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Mariota leads Oregon to rout of Buffs

Nov 23, 2014 - 7:38 AM Eugene, OR ( - Marcus Mariota had another huge game for Oregon, throwing three touchdown passes and adding another score on the ground, to lead the third-ranked Ducks to a 44-10 rout of Colorado on Saturday.

Mariota continued his Heisman campaign with 323 passing yards and 73 rushing yards for the Ducks (10-1, 7-1 Pac-12), who have won six straight since their lone loss of the season against Arizona on Oct. 2.

Royce Freeman led the Oregon ground attack with 105 yards and a pair of touchdowns.

Oregon outgained Colorado 597-226. It was the first time this season the Ducks have held an opponent to fewer than 300 yards of offense.

"Probably our most solid effort all year from start to finish," Oregon head coach Mark Helfrich said. "A bunch of guys stepped up. They played hard, that solves a bunch of things and erases errors."

The Buffaloes (2-9, 0-8) used two quarterbacks but could not find success through the air. Jordan Gehrke and Sefo Liufau combined to complete just 16- of-32 passes for 105 yards.

Freeman got the scoring started early in the first quarter. After Colorado opened the game with a successful onside kick, it went three-and-out before punting. Eight plays later, Freeman's 20-yard score put the Ducks up 6-0, but a failed two-point conversion attempt left it that way.

It wouldn't matter, as Oregon's explosive offense took the game over with points on four straight possessions later in the first half.

Mariota's 46-yard touchdown run put the Ducks up 13-0 with 10 seconds left in the first quarter, and Freeman crossed the goal line for the second time on the next series with a 7-yard run.

Colorado finally got on the board with a 23-yard field goal, but Mariota responded with a 31-yard touchdown pass to Charles Nelson to extend the lead to 27-3. Matt Wogan's 25-yard field goal made it a 30-3 game at the half.

The Colorado defense gave the team a boost early in the second half by stopping Oregon on four straight goal-to-go plays, but the Ducks ended any momentum the Buffs might have had with a 15-yard touchdown pass from Mariota to Evan Baylis on the next drive.

Gehrke made his first career start in place of Liufau, who suffered a concussion in a loss to Arizona two weeks ago. Liufau wound up playing in the second half though, and threw a 5-yard scoring pass to Donovan Lee for Colorado's only touchdown of the game.

Mariota answered immediately with a 14-yard touchdown pass to Nelson in the closing seconds of the third quarter for the final margin.

Nelson finished with three catches for 62 yards and Byron Marshall led the Ducks with four catches for 65 yards.

Game Notes

Christian Powell led Colorado with 51 yards on five carries and Phillip Lindsay carried the ball 11 times for 49 yards in defeat ... Mariota has thrown a touchdown pass in each of his 37 career games. He is just the fifth quarterback in FBS history to reach 9,000 career passing yards and 2,000 career rushing yards ... Colorado's Nelson Spruce became the sixth player in Pac-12 history to catch 100 passes in a season ... Before playing for the Pac-12 championship, Oregon finishes its regular season at rival Oregon State in the Civil War next weekend ... Colorado wraps up its season against Utah.