After last night’s 42-20 defeat to the Ohio State Buckeyes in the inaugural College Football Playoff championship, Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota was just as gracious after the game as he was when he accepted the Heisman Trophy nearly a month ago.
As Mariota was walking back to the lockerroom after the game, he was asked how he would characterize the loss.
“It’s tough,” Mariota said while clearing this throat. “It’s real tough.”
In the end, the Buckeyes were simply more physical than the Ducks at the point of attack. They used various blitz schemes to get in Mariota’s face and shut down the running game after Oregon had early success on their first couple of drives.
Source: ESPN video
When asked what he thought Ohio State did different compared to most defenses, Mariota said, “They just held us in the red zone, we weren’t able to finish drives.”
Not only did Oregon have trouble scoring in the red zone, they also had trouble converting third downs. The Ducks only scored one touchdown on four red zone possessions and managed to convert only two of 12 third down attempts. Both of these stats were season lows.
Statistically, Mariota did not have a bad game. He finished 24-for-37 for 333 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. But he did have a tough time running the football against a stout Ohio State defense that only allowed him 39 yards on 10 carries — less than four yards per attempt.
Mariota had no problem congratulating the Buckeyes on a job well done.
“Hats off to Ohio State, they’ve got a great program, they’ve got a great coach. It was a great win for them.”
So the question is, is this it for Mariota and his college football career?
“That’s the last thing on my mind right now,” said Mariota after he chuckled as the question was being asked.
Finally, Mariota was asked what he was going to say to his teammates when he made it back to the lockerroom.
“I’m proud of them, man. I mean, we dealt with a lot of adversity this year… I mean, I love those guys… it sucks but those guys should be proud we had a good year.
Well said, Marcus Mariota.