EUGENE, Ore. -- Marcus Mariota showed everyone why Oregon coach Chip Kelly went with the redshirt freshman at quarterback. Making his collegiate debut, Mariota was 18-for-22 for 200 yards and three touchdowns in less than two quarters while leading fifth-ranked Oregon to a 57-34 win over Arkansas State on Saturday night at Autzen Stadium. Kelly surprised some people by picking Mariota as the starter instead of sophomore Bryan Bennett, who saw significant playing time as the backup last year. However, Mariota lived up to his billing by leading the Ducks to a touchdown on each of Oregon's seven drives when he was on the field. Oregon scored less than two minutes into the game on a 4-yard touchdown run by Kenjon Barner and then Mariota threw a 12-yard touchdown pass to De'Anthony Thomas. Mariota found Josh Huff for a 4-yard touchdown pass before Barner capped the first quarter with a 17-yard touchdown run that put Oregon ahead 29-0. Brian Davis made a 43-yard field goal to open the second quarter for Arkansas State, but Oregon responded with 21 straight points. Mariota found Thomas for a 12-yard touchdown pass and then Thomas ran 33 yards for a score. Byron Marshall's 3-yard touchdown run put Oregon ahead 50-3 with more than seven minutes still remaining in the first half. Oregon had 417 yards of offense in the first half, including 200 rushing. Oregon's offensive starters did not play in the second half as Barner finished with nine carries for 66 yards and Thomas had 64 rushing yards on three carries to go with four catches for 55 yards. Mariota ran four times for 24 yards. Bennett replaced Mariota midway through the second quarter and Oregon did not score again until he threw a 7-yard touchdown pass to Rahsaan Vaughn with 11:36 left to play in the game. Arkansas State scored 17 straight points during the second and third quarters, including a 72-yard touchdown pass from Ryan Aplin to Julian Jones and a 6-yard pass from Aplin to Josh Jarboe. NOTES: Oregon's 50 first-half points were the second most in a half by the Ducks. ... Oregon senior left guard Carson York, who suffered a major knee injury in the Rose Bowl, was back on the field for the opener. ... Barner had 74 all-purpose yards to move ahead of Ahmad Rashad for eighth on the school's all-time list, with 3,899 yards. ... Jarboe tied the school record for the Red Wolves with 13 receptions.
- Kenjon Barner