BOULDER, Colo. – Even a slow start couldn’t keep Marcus Mariota from calling it an early night.
He threw five touchdown passes and ran for two scores as No. 2 Oregon brushed off some early trickery to rout Colorado 57-16 on Saturday. The UO sophomore connected for two touchdowns each with Josh Huff and Bralon Addison, and played only 2 1/2 quarters.
The man getting so much of the early Heisman hype still hasn’t played a full game this season, yet he swears he doesn’t mind being a sideline spectator after making quick work of opponents.
“There’s three other guys behind me and they practice their tails off all week and I think they deserve to play,” Mariota said of backups Jeff Lockie and Jake Rodrigues. “And a lot of us (starters), our goal is to get those guys on the field.”
The Buffaloes had Folsom Field in a frenzy when they kept things tight early on, but the crowd didn’t like it when Colorado kept going for field goals while the Ducks were piling up the points.
Oregon (5-0, 2-0 Pac-12) has scored at least 55 points in all of its games under first-year coach Mark Helfrich, a former offensive coordinator at Colorado, who took over the Ducks when Chip Kelly left to coach the Philadelphia Eagles.
He called off the dogs after Mariota’s fifth and final touchdown toss with just less than 7 minutes left in the third quarter, giving him a career-high seven total TDs.
“I didn’t really think about mercy,” Helfrich said. “That’s a good program, a proud program. We’re not in the embarrassment business. We’re not in the statistic business and we don’t think about individual awards. That’s not our deal. We just wanted to get in a rhythm offensively.”
Forcing a three-and-out after the opening onside kick, a 75-yard TD toss from receiver Paul Richardson on a double-reverse and a fourth-down stop had the 40-point-underdog Buffaloes (2-2, 0-2) in the fight early.
“We kind of started off a little slow,” Mariota said, “but we started getting things rolling and I’m proud of the guys for fighting through the adversity. I feel it’s going to make us a little better.”
The Ducks trailed for 6 1/2 minutes, falling behind 3-0 and 10-8.