WyoSports senior editor Robert Gagliardi did a question-and-answer swap with Ryan Thorburn, who covers Oregon football for Eugene Register-Guard in Eugene, Oregon, about Saturday’s game with the University of Wyoming in Laramie.
Thorburn is a UW graduate and author of three books on UW sports which documents some of the most historical and important moments Cowboys football, baseball and basketball. For links to purchase those books, go to ryanthorburn.com.
Follow on Twitter: @rgduckfootball
Look for Q&As with beat writers that cover UW football opponents every week throughout the season.
At No. 2 in the country this week it is obvious that Oregon is among the nation’s elite. But what is it about the Ducks where they can seemingly flip a switch and blow open a game, like last week against No. 13 Michigan State where they scored 28 unanswered points in the second half after falling behind?
Leading up to the game, the Ducks heard about how they can’t get it done against physical teams — the so-called Stanford problem. The old narrative looked to be playing out in the third quarter when they were stuck on 18 points and trailing by nine. Marcus Mariota, who was playing on a partially torn MCL at Stanford last season, was able to make some game-changing plays on the run this time. Oregon’s defense seemed to find another gear as well, which makes this year’s Ducks even more dangerous.
How good is quarterback Marcus Mariota, and despite his obvious outstanding skill set what else makes this guy one of the nation’s best? And, is he the early favorite right now to win the Heisman Trophy in your mind?
Honestly, the kid is too good to be true. In the Register-Guard’s football special section published during fall camp, the theme was: The Mount Rushmore of Oregon quarterbacks — Norm Van Brocklin, Dan Fouts, Bill Musgrave, Joey Harrington, etc. — and what Mariota’s legacy will be. The consensus is that he is already the greatest quarterback in program history, or will be by the end of the season if he stays healthy. Yes, I think he is the favorite to win the Heisman right now because of what he did against Michigan State’s defense.