Mariota sharp in UO spring game



EUGENE — Marcus Mariota was sharp in his limited appearance in the Oregon spring game on Saturday, throwing a pair of first-quarter touchdown passes to lead the Ducks green team to a 27-7 victory against the grey team.

Mariota, a possible 2014 Heisman Trophy candidate who returned to Oregon for his junior season instead of turning pro this winter, completed 6-of-7 passes for 100 yards and played in the first three series for the green team. He also rushed for 23 yards on five carries.

“It was a lot of fun,” Mariota said. “It was a good foundation for next fall. There were some good things to take out of it.”

None more so than the play of Mariota, who is 23-3 as a two-year starter and coming off a season in which he accounted for 4,380 yards of offense, 40 touchdowns and an Alamo Bowl victory against Texas.

“I thought he did a very nice job,” second-year Oregon coach Mark Helfrich said. “Marcus has been outstanding.”

Mariota’s one incompletion Saturday was a throwaway after rolling out of the pocket to avoid a sack. Two plays later he connected with running back Thomas Tyner on a 22-yard touchdown pass for a 7-0 lead with 3:22 to play in the first quarter.

Tyner, a sophomore who rushed for 711 yards and nine touchdowns last season, finished with 58 yards on 10 carries and also had two catches for 26 yards.

Jeff Lockie, who is in an ongoing battle with fellow sophomore Jake Rodrigues for the backup quarterback job, put the green team up 21-0 with a 41-yard pass off a fleaflicker to receiver Austin Daich midway through the third quarter.

Lockie finished 7 of 12 passing for 121 yards and the touchdown. Rodrigues was 7 of 18 for 66 yards and an interception.

OSU Spring Showcase

Returning starting quarterback Sean Mannion led four drives early in Oregon State’s Spring Showcase game in Corvallis before heading to the sidelines as Luke Del Rio, Brent VanderVeen and Kyle Kempt continued their battle for the backup job.

Del Rio led the Beavers’ lone scoring drive, a 12-play, 70-yard grind culminating in a 2-yard touchdown dive by redshirt freshman Damien Haskins. Del Rio finished the day completing 9 of 17 passes for 80 yards, while VanderVeen completed 2 of 7 for 32 yards and an interception. Kemp was 3 of 6 for 6 yards.