Oregon QB solves Washington defense, cements Heisman frontrunner status
Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota may have entered the weekend as the Heisman frontrunner, but Saturday’s 45-24 win at Washington erased any doubt.
Mariota led one of the most impressive wins by a national championship by taking apart the stout Huskies’ defense, earning Athlon Sports National Player of the Week honors.
Washington entered the game allowing only 146.4 passing yards per game and two total passing touchdowns. Mariota crushed those numbers with his usual efficiency. The sophomore completed 24 of 31 passes for 366 yards with three touchdowns while rushing for 88 yards and a score.
A testament to Mariota’s ability and Oregon’s depth on offense, the Ducks amassed 631 yards despite missing running back De’Anthony Thomas and tight end Colt Lyerla for the entire game. Top wide receiver Josh Huff also missed time during the game with an injury.
Mariota has accounted for 25 total touchdowns this season (17 passing and eight rushing) without a turnover as Oregon defeated Washington for the 10th consecutive time.
Athlon Sports Week 7 National Awards
National Offensive Player of the Week: Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon
The Ducks quarterback was brilliant again, this time on the road against a ranked divisional foe and rival. Mariota led the Ducks to an easy 45-24 win over Washington by completing 24-of-31 passes for 366 yards and three touchdowns through the air. He added 88 yards rushing on 13 carries and another touchdown on the ground. He is now 18-1 as a starter with 63 career total touchdowns and just six interceptions. Mariota hasn't thrown a pick in 233 attempts.
National Defensive Player of the Week: Nate Orchard, LB, Utah
Fellow defensive linemates Trevor Reilly and Tenny Palepoi have made more plays and garnered more headlines through five games, but Saturday night's upset of Stanford was Orchard's coming out party. He registered his second and third sack of the season and forced two huge fumbles for a Utah defense that simply outplayed the Cardinal for most of the game. He finished with five total tackles on the night and was a big part of the final minute goal-line stand that won the game for the Utes.
National Freshman of the Week: Christian Hackenberg, QB, Penn State
It took unlikely completions on the game's final drive in the game's final minute against Michigan, but Hackenberg wrote the first chapter of what could be a stellar career. He posted his third 300-yard effort in six career starts and accounted for four touchdowns in the thrilling come-from-behind victory over the Wolverines. He completed 23 of his 44 passes and now leads the Big Ten in passing at 278.7 yards per game.
Coordinator of the week: Major Applewhite, Texas
The defense was off to a bad start for Texas, but the offense has been nearly as disjointed this season for Texas. Not against Oklahoma. Quarterback Case McCoy missed some open deep throws, but he still finished 13 of 22 for 190 yards. They key for Applewhite’s offense though was third down conversions (13 of 20) and a two-headed rushing attack from Malcolm Brown and Johnathan Gray that combined for 253 yards on the ground.
Athlon Week 7 Conference Awards
Offense: Anthony Boone, Duke
Defense: Vic Beasley, Clemson
Freshman: Jack Tocho, NC State
Coordinator: Jim Knowles, Duke
Offense: Tevin Reese, Baylor
Defense: Ryan Mueller, Kansas State
Freshman: Davis Webb, Texas Tech
Coordinator: Major Applewhite, Texas
Offense: Jeremy Langford, Michigan State
Defense: D.J. Olaniyan, Penn State
Freshman: Christian Hackenberg, Penn State
Coordinator: Dave Aranda, Wisconsin
Offense: Marcus Mariota, Oregon
Defense: Nate Orchard, Utah
Freshman: Andy Phillips, Utah
Coordinators: Dennis Erickson/Kalani Sitake, Utah
Offense: Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M
Defense: Lamin Barrow, LSU
Freshman: A’Shawn Robinson, Alabama
Coordinator: Dave Steckel, Missouri