by Rob Moseley
An interesting anecdote emerged out of Los Angeles this morning.
You might recall that, in Saturday's Oregon win over UCLA, Bruins linebacker Jordan Zumwalt was more than a little chippy in the early going. If you need a refresher, somebody compiled a "highlight" tape of some notable moments involving Zumwalt and, primarily, De'Anthony Thomas.
Late in the second half, Zumwalt also had a run-in with Marcus Mariota. The UO quarterback was scrambling out of bounds, and Zumwalt launched himself into Mariota right at the sideline.
There were no flags on the play. And perhaps Mariota had something to do with that.
"Anthony Barr said he heard Mariota tell refs on Saturday not to call a late hit on Jordan Zumwalt, and to let them play," Ryan Kartje of the Orange County Register reported this morning. "Earned him respect."
Jack Wang of the Los Angeles News Group reported it thusly: "Anthony Barr said Marcus Mariota's toughness may be underrated. Took a hit from Jordan Zumwalt past sideline, told ref not to throw flag."
Not only did Mariota apparently say something to officials, but he tapped Zumwalt on the helmet while running back inbounds, as if to say, "good job, good effort." It was a classy move on Mariota's part, staying above the fray, but it may have served a dual purpose.
I may be overlooking something later on, but for the most part I didn't notice Zumwalt acting out much after that -- beyond his lame attempt to leg-whip Bralon Addison after an ankle-breaking cut by the UO receiver.
After the game, I asked Mariota about that exact incident between he and Zumwalt, and whether it threw the UCLA linebacker off his game.
"I don't know," Mariota said. "I just try to keep my head, and my guys did an awesome job keeping their heads. They did come after us a couple times, and for our guys to hold their character really says a lot about this team."
Says a lot about the quarterback who sets that tone, too.