Mariota, Oregon thump Cal
Berkeley, CA (Sports Network) - Marcus Mariota tied a school record by throwing six touchdown passes, and second-ranked Oregon rolled in the second half to beat California, 59-17, with an eye at possibly being the No. 1 team in the nation.
With Alabama's loss to Texas A&M earlier Saturday, the Ducks were positioned to take over the top spot in the national rankings and should move into the top 2 in the Bowl Championship Series standings. The Ducks entered Saturday at No. 3 in the BCS.
Josh Huff had three touchdown grabs for the Ducks (10-0, 7-0 Pac-12), who own the nation's current longest winning streak at 13 games. They've scored at least 42 points in all of those contests, the longest such streak in the BCS era. They scored the final 35 points of Saturday's game.
Oregon faces a stiff test by hosting nationally-ranked Stanford next Saturday before finishing the regular season at Oregon State.
Mariota, who shook off an apparent shoulder injury in the second quarter, finished 27-of-34 for 377 yards. Heisman Trophy candidate running back Kenjon Barner fought through a right hand problem for the Ducks. He ended with 20 carries for 65 yards.
"I think that as the season progresses everyone gets bumps and bruises," Mariota said. "That's just something that I've got to do."
Allan Bridgford connected on 9-of-21 passes for 113 yards and a touchdown, but was picked off twice for the Golden Bears (3-8, 2-6), who have lost four in a row.
"I thought Allan did a good job," California coach Jeff Tedford said of his quarterback. "For starting against that team, he managed it well. He kept his composure and he didn't panic."
Isi Sofele, who gained 134 yards on 15 carries, scored on a 4-yard run nearly five minutes into the third quarter to get Cal within 24-17.
The Golden Bears then forced a punt, but committed a crucial mistake next time on offense. On 3rd-and-9, Bridgford was pressured up the middle and was picked off by Boseko Lokombo.
On the next play, Mariota threw a short pass to Huff on the right side of the field, and it turned into a 35-yard touchdown.
Bridgford threw incomplete on fourth down on the next series, and Mariota expanded the margin to 38-17 with a 39-yard bomb to Huff.
Mariota passed 14 yards to Colt Lyerla and 7 yards to Will Murphy for TDs in the fourth quarter, the second one coming after Bridgford was intercepted by Brian Jackson.
Bryan Bennett threw an 18-yard TD pass to B.J. Kelley.
Before the game turned into a rout, injuries seemed to play a big part for the Ducks.
Mariota scrambled for a 16-yard gain to the Cal 3 midway through the second quarter. His shoulder banged to the turf, and he signaled to the sideline to exit the game.
Bennett entered, and the Ducks got a field goal from Alejandro Maldonado for a 17-10 lead.
Late in the first quarter, Barner, who ran for a school-record 321 yards and five touchdowns in last week's victory over Southern California, rushed up the middle for a first down. He then left the field wincing in pain while holding his right hand. Barner went to the locker room and had the hand taped before returning to action in the second quarter.
Mariota threw a 10-yard TD pass to Lyerla before Bridgford countered with a 10-yard toss to Darius Powe.
Byron Marshall scored on a 3-yard run late in the first quarter for the Ducks before Vincenzo D'Amato split the uprights from 27 yards for a 14-10 margin early in the second.
Mariota's 10-yard TD pass to Huff in the final minute of the half boosted the difference to 24-10.
Oregon has scored 30 or more points in 23 straight games, breaking the NCAA record held by Oklahoma State (2011-12) and Hawaii (2006-07) ... Since 2010, the Ducks are 34-3, including 32 victories of 10 or more points and 24 of 20- plus ... Oregon starting defensive back Avery Patterson suffered a left knee injury in the final seconds of the first quarter. Patterson, who limped off the field in obvious pain, tried to make a tackle on Cal running back Sofele. Patterson's knee buckled as he went to the turf. Patterson was on crutches along the sideline in the second half ... Huff had five grabs for 109 yards and De'Anthony Thomas tallied eight receptions for 101 yards. Oregon had 575 yards of offense.
11/11 03:19:56 ET