The Wildcats entered the game with a record of 6-4, having lost two games in a row, yet Oregon was helpless to shut down its Pac-12 rival, losing by a final score of 42-16, as noted by Pac-12 Networks:
Mariota wasn't to blame for his team's inability to shut down Ka'Deem Carey, who rushed for 206 yards and an impressive four touchdowns on 48 carries.
He also wasn't to blame for the interception that turned this game on its head from the outset.
His pass hit his receiver's hands, and the ensuing tip-drill interception by Scooby Wright was one of the most brilliant plays you'll see this year, as shown by College GameDay:
But when his team needed a brilliant performance, Mariota came up small. By the time he threw his second interception of the day at the 5:40 mark of the fourth quarter, the game was already lost.
Making matters worse, he hurt himself when taking down Arizona defender Shaquille Richardson, who intercepted the pass. Richardson's knee impacted Mariota's helmet on the tackle attempt, and he looked hurt afterward.
As noted by Andrew Greif of The Oregonian, the Heisman hopeful was being attended to on the sideline while being surrounded by about 10 people, and Rob Moseley of GoDucks.com noted that Mariota was groggy as he left the field:
Ten folks are making a wall around Mariota on the sideline. That doesn't include teammates like Prevot and Greig.— Andrew Greif (@AndrewGreif) November 23, 2013
Marcus Mariota is VERY groggy as he leaves the field. Adds injury to insult after another interception.— Rob Moseley (@DuckFootball) November 23, 2013
If his injury turns out to be substantial, then his Heisman hopes might be dashed completely.
His final stats don't tell the story.
He finished with 308 yards passing, completing 27 of his 41 attempts (65.9 percent) with two touchdowns and two interceptions, adding another 52 yards rushing on eight carries.
The real story is that Oregon's offense was unable to beat an Arizona team that shouldn't have had a chance to win. Not only did the Ducks lose, but it was a complete blowout, and the Mariota-led offense only managed two touchdowns against a defense that gives up 22.2 points per game on average.
While Mariota was struggling against Arizona, one of his closest competitors in the Heisman race had himself a huge day. Jameis Winston threw four touchdown passes against Idaho before being pulled in favor of Sean Maguire when the game was out of hand.
Who will win the 2013 Heisman Trophy?
Mariota wasn't the only one who struggled, though.
Johnny Manziel had a miserable outing against LSU on Saturday, throwing one touchdown and two interceptions in a losing effort. Like we saw with Mariota, thanks to Manziel's poor effort, the Aggies only scored 10 points in the game, losing 34-10.
If Mariota is able to play next weekend against Oregon State, then he'll have an opportunity to improve his falling stock. At this point, however, it's hard to imagine he has a legitimate shot of taking down Manziel and Winston for the prestigious award.
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