Oregon-Oregon St. Preview

Oregon-Oregon St. Preview

Published Nov. 25, 2014 2:46 p.m. ET

EUGENE, Ore. (AP) - Marcus Mariota says he hasn't made up his mind about what he's doing next season. It really doesn't matter because there's still plenty of work to do this season.

The first item on the agenda of the Oregon quarterback is the Civil War rivalry game Saturday against Oregon State.

The Ducks (10-1, 7-1) remained No. 3 in the AP Top 25 on Sunday following their 44-10 victory against Colorado. Oregon is No. 2 in the College Football Playoff rankings, which could put the Ducks in the semifinals if they beat the Beavers and win the Pac-12 championship game.

The Ducks have clinched the North's spot in the league championship, but the South has yet to shake out. If UCLA beats Stanford on Friday, the Bruins will face Oregon on Dec. 5 in Santa Clara, California.


So following the victory over the Buffaloes, Mariota politely answered questions about what may have been his last game at Autzen Stadium. But he kept pointing back to what remains this season.

''This is a good step forward,'' he said. ''We've got a lot of games left. We can't get caught up in the moment.''

Mariota's been through this before: He decided following last season to come back for his redshirt junior year. Now he's considered a Heisman Trophy front-runner, and the Ducks are looking as if they'll still be playing in January.

With four touchdowns against the Buffaloes, Mariota set the Pac-12 single-season record for total touchdowns, topping Matt Barkley's previous mark of 41. Mariota has thrown for 32 touchdowns, run for nine and caught another this season.

''Somebody was talking to me the other day about how easy he makes it look sometimes,'' Oregon coach Mark Helfrich said. ''What he's doing is really difficult. His decision making, competitiveness, his command of the team is so outstanding. It's great to be around him because he makes you want to work harder as a coach. The other guys feed off of him.''

Mariota also joined an elite group of players in FBS history to pass for at least 9,000 yards and rush for 2,000 or more yards in a career. The others on the list are Dan LeFevour, Robert Griffin III, Colin Kaepernick and Tim Tebow. Mariota and LeFevour are the only two to reach the milestone in less than four seasons.

To mark the possibility that Saturday's game was Mariota's last in Eugene, Oregon sent him in for one final snap to start the fourth quarter against Colorado before handing the game to Jeff Lockie. That gave Mariota his (maybe) final Autzen ovation.

''I can't thank the fans enough. That was really cool at the end of the game to have that,'' Mariota said. ''We'll see what else the future entails, I'm not too sure. But I'm very thankful.''

Colorado coach Mike MacIntyre thinks Oregon is the best team in the nation, mostly because of Mariota.

''I don't care what anybody says because he's the best quarterback in the nation. When you have the best quarterback with the talent they've got and the defense, they've got a chance to be really, really really good,'' MacIntyre said. ''I hope they go win it all.''

The Beavers (5-6, 2-6) are coming off a 37-13 loss at Washington on Saturday night. Even though the team is last in the Pac-12 North, Oregon State proved it is dangerous with a 35-27 upset of then-No. 7 Arizona State two weekends ago.

Last season, the Beavers challenged Oregon in the Civil War, although the Ducks won 36-35 at Autzen Stadium.

''The Civil War's always a big game. We always talk about taking one game at a time. But we understand it's a huge part of this community and a huge part of this state,'' Mariota said. ''To play in it, it's truly special.''