Marcus Mariota needed a big game to help his NFL draft stock against the Oregon State Beavers, and while he didn't play incredibly well, he led his team to a big fourth-quarter comeback win and may have saved his NFL draft stock in the progress.
The Oregon Ducks came away with a huge 36-35 win over the Beavers, scoring a game-winning touchdown with just 29 seconds remaining. The Beavers had scored with 1:38 remaining, but Mariota helped lead his team down the field on a nine-play, 83-yard drive.
The numbers for Mariota weren't exactly pretty. He completed just 17 of his 34 passes for 285 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions. After throwing his first interception of the game, ESPN Stats & Info provided us with this interesting note about his recent struggles.
Marcus Mariota just threw his 3rd Int in the last 2 games (49 pass att) after having none in his 1st 10 games this season (285 att).— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) November 30, 2013
Mariota's draft stock took a hit in this game. He looked very uncomfortable in the pocket, sailing some throws way too high above the intended target's head and making some uncharacteristic decisions that he usually didn't make at the beginning of the year. His accuracy was a question heading into this game, and completing just 50 percent of his passes certainly didn't help.
Still, that game-winning drive said a lot about the young quarterback. Despite struggling for the past two games and most of this one, Mariota simply shook it off and helped lead his team down the field for the huge win.
Overall, Mariota is still one of the top NFL draft prospects at the quarterback position. He's just 20 years old and still developing as a passer, and he should still be a first-round pick even with the recent struggles.