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Record-setting night for Mariota


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SANTA CLARA, Calif. >> Marcus Mariota made a rare mistake and threw an interception — his first since the Oregon State game last season — on a pass that was deflected twice.

Oregon coach Mark Helfrich could only smile.

The No. 6 Ducks are on a roll and Mariota’s turnover hardly slowed them at all.

Mariota matched his season high with five touchdown passes and broke the Oregon record for career passing yards in the Ducks’ 59-41 victory over California on Friday night in the first college game at Levi’s Stadium.

"During the game I was upset," Mariota said. "Coach came and joked with me and got me to relax a little bit and forget about it. It’s OK. It happens. I just have to learn from it."

Mariota completed 18 of 30 passes for 326 yards. The miscue ended his streak of passes without an interception at 253.

Mariota pushed his career total to 8,625 yards, breaking Bill Musgrave’s record of 8,343 on the Ducks’ opening possession with the first of two touchdown throws to Dwayne Stanford. The junior quarterback has at least one TD pass in all 34 of his career games.

"You might want to go buy a lottery ticket, Marcus made a couple of mistakes," Helfrich said. "I’m actually glad, I think, that that happened to get him off the schneid."

Royce Freeman ran for 112 yards and two touchdowns to overcome an early turnover, and Charles Nelson scored on a 58-yard punt return to help Oregon (7-1, 4-1 Pac-12) win its sixth straight against Cal.

Jared Goff passed for 360 yards and two touchdowns for Cal (4-4, 2-4), but the Bears couldn’t overcome multiple breakdowns and lost their third straight.

Mariota had scoring throws of 22, 9 and 24 yards in the first half alone. That made it easy to overlook his interception.

"It’s almost funny, you just expect him to be perfect," Helfrich said. "Marcus is such a stud. It’s great that he has another 11/2 years left."

The game drew an announced crowd of 55,575 at Levi’s Stadium, home of the NFL’s San Francisco 49ers. Large sections of Oregon fans attended the game, negating any homefield advantage Cal might have had.

Mariota and Co. didn’t disappoint the faithful and moved Oregon one step closer to playing for the Pac-12 championship in December. That game also will be played at Levi’s Stadium.

The Ducks got a lift from their defense, too.

Oregon forced a fumble by Goff deep in Cal territory to set up Aidan Schneider’s 23-yard field goal in the first half. Oregon also stopped the Bears on fourth-and-1 near midfield, and Mariota capitalized with a 9-yard touchdown pass to Pharaoh Brown.

Nelson’s 58-yard punt return made it 31-14. He took off down the Oregon sideline before cutting back near the 25 and outracing a trio of Bears.

Cal cut it to 31-28 late in the second quarter before the Ducks pulled away.

"We made too many mistakes in the ballgame to beat a team as good as Oregon," Bears coach Sonny Dykes said. "We’ve just got to get more disciplined. Guys are trying to make some plays and sometimes are trying to do too much."

Boise State 55, BYU 30

BOISE, Idaho >> Grant Hedrick threw for a career-high 410 yards and had four touchdown passes in Boise State’s victory.

Hedrick was 24-for-31 with one interception and also ran for a touchdown in the Broncos’ highest-scoring game of the season. Boise State (6-2) had the highest points total against BYU since Tulsa handed the Cougars a 55-47 loss in 2007. BYU (4-4) has lost four straight for the first time since 2010.

Cincinnati 34, South Florida 17

CINCINNATI >> Gunner Kiel threw a touchdown pass and ran for another score before hurting his ribs again, and Munchie Legaux took it from there, scoring a touchdown while the Bearcats (4-3, 2-1 American Athletic) pulled away from the Bulls (3-5, 2-2). 

Kiel has played the last five games with bruised ribs. He aggravated the injury on a scramble in the closing seconds of the first half, which finished with the Bearcats up 20-3.

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