Beating Michigan State is, of course, foremost on the mind of Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota as the Ducks' electric offense prepares to battle the Spartans' vaunted defense. But foremost at stake for his NFL draft hopes is his individual performance, and an AFC college scouting director told NFL Media's Albert Breer exactly what he'll be looking for from Mariota on Saturday (6:30 p.m. ET, FOX).
"They (MSU) have the ability to rush out of different looks -- four-man, five-man. ... I just want to see him throw (in those conditions) with accuracy into tight windows," the college scouting director told Breer.
Translation: Michigan State's defense should be the toughest the Ducks face all season, and as such, review of Mariota's film from the game should carry more weight with NFL scouts than his play against lesser competition. Wyoming just won't provide the same look when the Cowboys meet the Ducks next week. Two of the prime Michigan State talents that will be looking to make Mariota's film a bad one are defensive end Shilique Calhoun and safety Kurtis Drummond. In fact, NFL Media analyst Bucky Brooks ranks Mariota vs. the Michigan State secondary as the most intriguing matchup of Week 2.
Just as Mariota has a little more on the line draft-wise in this game, so do Calhoun and Drummond.
As for Mariota's Heisman Trophy hopes, carving up the Spartans for 300-plus yards would look awfully good on his resume in December, particularly if the Ducks are carrying a zero in the loss column.