Arizona earns exclusive bragging rights against Marcus Mariota
It took an incredible play, but the Wildcats accomplished something no other team has been able to do this season: intercept Ducks QB Marcus Mariota. And they even added a second pick-six for good measure!
By Phil Kropoth
Marcus Mariota and his receivers have been so in sync this season that the Oregon QB entered Week 13 against Arizona having thrown 25 touchdowns and — perhaps more impressively — not a single interception.
While the first of those numbers saw a jump in line with Mariota's usual Saturday performances, the second statistic experienced an unexpected increase as well.
The Wildcats were finally able to crack the Duck egg in the Oregon QB's interception column.
And it was only fitting that Mariota's first pick of the year was delivered in such incredible fashion. The stolen throw required complex choreography between two Wildcat defenders — in fact, one in bounds and the other out.
The play began innocently enough with Mariota throwing a very catchable ball to Bralon Addison. However, instead of traveling to its familiar location inside the warm palms of the Ducks receiver, the football deflected off Addison's hands and into the air. While the ball continued to float toward the Arizona players gathered along the sideline, active Wildcat Shaq Richardson dove out of bounds for the ball. Using one hand, he was able to corral and scoop it back into play.
Step one: Arizona Wildcats cornerback Shaquille Richardson (right) tips the ball in bounds.
Mark J. Rebilas / USA TODAY Sports
Johnny-on-the-spot linebacker Scooby Wright found himself in the right place at the right time, as Richardson's toss practically fell into his hands.
And there it was: Mariota's first intercepted throw of the season.
While the flood gates didn't exactly open after throwing his first pick, Mariota did fall prey to a second catch by the opposition late in the fourth quarter. Richardson was involved again, this time doing the job on his own.
Before the Arizona duo teamed up for the turnover, Mariota hadn't thrown an interception since Nov. 17, 2012 vs. Stanford. Entering Saturday's game with the Wildcats, he had amassed 244 pass attempts (156 for completions), but he was still well shy of Colby Cameron's record of 428 for most consecutive passes attempted without an interception in a single season.