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Aliotti defense seals Alamo win, 11-2 season, Top Ten ranking

Marcus Mariota ran for 133 yards and passed for 253 in leading the Ducks to a 30-7 Alamo Bowl win over Texas Monday night. 

The Oregon offense sputtered in the red zone and shot itself in the foot with missed blocks and untimely penalties, but pick sixes by Avery Patterson and Derrick Malone (37 and 38 yards) kept an inept Texas offense at bay. Oregon led 10-0 early, 20-7 after a pivotal 88-yard drive just before halftime, and added a field goal and Malone's interception return in the second half.

Super Mario: three weeks after being snubbed by the Heisman, only leg cramps could slow down Marcus Mariota at the Alamo Bowl. He accounted for 387 yards and a touchdown in a 30-7 win as the Ducks finish 11-2 and ranked in the Top Ten (Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports).

For Texas, Malcolm Brown bulldozed his way for 130 yards on 26 carries. The rest of the offense produced 106 yards in 41 touches, 2.6 yards per try. McCoy threw for 75 yards and two touchdowns to the Oregon defense; 48 yards to his own receivers. The Longhorns further aided UO with five dropped passes, two of which could have been big plays.

In Nick Aliotti's final game as defensive coordinator, his unit forced six three and outs, scored 14 points and pitched a second half shutout, holding Texas to just 236 yards for the game.

In Mark Helfrich's first year as head coach, the Ducks achieved an 11-2 record, a Top Ten ranking, and the Alamo Bowl Trophy, a solid B+ effort after struggling in November following Mariota's knee injury.

Healthy tonight, Mariota zoomed past a stop-the-running back defense, gashing the Longhorns for 8.9 yards a carry on his way to a career high in rushing yards. He was bothered by leg cramps in the second half and not nearly as effective, but the performance earned him Player of the Game honors.

Matt Wogan kicked three of four field goals for the Ducks and senior punter Alejandro Maldonado twice pinned Texas inside the 10.

In his last game as a Webfoot, De'Anthony Thomas was not a significant factor, grabbing two passes for 24 yards, running 3 times for 13 yards.

Oregon's 470 yards of offense added up to a new season high for total offense, despite a great deal of criticism throughout the year for Scott Frost's play-calling.

After Tyler Johnstone left the game in the first quarter with a torn ACL, senior Everett Benyard filled in admirably at left tackle, doing a steady job as the Ducks mounted one touchdown and three field goal drives. Spurred by Mariota's big night, the Ducks churned out 217 yards on the ground.

Josh Huff set a new single-season receiving yardage record with his 6th 100-yard game of the season, catching 5 passes for 104 yards and a touchdown.

The Ducks got a determined effort from their defensive front seven that featured sacks by Joe Walker and Rodney Hardrick, and some tenacious inside play from Wade Keliikipi and Taylor Hart.

With Mariota, Grasu and possibly Ifo returning, along with a strong recruiting class, the win sets up the Ducks for a Top Ten ranking next year and a run at the PAC-12 and national titles. 10 of 11 starters return on offense, a reliable field goal kicker in Wogan, and the defense returns Malone, Hardrick, Buckner, Balducci, Armstead, Washington, Prevot, Robinson, Armstead, Ifo (possibly) Erick Dargan and Reggie Daniels. Some younger players will have to grow into larger roles, but it's a nucleus that could achieve great things, particularly if Helfrich makes an impact hire at defensive coordinator.

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