Marcus Mariota picks up the big plays as Ducks edge Cougs

It's almost comical how much love Marcus Mariota receives from pundits around the country -- until you watch him.

It wasn't a single play on Saturday, just a series of timely heroics and accurate passes on a bizarre night in Pullman. Mariota may have cured any doubters in the Heisman pundit camp with his performance in a 38-31 victory against the Cougs.

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He completed 21-of-25 passes for 329 yards and five touchdowns, but it was more of the same -- timely runs and pintpoint 4th-down completions -- that set then tone against a feisty Cougars squad, one that never backed down.

Mariota's fourth down conversion late in the third may get lost in the shuffle of great plays he'll make this season, but it shouldn't. Plays like that one define his importance to this Oregon squad. Mariota was a one-man wrecking crew for Oregon, who needed it all with a struggling offensive line. 

[Related: Mariota goes airborne for the TD against Wyoming]

As long as the Ducks have Mariota, it appears they're in just fine shape moving forward.

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