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Bill Musgrave, Marcus Mariota Forever Linked In Oregon Ducks Record Book

When going through the offensive records for the University of Oregon football program, two names in particular stand above the rest – Tennessee Titans rookie quarterback Marcus Mariota and Oakland Raiders offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave.

Although 22 years, countless uniform combinations, and a few multi-million dollar amenities separated their time in Eugene, the pair, in some sense will for forever be linked – even if it's just in the program's record books.

"My time in Eugene was such a long time ago," recounted Musgrave. "Things were completely different then. The stadium was not as big; the facilities weren't what they are now. It was a good group of players and coaches, similar to what Marcus had."

Also similar to Mariota, Musgrave enjoyed a stellar collegiate career during which he etched his name into the University of Oregon record book – 15 times.

"The fellas that played there in the '70s whether it be Dan Fouts, or in the '80s with Chris Miller, and our group there, it was just a great place to go to school," Musgrave said. "A great place to play in the Pac-10."

After his four years under center for the Ducks concluded Musgrave was the program's career leader in passing yards (8,343), total offense (8,140), and also had 13 other benchmarks to his name.

In addition to the records he set while in Eugene, Musgrave is also widely credited for ushering in a new era of Oregon football as he was the first quarterback to lead the team to back-to-back bowl appearances, and he boasted an impressive 25-10 overall record as a starter.

His plethora of records remained out of reach for two decades and seemed to be safe, that is until 2012 when a young quarterback from Honolulu, Hawaii, arrived on campus.

"It took me a long, hard four years to get those numbers and Marcus blew them out of the water in less than three years," Musgrave said with a laugh. "That tells you a lot. He's a tremendous athlete. He had an incredible career at Oregon and from all accounts he's even a better person."

After his time in Eugene, Musgrave, like Mariota, headed to the NFL, playing for five seasons for the San Francisco 49ers and Denver Broncos.

Once his playing career ended, he then transitioned into coaching and after numerous stops, including Carolina, Jacksonville, Atlanta and Minnesota, Musgrave once again found himself with a connection to his alma mater in 2014 when he accepted a position as quarterbacks coach under former-Oregon Head Coach Chip Kelly.

"It was good to be able to look behind the scenes at how Chip had orchestrated the success at Oregon and how that offense had really had a lot of success by going fast," Musgrave said.

After completing a 10-6 campaign with the Eagles, Musgrave re-united with Head Coach Jack Del Rio and became the offensive coordinator for the Raiders – a job that provided him with a young quarterback of his own to shape an offense around.

"Derek [Carr] is very consistent in his approach," Musgrave said when describing the Raiders signal caller. "He's the same young man every day. He comes to work with the right attitude and looks to get better, not only each and every week on Sunday, but each and every day at practice."

While many consider Carr to be more of a traditional pocket passer than Mariota, Musgrave isn't so quick to dismiss his quarterback's natural athleticism in comparison to the 2014 Heisman Trophy winner.

"Both of them are great athletes," he said. "They played multiple sports growing up, so they definitely have the ability to improvise and make plays with their legs as well as their arms."

While Musgrave has never met Mariota, he'll get his first chance to see him up close and personal Sunday afternoon when the Raiders travel to Nashville to take on the Tennessee Titans.

The matchup will feature a battle between two, young quarterbacks, but for those with an affinity for the Pacific Northwest, it will also be a battle between two University of Oregon greats.

Yes, Mariota is now the sole owner of many of those same records that Musgrave held for over 20 years, but for the man inducted into the University of Oregon Athletic Hall of Fame in 2000, only one record will matter Sunday – the overall record of the Raiders when they fly out Nashville and return to Oakland.

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