Mariota ready as No. 3 Ducks prep for Nicholls

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EUGENE, Ore. (AP) — Get ready for Marcus 2.0.

That’s what Oregon coach Mark Helfrich looks to see from his sophomore quarterback, Marcus Mariota, as the No. 3 Ducks embark on the new season. It all starts Saturday when Oregon host Nicholls.

Last season at this point, Mariota was a redshirt freshman who had just been crowned Oregon’s starter — beating out Bryan Bennett after a fall camp competition that was mostly a mystery because the Ducks keep practices closed.

Oregon coaches made the right call: Mariota set the team’s single-season record with 38 touchdowns (32 passing, 5 rushing, 1 receiving). The first freshman named to the Pac-12’s all-conference first team in 23 years, Mariota passed for 2,677 yards while completing a school-record 68.5 percent of his passes. He had 3,429 yards of total offense.