|Marcus Mariota and the Ducks have the No. 1 spot within reach (US Presswire)|
OREGON WON: Marcus Mariota threw for a career-high 377 yards and six touchdowns to lead No. 2 Oregon (10-0) to a 59-17 win over California (3-8) in Berkeley on Saturday night. Oregon overcame numerous injuries along its defensive front and survived injury scares to Mariota and running back Kenjon Barner to win going away for its nation-best 13th-straight victory. Barner was held to just 65 yards rushing on 20 carries, so the Ducks piled up 395 yards in the air and a school-record seven touchdown passes. Oregon totaled 575 yards of offense and blew open a close game in the first half by outscoring the Bears 35-7 in the second half. Cal got 134 yards and a touchdown from tailback Isi Sofele, part of 236 rushing yards gained by the Bears, but Cal's three turnovers were too much to overcome.
WHEN OREGON WON: Cal cut Oregon's lead to 24-17 early in the third quarter and then forced the Ducks to punt. Sofele broke off a 14-yard run and the Ducks appeared to be in business before Bear quarterback Allen Bridgford -- playing for an injured Zach Maynard -- was picked off on third and nine by Boseko Lokombo. Oregon wasted no time as Mariota found Josh Huff for a 35-yard touchdown pass and the Ducks went up 31-17. Cal never threatened again and Oregon was off to the races, going on to win in typical Oregon style.
WHY OREGON WON: On a night when Duck players were dropping left and right to injury, Mariota's leadership and toughness carried Oregon to an impressive win. Mariota himself was forced to leave the game in the second quarter due to a hurt left shoulder, but he returned to throw four second half touchdowns. While the Bears did a good job bottling up Heisman Trophy candidate Barner, they had no answer for the crafty freshman, who continued to show why he's the best first-year signal-caller this side of College Station.
WHAT OREGON WON: With this win, the Ducks will likely move to No. 1 in all the polls for the first time since mid-October of 2010. Oregon will remain on track to play for the BCS national title and, at this point, have to be considered the favorite to win it all.
WHAT CALIFORNIA LOST: This might be the final nail in the coffin of the Jeff Tedford Era at Cal. At 3-8, with a ninth loss looming next week, Tedford might have coached his last game at Memorial Stadium.
THAT WAS CRAZY: The Ducks set an FBS record by scoring at least 30 points for the 23rd-straight game. They now have scored at least 40 points in 13th-straight games.