Santa Clara, CA (SportsNetwork.com) - Oregon wasn't going to let Arizona ruin its national title dreams for a second straight season.
The Ducks were 9-1 going into last year's meeting in Arizona, which the Wildcats won 42-16. Oregon followed that up with a 31-24 home loss to a then- unranked Arizona squad back in October.
Since then, the third-ranked Ducks have won eight straight games, including a 51-13 rout of the eighth-ranked Wildcats in the Pac-12 championship game at Levi's Stadium.
Marcus Mariota, the front-runner for the Heisman Trophy, accounted for five touchdowns on Friday and the Ducks assuredly locked up a spot in the first College Football Playoff. Oregon (12-1, 8-1 Pac-12) entered the game No. 2 in the CFP rankings.
Mariota completed 25-of-38 passes for 303 yards and two touchdowns for the Ducks, who racked up 617 yards of total offense. The mobile junior from Hawaii has thrown for at least one touchdown in each of the first 39 games he's played at Oregon, an FBS record.
"If this guy isn't what the Heisman Trophy is all about, then I'm in the wrong profession," said Oregon coach Mark Helfrich.
Mariota also carried the ball 10 times for 33 yards and three scores for Oregon, which captured its second Pac-12 title. Royce Freeman rushed for 114 yards on 21 carries and Darren Carrington caught seven passes for 126 yards and a touchdown.
Anu Solomon completed 6-of-12 passes for 34 yards for the Wildcats (10-3, 7-2), who entered the contest No. 7 in the CFP rankings. Jesse Scroggins started the second half and connected on 3-of-9 passes for 79 yards, one touchdown and an interception.
"To win the Pac-12 South is a great accomplishment by our guys and our seniors especially," said Arizona coach Rich Rodriguez. "It might be the toughest division in college football."
Mariota completed 3-of-4 passes for 41 yards on the game's opening drive, but Oregon settled for a 34-yard Aidan Schneider field goal.
Tyrell Johnson fumbled on the ensuing kickoff and the Ducks recovered at the Arizona 37-yard line. An offensive holding penalty brought back a touchdown and Oregon had to settle for another field goal.
The Wildcats moved the ball to the Oregon 31-yard line, but an offensive holding penalty killed the drive. The Ducks then turned the ball over on downs at the Arizona 25.
The score remained 6-0 early in the second quarter when Oregon was ready to go for it on 4th-and-goal from the 1. A pair of false start penalties forced the field-goal unit to come out, but Schneider missed a 27-yarder.
After forcing a three-and-out, the Ducks finally found the end zone. Following a defensive pass interference penalty, Mariota used his legs to score from seven yards out.
Oregon added 10 more points before the half to pull away. Charles Nelson's 73- yard catch-and-run led to another touchdown. Mariota scored from four yards out to make it 20-0 with 1:34 left.
Arizona's offense continued to struggle and Schneider added a 31-yard field goal as time expired. Oregon limited the Wildcats to just 25 yards of total offense in the first half.
Mariota's 4-yard touchdown pass to Devon Allen early in the third quarter was his 100th career TD toss. Arizona finally got on the board two plays later, as Cayleb Jones caught a 69-yard TD pass from Scroggins.
Carrington's 11-yard TD catch and Mariota's 1-yard touchdown run made it 44-7 after three periods.
Kenny Bassett ripped off a 19-yard TD run with 4:12 to play and Jerrard Randall scored on the final play of the game.
Oregon leads the all-time series, 25-16 ... Arizona was trying to win its first-ever Pac-12 title ... Nelson caught seven passes for 104 yards ... Randall carried the ball 11 times for 74 yards ... Mariota reached 12,000 yards of total offense, 10,000 career passing yards and 100 career passing touchdowns over the course of the evening. He extended his own school records in all three categories.