quarterback after backing up Darron Thomas last season, lost the job to Mariota in camp. Against the Red Wolves he relieved Mariota, completing 10 of 17 passes for 108 yards and touchdown and an interception.
Arkansas State outscored the Ducks 24-7 in the second half. And Red Wolves senior quarterback Ryan Aplin finished with 304 yards passing and three touchdowns against the Ducks.
Barner said he didn't hold the Ducks' reserves at fault. Rather, the whole team needs to be more consistent, he said.
''Depth has always been a question from the media's standpoint about us. But we always laugh at that because we know our depth, we know what we have and we see it during practice. Depth is not an issue for us.''
Certainly, if there were any questions about Mariota's ability to lead the Ducks, they were dispelled.
The young quarterback from Hawaii completed 18 of 22 passes and was intercepted once. He led the Ducks to touchdowns on their first seven drives before he left with 7:06 left before halftime.
''He's just a great player,'' De'Anthony Thomas said. ''He's a smart quarterback and he makes good decisions.''
Mariota was the first freshman to start at quarterback for Oregon since Danny O'Neil in 1991.
Darron Thomas passed for 2,761 yards and a school-record 33 touchdowns last season when the Ducks went 10-2 and beat Wisconsin in the Rose Bowl. He surprisingly left Oregon with a year of eligibility remaining to declare himself eligible for the NFL draft and wound up undrafted.
Bennett was Thomas' backup last season, completing 25 of 46 passes for 369 yards and six touchdowns, including a start in a victory over Colorado when Thomas was out with a sprained knee.
Mariota emerged in the spring game, throwing for 202 yards and a touchdown. He also rushed for 99 yards and two scores - including an 82-yard scoring run.
Because Oregon closes practices, it was difficult to judge whether the spring game was a fluke. On Saturday Mariota proved it wasn't.
''That kid looked pretty good didn't he?'' asked senior offensive lineman Carson York asked with a smile. ''He was drilling them tonight. I remember seeing Darron's (Thomas) first starts and how happy and excited he was after plays. Marcus was having the time of his life out there tonight and jumping around. He was very excited.''
BEST OF MAXIM
Can a freshman win the Heisman trophy?That may be the question on everyone’s mind after first year quarterback Marcus Mariota led the 5th ranked Oregon Ducks to a resounding 57 to 34 victory over visiting Arkansas State.Mariota, a freshman from Hawaii, showed great poise in leading the high-powered Duck offense to 50 points in less than two quarters. Oregon held such a commanding...
The man some media and fans are calling ‘Super Mario’ was just that — super — in his debut on Saturday night against Arkansas State.Marcus Mariota, redshirt freshman from Honolulu, led No. 5 Oregon in rout to a three-touchdown performance, where he completed 18 of 22 passing attempts for 200 yards as the Ducks downed the Red Wolves 57-34.He started the game completing 12...
EUGENE -- Redshirt freshman Marcus Mariota proved the Oregon coaching staff's decision to start him by throwing for 216 yards on a 19-for-23 passing effort that resulted in three touchdowns. Oregon went into halftime leading 50-10.
EUGENE – If there is any doubt just how good the Oregon Ducks (1-0) can be, then look at the first half of the 57-34 win over Arkansas State (0-1). The Ducks scored 50 points, had 417 yards of offense. Oregon held its opponent to 10 points, 228 yards of offense including only 56 yards of rushing. By then Oregon’s Chip Kelly decided to call of the dogs.
Freshman WR Bralon Addison discusses his first career game as an Oregon Ducks against Arkansas State on Saturday, Sept. 1, 2012 in Autzen Stadium. Addison finished the game with three catches for 15 yards and a long of seven.
Freshman DE Arik Armstead discusses his first career game as an Oregon Duck during a post-game interview following Oregon's 57-34 win over Arkansas State. Armstead was given credit for two unassisted tackles.
Junior WR Josh Huff talks about Oregon's win over Arkansas State on Saturday, Sept. 1, at Autzen Stadium. Huff finished the game with two catches for 22 yards including a touchdown reception.
Oregon freshman DE DeForest Buckner responds to questions from media following Oregon's 57-34 win over Arkansas State. The game was Buckner's first career game at Oregon and he was given credit for three total tackles (two solos).
On Monday the Ducks returned to the practice field for the first time since Saturday’s 57-34 victory over Arkansas State. It was “business as usual,” quarterback Marcus Mariota said, with the onus on “cleaning up” what they saw on film from Saturday’s game.
Arkansas State University traveled across the country to take on the No. 5 Oregon Ducks Saturday night. While the game didn't turn out as AStateNation hoped it would, there were definitely some positives achieved from the match-up. Go "Inside" this Photo Gallery by US Presswire of all the action.
Red Wolves vs Ducks Recap
Did you miss the Red Wolves vs. Ducks Week 1 football game Saturday? We’ve got the highlights for you.
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Marcus Mariota didn't show any signs of stage fright in his debut for the Ducks.
The redshirt freshman quarterback made his first start in a real game on Saturday night, passing for 200 yards and three touchdowns in No. 5 Oregon's 57-34 season-opening victory over Arkansas State.
De'Anthony Thomas caught two touchdowns and ran for another while collecting 119 yards...
This article will be the first in a series of weekly reports regarding Oregon Ducks football. From the Perimeter will break down key moments, performances and scores from every Oregon game as well as the rest of the college football world. As an Oregon native and avid Duck fan I look forward to an exciting season not only in Eugene, but across the board in college football.
Oregon had a crisp, impressive beginning in their opener Saturday with Marcus Mariota and the offense clicking for 7 touchdowns in their first 7 possessions to build a 50-3 lead midway through the second quarter.
In the last two and half quarters of the game, however, the Ducks emptied the bench (77 players saw action, including several true freshman) and Arkansas State outscored...