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Mariota rushes for a TD against Oregon State.
Saturday, September 14: Tennessee
The game against Tennessee will be Mariota's first chance to put a real mark on the 2013 season. Although Tennessee has struggled in recent years and expects to have more growing pains this season, the Volunteers are still an SEC team with talent on both sides of the ball.
The Ducks will be big favorites, but because it's a Pac-12-SEC matchup, people will tune in anyway and if Mariota delivers with a big performance, it will stick out in voters' minds.
Saturday, October 12: at Washington
The brand new stadium, the rivalry and the first true road test will all be storylines heading into this one, thus giving Mariota another chance to impress Heisman voters. The environment will be raucous and the Huskies have a chance to field a solid team this year.
But if Mariota can show the poise of a veteran and make big plays up in Seattle, it will prove that he can bring his A-game on the road against good opponents.
Saturday, October 26: UCLA
This game will contain plenty of buzz because it pits together Oregon's Marcus Mariota and UCLA's Brett Hundley, another outstanding young quarterback. The intensity will be heightened if Hundley comes in on a hot streak and the game becomes a true duel between two of the game's best. If Mariota puts up big numbers against an athletic defense and the Ducks prove to be a superior team, it will be another notch in the Heisman belt.
Thursday, November 7: at Stanford
This is without a doubt the biggest game for Marcus Mariota and his chances of winning a Heisman.
Simply put, a big game here can put him in prime position to bring home the hardware, and a poor effort will all but take him out of the race. That may not seem fair, but with the Cardinal handing the Ducks their only loss last season, Mariota and Co. must prove they can get revenge against a defense that held them to just 14 points.
Heisman trophy winners have great games on big stages, and there will be no bigger stage than this one. And with much of the country realizing that Stanford does indeed boast one of the best defenses in the land, what better way for Mariota to prove himself than to have a monster game against the best of the best?
Friday, November 19: Oregon State
A lot could be riding on the Ducks' final game of the season. The Beavers will come to Autzen with hopes of destroying whatever the Ducks are still playing for, and it could be Mariota's last real chance to impress Heisman voters, excluding a potential appearance in the conference championship game.
If he can leave one final mark on the season that showcases his all-around ability, it may push his Heisman chances over the top.