Cal vs. Oregon: Comparing Quarterbacks in Pac-12 Showdown

Andrew GouldFeatured ColumnistSeptember 27, 2013

CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA - SEPTEMBER 7: Marcus Mariota #8 of the Oregon Ducks looks to throw a pass against the Virginia Cavaliers during the game at Scott Stadium on September 7, 2013 in Charlottesville, Virginia. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Joe Robbins/Getty Images

Two contrasting, stat-piling quarterbacks will clash when California squares off against Oregon this Saturday night.

Oregon has manufactured an insane 184 points through three games, propelling the Ducks to their dashing No. 2 ranking in the AP Top 25 Poll. Cal isn't bad either, ranking second in the nation with 437.7 passing yards per game.

Behind each high-powered offense is a soaring signal-caller leading his respective team to an array of points. 

Sophomore Marcus Mariota has ridden his dual-threat versatility to Heisman candidacy, while Jared Goff is gunslinging his way to massive numbers through Cal's aerial assault. Here is how these two prolific quarterbacks stack up leading up to this weekend's conference clash.


Jared Goff, Cal

BERKELEY, CA - SEPTEMBER 14:  Jared Goff #16 of the California Golden Bears drops back to pass during the first quarter against the Ohio State Buckeyes at California Memorial Stadium on September 14, 2013 in Berkeley, California.  (Photo by Thearon W. Hen
Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

While the Golden Bears are only 1-2, Goff has sure put his name on the radar with a tremendous start to his college career.

The true freshman has compiled 1,306 passing yards and seven touchdowns through his first three games, leading the nation with 435.3 yards per contest. Pretty impressive considering Zach Kline had a strong shot of winning the job during the preseason.

These games have not come against pipsqueak opponents for the Kentfield native. Goff began his tenure at Cal with 450 yards and two touchdowns in a losing effort to Northwestern. After blazing past Portland State with 485 and two more scores, he met No. 4 Ohio State.

Goff did his part, posting 371 yards and three touchdowns, but the Golden Bears relinquished 52 points to the Buckeyes in their second loss of the season. Will the youngster continue to produce impressive numbers in losing scenarios?

For all the good, Goff has tossed four picks, three of which hindered Cal's chances of topping Northwestern. While attempting 56 passes per game allows him to pile up the stats, it also leaves him susceptible to more turnovers.

This weekend also marks Goff's first road game. The 18-year-old will have to deal with hostile fans at Autzen Stadium, which can deter any teenager's confidence.  

Nevertheless, it is a great chance for Goff to solidify his status as a top Pac-12 quarterback.


Marcus Mariota, Oregon

On the other side, Mariota looks to stay on top of the Heisman hunt while keeping Oregon in line to play for a national championship.

Despite completing 59.8 percent of his passes, Mariota has averaged a gaudy 10.84 passing yards per attempt, tossing seven touchdowns and zero interceptions. He has added 262 rushing yards and four touchdowns.

The sophomore really shined as a passer two weeks ago against Tennessee, completing 23 of his 33 pass attempts for 456 yards and four touchdowns. 

California has surrendered 126 points this season, most recently permitting 276 passing yards and four touchdowns against Ohio State's Kenny Guiton. While he has shined in Braxton Miller's absence, Guiton isn't quite on Mariota's level yet.

Mariota has the entire world watching him with major implications at stake. Look for him to hold his end of the bargain with another fruitful point total.