Marcus Mariota earns UCLA respect after he asks refs not to throw a flag

Marcus Mariota has shown everyone this season what a great quarterback he is, but he might also be one of the toughest players on the field.

Against UCLA on Saturday, linebacker Jordan Zumwalt was on a mission to make sure the Ducks knew he was on the field. Late in the second half, Zumwalt launched himself at Mariota while the quarterback was scrambling out of bounds.

There were no flags on the play, which was a shock to many, but on Monday we learned that might have been because Mariota asked the refs to let the play go.

Most quarterbacks are fishing for flags after being hit late, but Mariota isn’t most quarterbacks. He even tapped Zumwalt on the helmet after the play to show there were no hard feelings, which probably made Zumwalt simultaneously confused and more fired up.

"I don't know," Mariota told following the 42-14 win. "I just try to keep my head, and my guys did an awesome job keeping their heads. They did come after us a couple times, and for our guys to hold their character really says a lot about this team."

The quarterback is the leader of the team and when the Ducks see their quarterback rolling with the punches, the rest of the team usually falls in line. This is the sign of a leader and a guy who stays pretty levelheaded during games. It’s the exact opposite of what we saw Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel do when Rice players were taunting him at the beginning of the season.

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Graham Watson

is the editor of Dr. Saturday on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email her at or follow her on Twitter!