EUGENE – Marcus Mariota got his curtain call at Autzen Stadium.
With the 44-10 victory already in hand Saturday against Colorado, No. 3 Oregon sent its Heisman-hopeful quarterback out for the first snap of the fourth quarter.
That allowed the fans a chance to give Mariota a standing ovation when he handed off the rest of the game to backup Jeff Lockie. The crowd chanted “Mar-i-o-ta!”
The game may have been Mariota’s last at home in Eugene. The junior has one more season of eligibility left, although it’s widely expected that he’ll head for the NFL draft when this season is over.
“If this is my last game at Autzen it was truly special,” he said, “and something I’ll keep close to my heart for the rest of my life.”
Mariota threw for 323 yards and three touchdowns and ran for 73 yards and another score against Colorado, giving him 42 total touchdowns this season to set a Pac-12 record.
Freshman Royce Freeman ran for 105 yards and two scores for the Ducks (CFP No. 2). Oregon has already clinched the North Division’s berth in the conference championship game on Dec. 5.
It was the seventh straight loss for Colorado.
Mariota, who has thrown a touchdown pass in every game of his career at Oregon, has not yet said what his postseason plans are. Should he go to the NFL, he is projected by many as a top-five pick.
With 42 total touchdowns this season (32 passing, 9 rushing and 1 TD catch), he passed former USC quarterback Matt Barkley (41) for the Pac-12’s single-season record.
“I couldn’t have done it without all those guys in the locker room,” Mariota said.
Subscribe to the sports newsletter
Get the day’s top sports headlines and breaking news delivered to your inbox by subscribing here.