Oregon Ducks QB Marcus Mariota will play this week 'for sure'

Bold proclamations did not work out well for Oregon last week, but quarterback Marcus Mariota made a declaration Monday that should be a little bit easier to live up to, announcing that he would play against Utah in spite of a knee injury.

Asked if he would play vs. the Utes, Mariota told reporters, "For sure."

Mariota is reportedly dealing with a sprained MCL, though the Ducks have not disclosed the exact nature of the ailment that forced the redshirt sophomore to wear a heavy brace on his left knee in last week's 26-20 loss at Stanford. Mariota seemingly exacerbated the injury at the end of a scramble in the third quarter, but returned to complete all eight of his fourth-quarter pass attempts for 115 yards and two touchdowns.

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What was obvious to everyone is Mariota was a non-factor in the running game, rushing just three times, and struggling to move in the pocket against the Stanford pass rush (Mariota was sacked three times, bringing his official total to six carries).

Mariota said he would be more comfortable playing with the brace this week, but would consider taking himself out of the game if he could not run the offense effectively.

"If it gets to that point, I will make that judgment," Mariota said. "But I've been taught my whole life not to show weakness, and I'm not going to fade away from that."

Redshirt freshman Jeff Lockie, who has completed 8 of 11 passes for 57 yards and one interception and rushed for 28 yards and one touchdown on four carries in seven games this season, is Mariota's backup.

Mariota and UO need to win their final three games and have Stanford lose one of its final two conference games to win the Pac-12 North and host the Pac-12 championship game.

Follow Dan Greenspan on Twitter @DanGreenspan.

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