EUGENE, Ore. – Marcus Mariota gave Josh Huff all the credit for the 12-yard touchdown pass with 29 seconds left that swung another Civil War rivalry game Oregon’s way.
“Quite frankly, it was a bad throw,” Mariota said. “Huff made a great catch. I said, ‘Thank you man, that would’ve looked bad.’ ”
Huff laughed. “It was the best throw he made all year,” he grinned.
Either way, the 12th-ranked Ducks came away with a 36-35 victory over Oregon State on Friday night in the 117th edition of the in-state rivalry.
Mariota threw for 285 yards and three touchdowns – all to Huff, who had nine catches for a season-high 186 yards – and the Ducks (10-2, 7-2 Pac-12) sealed their sixth straight 10-win season. It was also their sixth straight victory over the Beavers.
With the Ducks holding a 24-23 lead, the Beavers scored on Sean Mannion’s 4-yard pass to Tyler Anderson to pull in front 29-24 early in the fourth quarter. But Oregon answered with Mariota’s fourth-and-11 pass to Huff for a 12-yard touchdown and the Ducks took a 30-29 lead with 7:56 remaining.
Victor Bolden ran for a 25-yard touchdown to make it 35-30 for the Beavers with 1:38 left, but Oregon State’s defense couldn’t stop the Ducks on their final drive.
“I wasn’t trying to press,” Mariota said. “I knew these guys in the locker room were going to get open and give me some time.”
Mannion passed for 314 yards and two touchdowns for the Beavers (6-6, 4-5), who ended the season on a five-game losing streak, their worst since dropping six straight to conclude the 1997 season.
“I’m extremely, extremely proud of our team,” Mannion said. “Despite the loss, no one on our team quit the entire way. I couldn’t be prouder to be a member of this team just by the way we fought.”
Freshman Thomas Tyner rushed for 140 yards and another score for Oregon, which finished undefeated at home for the first time since 2010.
The Ducks were coming off a deflating 42-16 loss at Arizona last weekend that ended their Pac-12 and national title hopes.
Oregon State is one of nine Pac-12 teams vying for a spot in seven spots the conference has in bowl games.
“We’ll let everyone else take care of that,” Mannion said about where the Beavers might land. “We were trying to win this game today and we came up short.”
OSU’s Brandon Cooks, a finalist for the Biletnikoff Award that goes to the best college receiver, went into the game as the nation’s top receiver with 141.8 yards per game. He had 10 catches for 110 yards, giving him 120 receptions to break Marqise Lee’s single-season Pac-12 mark of 119 set in 2012.