Referees at both the NFL and collegiate levels have been cracking down on anything that can be construed as a late hit or hit to the head. Because of that, football has been subject to an increasing amount of questionable penalties.
During Oregon’s 42-14 blowout of UCLA, however, Ducks quarterback Marcus Mariota told the game’s refs to keep their yellow flags in their pockets. Talk about a “hang loose” mentality from the native Hawaiian.
Bruins linebacker Jordan Zumwalt had been playing aggressively all night. At one point, he bumped Mariota as the two were moving out of bounds. The refs were ready to call a penalty, but Mariota traded the free yardage for some tough guy points.
Anthony Barr said he heard Mariota tell refs on Saturday not to call a late hit on Jordan Zumwalt, and to let them play. Earned him respect.
— Ryan Kartje (@Ryan_Kartje) October 28, 2013
Anthony Barr said Marcus Mariota’s toughness may be underrated. Took a hit from Jordan Zumwalt past sideline, told ref not to throw flag.
— Jack Wang (@thejackwang) October 28, 2013
Defenders have grown increasingly frustrated with what they have seen as a coddling of offensive stars.
This shows that Mariota, for his part, doesn’t want to be coddled, but rather to prove that he is as tough as anybody out there.
Not only can he wrestle with the big boys, but Mariota also has a solid head on his shoulders. He told Rob Moseley of GoDucks.com that he just keeps his cool when guys are trying to get into his head.
“I don’t know,” Mariota said. “I just try to keep my head, and my guys did an awesome job keeping their heads. They did come after us a couple times, and for our guys to hold their character really says a lot about this team.”
Just one more reason (that and his Pac-12 record streak of 292 consecutive throws without an interception) that he may be hoisting the Heisman Trophy at the end of the year.