Marcus Mariota has become a dark horse candidate for the Heisman after the last two weeks as the Oregon Ducks try to take one step closer to the national title game Saturday against the Stanford Cardinal at Autzen Stadium.
Mariota has launched 10 touchdown passes in the past two wins for the Ducks, and Oregon is in place for their second trip to the national championship in three years.
Oregon took care of California in the first half and went on to a 59-17 win, capped by six touchdown passes and 377 yards by Mariota. Receiver Josh Huff caught three of those scores and made five catches for 109 yards.
The Ducks gained 575 total yards, and weren’t affected by their 11 penalties for 105 yards.
Though running back Kenjon Barner only gained 65 yards and didn’t reach the endzone for just the third game this season. It was a far cry from his 321 yard, five touchdown performance against USC.
Stanford helped the Ducks Pac-12 title hopes last week with a 27-23 win over Oregon State. The Cardinal coughed up four turnovers and survived a 23-0 run, with three touchdowns by quarterback Kevin Hogan and 114 yards by running back Stepfan Taylor.
Taylor broke free for a 40-yard touchdown on the final play of the third quarter, and the Stanford defense held the Beavers scoreless in the fourth quarter for the win.
Stanford has now ripped off four straight wins after their overtime letdown and near upset of No. 3 Notre Dame.
The contest begins at 8 p.m. EDT and will be broadcast ABC.
Prediction: Oregon can’t be stopped, scoring at least 59 points in their last three games. Stanford’s defense has improved this year, but cannot keep up with all of the Ducks weapons.
Betting: Oregon is favored by 20.5 points
Over/Under: 66 points
Predicted Score: Oregon 45, Stanford 24