The Oregon Ducks arrived in Dallas on Friday afternoon. AT&T Stadium in Arlington, home of the Dallas Cowboys, will be the site of Monday’s national championship game.
The Ducks were missing one of their most potent pass catchers in wide receiver Darren Carrington, who caught two touchdowns in last week’s Rose Bowl win over Florida State. Carrington is ineligble for Monday’s game after failing an NCAA drug test. Also declared ineligble for the same reason will be running back Ayele Ford.
If anyone has shown they can operate without his best teammates, it’s Hawaii’s Heisman Trophy winner, quarterback Marcus Mariota.
KHON2 was lucky enough to catch up with the guys that will be calling the big game on ESPN, Kirk Herbstreit and Chris Fowler, and they did not deny that this could be the legacy game for Heisman Trophy winner and Saint Louis School grad Marcus Mariota.
“(Winning) a championship game would elevate him into a pretty rare group of guys,” Fowler said. “You combine a national championship, a Heisman Trophy and a bunch of other trophies, records, three years of incredible and individual team success, exemplary behavior off the field — I mean, what else could the guy do?
“I think he would join a pretty short list of quarterbacks in modern college football,” he said.
Well, I think he’s already created quite a legacy for himself,” Herbstreit said. “Obviously, for his family and for the folks back in Hawaii, I know they are very proud of what’s he done. How could you not be?”
When asked what he thought what impact Oregon defensive end DeForest Buckner could have on the game, Fowler said “Buckner, to me, is a very consistent down-in, down-out kind of player. He’s got a good motor, doesn’t take plays off, he’s got a big body, and everybody knows Ohio State’s going to try to run right at him.
“Oregon, to most of us long ago, dispelled the notion of as being a soft team or not a physical team. Well, I’d say in Columbus, Ohio, they’re still going to test you. They don’t care what you think. You are what your identity is. When Ohio State plays you, they’re going to run right at you, believe me. They believe they can muscle Oregon on both sides of the ball and that’s the excitement to see if they’re right or not.”
Saturday will be filled with activity, as the teams will have their meeting with the media in the morning, and then practice in the afternoon.