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Mariota Interception Streak Ends In Crushing Loss

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Quarterback Marcus Mariota wasn't a happy football player on Saturday as the Ducks face-planted against Arizona. Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images.
Quarterback Marcus Mariota wasn't a happy football player on Saturday as the Ducks face-planted against Arizona. Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images.

Oregon's players last week admitted they weren't thrilled at the possibility of another Rose Bowl.

Be careful what you wish for, right? Arizona smashed Oregon, 42-16 on Saturday. How does the Holiday Bowl or the Sun Bowl sound?

Marcus Mariota threw his first interception of the season on the first play, ending a streak of 353 pass attempts without an interception. This is why instant replay was invented, to capture plays like this one by a Wildcats cornerback.

The pass probably should've been caught by Oregon receiver Bralon Addison, and probably should've gone out of bounds. But Addison deflected the ball into the air and Shaquille Richardson pulled a move most often seen on punt coverage near the goal line, somehow corralling the ball and heaving it back in the field of play for teammate Scooby Wright, who will get credit for the pick.

It was a sign of things to come for the Ducks (9-2, 6-2), which ceded control of the Pac-12 North to Stanford in a game of "you take it." The Cardinal (9-2, 7-2) appeared to lose the division after USC upset them last week, but clinched with a win against Cal on Saturday.

Arizona (7-4, 4-4) followed the Stanford blueprint, holding the ball for more than 35 minutes and running for 307 yards. Ka'Deem Carey improved to 10-for-10 this season in 100-yard games and has rushed for triple digits in 18 of his last 19 games. He finished with 206 rushing yards and four touchdowns against Oregon.

Wildcats quarterback B.J. Denker had an outstanding game, completing 19-of-22 passes and rushing for 102 yards.

Mariota finished 27-of-41 for 308 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions, all but ending any lingering Heisman Trophy aspirations. Richardson made the second pick all by himself at the Arizona 3-yard line late in the game.