July 24, 2012; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Oregon Ducks head coach Chip Kelly talks to the media during PAC-12 Media Day at Universal Studios Hollywood. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-US PRESSWIRE
Oregon Ducks quarterback Marcus Mariota beats out Bryan Bennett for the starting quarterback position.
The Oregon Ducks have named Marcus Mariota their starting quarterback for the first game of the season against Arkansas State. Mariota beat out Bryan Bennett in a closely contested race that lasted through the spring and well into the fall.
Oregon was thrust into the middle of an unexpected quarterback battle when Darron Thomas decided to forego his senior season and declare for the NFL Draft. The two candidates for the job appeared to be the redshirt freshman Mariota from Honolulu and the redshirt sophomore Bennett, who was Thomas' backup and performed well in relief last season. Mariota had the better spring game though, and has proven to be the player best suited for running Chip Kelly's offense with his playmaking ability as both a runner and a passer. Mariota will make his first start for Oregon next Saturday.