Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Mariota overcomes butterflies to shine in debut

On Saturday night, Oregon football fans got their first chance to witness Marcus Mariota in a college football game. Announced as the starter just eight days prior, most fans were in the dark about just what Mariota would provide. The first glimpse of Mariota came last Spring when he dazzled a record crowd with a performance many had not expected.

When Darron Thomas, Oregon's career leader in touchdown passes, decided to forego his senior season to enter the NFL draft, many fans and analysts alike assumed that Bryan Bennett, a redshirt sophomore, would ascend to the starting role vacated by Thomas' departure. But the soft spoken kid from St. Louis High School in Honolulu would make his mark out of view of everyone.

Marcus Mariota entered the tunnel and ran onto the field as the starting quarterback for the University of Oregon football team in what he refers to as a "surreal experience. Just to see the fans and hear them going crazy it was like something I could only imagine; and it was really happening to me," Marcus told Duck Sports Authority after the game. Mariota admitted to being nervous. He attributed his ability to overcome the nerves to something his father once told him. "My dad always used to tell me when I was playing high school football that nerves are a good thing. It's just human nature."

Receiver Josh Huff noticed Mariota's demeanor after the game as well. When asked how Marcus was able to come out and play so well in his first start, Huff replied, "He's just calm. He never let's anything get to him. Why he was so calm, that's why the offense fed off of him."

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