Justin Herbert & Marcus Mariota share "special moment" in national spotlight


It was an Oregon football fan's dream! 

Two of the most beloved players in recent memory squared off on the football field on Thursday Night Football. 

Justin Herbert vs. Marcus Mariota: One team had to lose, but it wasn't Ducks fans.

Justin Herbert, the favorite to win the Rookie Offensive Player of the Year, saw an early lead when former Heisman Trophy winner Marcus Mariota was summoned after a groin injury to Raiders starting QB Derek Carr. 

Mariota, who has dealt with injuries of his own this season, wasted no time in throwing the first punch. 

But Herbert wasn't without his fair share of highlights, either. 

The night ended with a leap into the end zone and a Chargers victory, 30-27.

And here's how the night ended for the two Ducks QBs:

  • Justin Herbert: 22 for 32, 314 yards, 2 TDs passing, 1 TD rushing
  • Marcus Mariota: 17 for 28, 226 yards, 1 TD passing, 1 TD rushing

There were no losers if you're an Oregon Ducks fan. 

And while Herbert claimed victory over Mariota, the two showed their respect for each other after the game. 

These two have mutual admiration for each other. Marcus Mariota consoled Justin Herbert after another heartbreaking loss in November, a true testament to Mariota's character. 

Now, it was Herbert's turn. Only, it didn't seem like consoling as much as a celebration. 


After the game, Herbert and Mariota discussed what it was like to play one another: 

“I just kind of told him how awesome it was to be able to play him," Herbert said of his interaction with Mariota postgame.

“It was special for me," Mariota said. "I’ve gotten to know Justin. Him and my brother were close at Oregon, so it was really cool to see, kind of his level and how he’s playing and how well he’s been doing. It was cool to see him get the record, and again, just being a fan of the game, being a fan of Oregon players, it was really cool, really special for me.”

Herbert, being a native of Eugene, Oregon and a product of Sheldon High School, had a chance to see Mariota up close prior to joining the Ducks football program. 

Mariota became the first player in program history to win the Heisman Trophy. He helped pave the way for players like Herbert, who picked up the torch and carried it even further despite not winning a Heisman Trophy himself. 

"I think it’s just been an awesome experience to be out here and play against him," Herbert said. "[He's] one of my heroes. It was a really cool experience.”