Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota has helped his Heisman chances by having a monster first half against the Tennessee Volunteers.
The sophomore got off to a slow start by completing only two of his first eight passes, and the Ducks were struggling with penalties and sloppy play early on. Once Mariota got into a rhythm, he torched the Volunteers with his arm and his feet.
He completed 13 of his next 14 passes to end the first half with 350 passing yards and three touchdowns. The 19-year-old added 12 yards and a touchdown on five carries.
The Ducks were down 7-3 with less than four minutes to play in the first quarter. Mariota changed that in a hurry by leading his team on five consecutive touchdown drives over the next 18 minutes to take a commanding 38-7 lead at the break. No drive lasted longer than two minutes, but four of those drives went at least 78 yards.
Mariota has put himself in the Heisman conversation. He has turned out to be one of the best dual-threat quarterbacks in the nation.
*Update: Mariota was pulled midway through the third quarter with his team up 52-7.
Final line against Tennessee: 23/33, 456 passing yards, 4 TD, 0 INT; 6 attempts, 27 rushing yards, 1 TD