A week ago, Marcus Mariota had the world at his feet and the college football stage to use as his canvas.
The redshirt sophomore was supposed to show the world that the Heisman Trophy was his – more so than it needed to be in the hands of Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel or Jameis Winston of FSU or even someone like Northern Illinois’ Jordan Lynch.
But Mariota did not get the memo.
Not only did Oregon lose (even with a late attempt at a comeback) college football’s fans and the media saw him have his worst game of the season – at the worst time possible. And oddly enough, the team the Ducks play this week, Utah, is the team that gave Stanford, the team that beat Oregon like a drum, its only loss of the season a few weeks ago.
Mariota is still a great quarterback, who may or may not come out for the 2014 NFL Draft. He is still one of three quarterbacks who could be chosen in the top five of the draft. However, the Heisman Trophy is not an award whose ship has sailed.
Here is why.
While he looked very “decent” in a win over UCLA two weeks before, we saw some flaws in his game. It was also a case where the UCLA was more about the rushing attack and defense. We saw a plodding runner in Mariota – who did not look as fast as he usually does. Also, also someone once told me, Mariota took a back seat to other players on the team that night, where Johnny Manziel and Jameis Winston take a backseat to nobody.
His mechanics need work
He looks slow at times. He looked lost on Thursday night against Stanford. While Mariota may have the best arm in the draft, and a can take off and show his athleticism. But there is something about him that I saw in the games against UCLA and Stanford that made me question his overall talent. Maybe another season in college helps him. He is still young and has a lot to learn.
Voters remember the losses more than the wins
Before the loss to Stanford, the Ducks were putting up no less than 41 points a game and winning by outrageous numbers. While there have been moments for all potential Heisman hopefuls that are questionable, Mariota lost in his last game and was mediocre in doing so. Had he thrown for over 400 yards in a comeback win over the Cardinal, things would be different.
He suffers the same fate as Tajh Boyd did against the Seminoles.
Poor schedule remaining
He cannot recover. Arizona will present a tough challenge for him and Sean Mannion and Oregon State may outplay him.
Had he played poorly against UCLA and lost, he could have at least rebounded to play Stanford and maybe resurrect his chances.
Now, he may be invited to New York, but he cannot win.
The remaining hopefuls are just better
Johnny Manziel throws for over 400 a game, Jameis Winston is the most exciting freshman in college football. Mariota cannot compete with that. The fact Oregon is now out of the national title picture makes things more difficult. There are times when everything must come together in one package for a player to have a Heisman season. This si the situation for Mariota. Unfortunately, the loss killed all of that.