The Oregon Ducks offense moves at the speed of light, and Saturday afternoon in Autzen Stadium, they looked like yellow streaks. Donning their neon yellow uniforms, #2 Oregon raced up and down the field with ease and used a 28 point second quarter to demoralize the visiting Tennessee Volunteers in route to a 59-14 victory. After punting on their starting drive, the Ducks did not punt again until the 4th quarter.
Things started off well for the Vols, as they took an early 7-0 lead with a 6 play 80 yard drive, which culminated with a 4 yard TD pass to redshirt freshman WR Jason Croom. Things quickly turned around and UT found themselves down 10-7 at the end of the 1st quarter. Oregon scored on the 1st play of the 2nd quarter to start distancing themselves from the outmanned Volunteers. By halftime, Oregon used 5 consecutive TD scoring drives to lead 38-7.
The Ducks replaced their starters midway through the 3rd quarter and put up another 21 points to increase their already staggering lead to 59-7 going into the 4th quarter. Behind a career game for QB Marcus Mariota, Oregon dominated every facet of game. Mariota threw for 456 yards and 4 TDs before coming out of the game halfway into the 3rd quarter.
For the Vols, starting QB Justin Worley really struggled to move the offense. Going 13-25, Worley threw for 126 yards and 1 TD, however 49 yards came on one catch and run by freshman WR Josh Smith. Punt after punt by the Vols led to TD after TD for Oregon, as this game was all but over at halftime. “We have to run more efficiently. Too many 3&outs. Can’t do that to our defense. Oregon won line of scrimmage battle,” Jones said, “ This is unacceptable when you play football at the University of Tennessee.”
The disappointing showing for the Vols will leave them to regroup and refocus heading into Florida week. “We need to regroup. It’s a very, very long season. We’re going to find out our competitive spirit.” Jones said following the loss. “I haven’t lost any faith in our football team. I love our players. We just have to keep getting better.”
For Tennessee fans who thought it would be easy to return to prominence, this game should temper such expectations. Butch Jones has and will continue to preach about the process. “Oregon has depth. Great football teams have depth. We’ll get to that point. We have to continue to develop our players and recruit.” Jones told the media. “We have to focus on the process. We have to keep going to work every day.”
Oregon moves the 3-0 on the season and will have a bye week before hosting California on September 28. For Tennessee, they fall to 2-1 and will plat at idle Florida next Saturday.