Mariota, Ekpre-Olomu semifinalists for the 77th annual Maxwell Award


University of Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota and cornerback Ifo Ekpre-Olomu are semifinalists for the 77th annual Maxwell Award for Collegiate Player of the Year and 19th Chuck Bednarik Award for the Outstanding Defensive Player of the Year, respectively.

Mariota, a sophomore from Honolulu, has piloted an Oregon offense that ranks second nationally in scoring (55.6) and total offense (632.1), completing 64-percent of his passes for 2,281 yards and 20 touchdowns without an interception. A Heisman Trophy frontrunner for the unbeaten Ducks, Mariota also has 511 rushing yards and nine scores, averaging 9.13 yards per carry. He ranks second in the nation in points responsible for with 174.

The Pac-12 Offensive Player of the year and all-conference quarterback in 2012, Mariota is also on watch lists for the Walder Camp Award, Davey O’Brien Award and Manning Award. He has a 20-1 record as a starter for the No. 2 Ducks, having never lost a game in regulation in his career.

Ekpre-Olomu, a junior from Chino Hills, Calif., earned his second semifinalist nod for a major honor in as many days, following Monday’s selection by the Jim Thorpe Award. Oregon’s second-leading tackler has 44 total stops, including 25 solo, and his presence alone is a big reason the Ducks rank fourth nationally in takeaways (23). He has 2.0 tackles for loss and a pair of interceptions through the first eight games of the season.

An all-Pac-12 and third-team all-America choice in 2012, Ekpre-Olomu is also on the watch list for the Bronko Nagurski Trophy.

Three finalists for each award will be announced on Nov. 25 and a second round of voting will take place at that time. The winners of both awards will be announced as part of the Home Depot College Football Awards Show, aired live by ESPN on Dec. 12.