The Oregon Ducks aren’t known for their defense, tonight, that unit came out and forced turnover after turnover in the third quarter. Fueling a 27-7 third quarter run that changed the entire rhythm of the game. The Oregon defense bended but rarely broke in the first half, they changed the game in the third quarter. Giving that explosive offense five extra possessions on which to score on and Marcus Mariota led them to five touchdowns in that span, extremely opportunistic would describe the Ducks defense tonight. Oregon went on to put up a school record (Florida State) 59 points, racking up 639 yards of offense along the way.
This was only the third time that a bowl game (playoff game in this case) featured two Heisman winning quarterbacks, both Mariota and Winston did not disappoint in the least. This year’s Heisman winner took advantage of what his defense gave him, extra possessions on which to attack the Noles defense. Mariota did a masterful job at picking points in the game to go from Oregon’s normally fast tempo to ‘uber’ fast at times. The tempo had the Seminoles gassed early in the game. Oregon attacked the Florida State defense horizontally before attacking vertically, that had the Noles defense confused and often a couple of beats behind the Ducks offense. Mariota also did a masterful job on zone reads, every time he chose to keep the ball, he got big yardage with his legs. On the evening Marcus went 26 of 36 for 338 yards and two touchdowns (1 Interception), he also had 62 yards on the ground and one rushing touchdown. His wideouts and tight ends did a great job getting open and making catches, more importantly were the yards they gained after the catch.
In Winston’s case, he got little help from his supporting cast. Oregon came out looking to take away the deep explosive passes the Noles have gotten all year away. Forcing the Noles to live with underneath, contested throws. Super freshman running back Dalvin Cook had a good first half, started to get going in the third quarter’s opening drive and then fumbled. From there, Oregon never looked back and Florida State’s offense suffered. Cook fumbled twice, Winston threw an interception, and there were two more fumbles by Noles wideouts. Winston looked good in the pocket at times, delivering accurate throws that were dropped. Due to the outstanding coverage by the Ducks, there was little room for error from the Quarterback and none from the receivers. Winston finished the night with 348 yards, going 29 of 45 with one touchdown and interception a piece.
The Oregon defense did a phenomenal job tonight, routinely swarming ball carriers. When going to tackle they made sure they at least attempted to swipe, paw, and rip at the ball. More often than not, the ball came out!! For a team missing their starting number one corner and safety, the secondary did a great job competing and winning against the Seminole wideouts. They played a ton of zone tonight and did a good job staying disciplined against Winston and company. They will be the x-factor next week as well.
Oregon moves on to the National Championship game where they await the winner of Alabama and Ohio State. No matter who they play, the opposing team will have to deal with that extremely fast tempo the Ducks use on offense and an opportunistic defense. There is no beating Oregon if a team loses the turnover battle, the last thing any team can afford, is giving Mariota and company extra possessions. One win down, now to wait to see who “Super Marcus” and the Ducks play next!!