Originally written on NorthWest Sports Beat  |  Last updated 11/12/12
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 at first against a California running attack while playing their first sloppy game on the offensive side of the ball. While this game did have some resemblance to Oregon’s narrow victory over the Bears on their previous National Championship run in 2010, Oregon used an impressive second-half effort, led by freshman quarterback Marcus Mariota , to dispel any thoughts of another top team falling victim to the upset. Here are this week’s love ‘em and hate ‘em for Oregon’s blowout victory against the California Golden Bears. Love ‘Em Super Mariota As mentioned before, it was the effort of quarterback Marcus Mariota that really fueled the Ducks’ blowout in the second half of the game. The talented redshirt freshman had the best game of his career while also having the announcers gush over his performance. Mariota accumulated four touchdowns in the second half of the game to send the Ducks to a resounding victory despite a rough start to the game. On the night as a whole, the Oregon quarterback threw for 377 yards and six touchdowns while completing 27 of 34 passes. Mariota weathered the storm in Cal and had his best game of the season. (Photo: Bruce Ely/Oregonian) Though Mariota did have to come out for a series with an apparent injury during the first half, the resilient Duck quarterback would jump right back into the game and make his case for an invitation to New York for the Heisman Trophy presentation. The performance by Mariota will be one of the more storied performances in Oregon history and is a sign of great things to come. Adversity Handled While it could be said the Ducks did face quite the test when they traveled to USC last week, Oregon was really struggling against the Bears in the first half and looked as though they were being pinned back for the first time of the season. And, despite suffering through a slew of injuries that had the Bears thinking about an upset, the Ducks remained confident in their demeanor and successfully handled their first real scare of the season by destroying the Bears in the second half. Back to No. 1 With the Alabama Crimson Tide falling to Texas A&M in one of the best games of the season, the Ducks have assumed the No. 1 ranking in all three human polls released today so far (AP, Coaches, Harris) and look to be in the top two of the BCS Rankings, giving them a straight shot to the BCS National Championship should they win out. Hate ‘Em Injury Bug Heading into this game the Ducks had their fair share of injuries on the defensive side of the ball. Things did not get better for Oregon as the game started with three key players having to miss some time with injuries, the most serious of which was Avery Patterson, Oregon’s safety who was replacing John Boyett.  Besides Patterson the Ducks also saw injuries to Mariota and Kenjon Barner early in the game, both of who would eventually return. Though these players did make a return and Oregon will hopefully be more healthy heading into Stanford, the loss of Patterson means an even thinner Oregon secondary that has already had its own injury issues.  CLICK HERE CHECK OUT THE DUCKS BLOG IN OUR CLUBHOUSE TODAY AT NWSB!
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