(George Holland/Cal Sport Media/Landov)
Oregon redshirt sophomore quarterback Marcus Mariota has burst onto the national radar behind a 2013 campaign in which he has passed for 2,281 yards, rushed for 511 yards and accounted for 29 total touchdowns. Now, after leading the Ducks to an 8-0 record with last Saturday's 42-14 victory over UCLA, he graces the national cover of Sports Illustrated.
In this week's issue, senior writer Austin Murphy writes about how (and why) the nucleus of the Pac-12 is changing, as No. 2 Oregon prepares to face off with No. 5 Stanford (7-1) on Nov. 7. The Cardinal upset the Ducks 17-14 in overtime in the teams' last meeting in 2012.
"This game will have everything," Murphy writes. "It’s Oregon’s second-ranked offense, led by quarterback Marcus Mariota, against Stanford inside linebacker Shayne Skov and the Cardinal’s 25th-ranked D. It’s a play-in to the Pac-12 title game, and the latest dramatization of the conference’s power shift from Los Angeles. It’s a clash of fashions -- the Cardinal’s basic red-and-white versus whatever space-age design the Ducks are rocking -- and of philosophies reflected by those unis: Stanford’s old-school, smashmouth power game versus Oregon’s no-huddle, hurry-up Blur attack.”
Murphy also delves into both programs' recent surge in resources, highlighted by Oregon's new state-of-the-art football facilities.