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Monday, April 30, 2012
Pac-12 scrimmage roundup

By Kevin Gemmell

Catching you up on all of the scrimmage and spring game info from over the weekend.

OREGON

One of the most secretive quarterback competitions in the country made a very public splash as Marcus Mariota outshined Bryan Bennett in Oregon's spring game.

Mariota ran for an 82-yard touchdown, threw for another and led his team to four touchdowns on five drives. He completed 18 of 26 passes with a score and an interception while rushing for 99 yards on five carries.

Bennett, conversely, was 19-of-32 for 209 yards, throwing two interceptions (including a pick-six) and he also fumbled.

“That’s why you have days like this,” UO coach Chip Kelly said. “It’s interesting to see how guys react.”

A very important note from Rob Moseley of The Register-Guard:
Afterward, Kelly and offensive coordinator Mark Helfrich reiterated that Bennett and Mariota will be judged on their entire bodies of work from this spring, and that the Ducks won’t feel any pressure to name a starter until the week of their 2012 opener, Sept. 1 against Arkansas State. Public opinion, at least, no doubt swayed toward Mariota on Saturday.

In other words, while Saturday provided a nice peek behind the curtain, official word probably isn't coming any time soon.

OREGON STATE

Sean Mannion completed 8 of 15 passes for 81 yards with no touchdowns and an interception. Backup quarterback Cody Vaz, who coach Mike Riley has singled out numerous times for having a good spring, was 11-of-21 for 151 yards with a touchdown and an interception.

“I thought they both made some good throws and plays in general,” Riley said. “I feel like we have two starting quarterbacks right now.”

Malcolm Agnew had the lone rushing touchdown while Jordan Jenkins led the way with nine carries for 45 yards. Storm Woods carried eight times for 37 yards. Kicker Trevor Romaine connected on field goals of 41, 33 and 45 yards.

Ryan Murphy, Micah Audiss and Peter Ashton all recorded interceptions for the defense and Audiss blocked a 50-yard field goal attempt.

“We have a long way to go before we win a game, but there were guys making plays today,” Riley said. “We had a great spring practice session and I’m excited to get going again this fall.”

UCLA

The Bruins might be a step closer to naming a starting quarterback, writes Chris Foster of the LA Times.

Redshirt freshman Brett Hundley had a strong showing on Saturday, working almost exclusively with the first-team offense, where he completed 7 of 11 passes that included a 28-yard touchdown to Shaquelle Evans and he also added a 5-yard scramble for a touchdown.

"Getting 24 plays was fun," Hundley told Foster. "But I don't worry about whether I'm getting looked at longer. I just trying to master my craft."

It appears Hundley is finally starting to distance himself from seniors Kevin Prince and Richard Brehaut, the other two top contenders for the starting job. But despite the surge over the past few practices from Hundley, head coach Jim Mora wasn't ready to name anyone the starter yet.

"We will announce it at the appropriate time, when it becomes apparent, when we have a chance to sit down as a staff and talk about which way want to go," Mora said.

WASHINGTON

Washington's defense was the stronger unit in Saturday's Spring Game.

In a format with the defense being awarded points for stops, turnovers, etc., the defense topped the offense 36-10. With close to 12,000 fans on hand at CenturyLink Field, head coach Steve Sarkisian saw a defensive unit that was much maligned last season show encouraging improvement.

"I thought our guys defensively really played well and that's on a lot of fronts," head coach Steve Sarkisian said after the game. "One, I thought we lined up really well. We didn't have a bunch of busts where we lined up wrong. They were aggressive. They played enthusiastic and I thought one of the big telling things defensively is that they won a lot of the one-on-one battles, especially down the field with the ball in the air. They closed on the ball and they were confident closing on the ball in the back end and they made plays. That was extremely encouraging.''

Quarterback Keith Price completed 14 of 28 passes for 168 yards and a touchdown. Running back Bishop Sankey did the bulk of the work on the ground, rushing for 34 yards on 11 carries. James Johnson led the receiving corps with six catches for 42 yards.

But the story was defense. Andrew Hudson helped lead the charge for the Huskies with six tackles, a pair of sacks and 2.5 tackles for a loss.