One of the most bizarre plays ended up being the catalyst of the Ducks win. Utah looked like they had a touchdown but the receiver, Kaelin Clay, channeled his inner DeSean Jackson and let go of the ball before getting into the end zone. Oregon’s Joe Walker returned the fumble 100 yards for a touchdown. That was the first score that sparked a 24-0 run which gave them a 24-7 lead. Utah would tack on a field goal at the end of the first half to make it 24-10 at intermission.
However, the Utes would keep chipping away. They pulled within 27-20 in the third quarter and then got as close as 30-27 in the fourth. But three straight Oregon touchdowns put the game on ice. Utah was forced to go for it on fourth down multiple times and were unsuccessful, which gave Oregon great field position and allowed them to put more points on the board to all but seal it in the fourth, as Oregon ended up winning 51-27, but the game was closer than that score would indicate.
Marcus Mariota certainly helped his case for the Heisman against one of the best defenses in the Pac-12. He threw for 239 yards and three touchdowns, and on the ground he carried the ball 18 times for 114 yards and a touchdown.
This win also helps Oregon’s position in the college football playoff. Winning on the road against the 17th best team in the country could help them maintain their current position in the standings. But Alabama won on the road at #16 LSU, which will help their case. Auburn is all but out after losing to Texas A&M, but what about TCU, who just throttled #7 Kansas State? It’ll be chaos this week trying to sort out all these teams.
Oregon has Colorado and at Oregon State left on their schedule before the Pac-12 championship game. With as competitive as the Pac-12 South has been this season, the champion of that division will be a good team without a doubt. Perhaps that will be just enough to get into the playoff, even with their one loss to Arizona earlier this season.