SI Wire

Marcus Mariota named Oregon's starting quarterback

Redshirt freshman Marcus Mariota has won a competition with sophomore Bryan Bennett and will start at quarterback for national title contender Oregon, reports The Oregonian's Aaron Fentress.

Mariota and Bennett have competed since January when two-year starter Darren Thomas surprisingly chose to enter the NFL Draft. Bennett was seen by many as the favorite, at least initially. He played well filling in for Thomas last season.

The Ducks were ranked fifth in USA TODAY Sports Coaches Poll preseason rankings -- even though they hadn't named a quarterback yet. It's a testament to the faith put in coach Chip Kelly's offense.

Mariota will face plenty of pressure directing the high-scoring attack as the Ducks attempt to top Matt Barkley and USC for the Pac-12 title. If he struggles early, calls for Bennett to play could come quickly.

More SI Wire