Oregon Hands Tennessee Worst Loss In 108 Years
By Dan Harralson
Oregon is well-tuned to say the least. Offensively and defensively. The Ducks defeated the Volunteers, 59-14. Here are five takeaways from Saturday's game:
1. Oregon had eight consecutive touchdown drives after trailing 7-0. The blueprint in slowing down and causing problems for Oregon's offense is pressuring the quarterback, and Tennessee didn't do it: 59 points makes that apparent.
2. The first loss of the Butch Jones era at Tennessee was the worst in program history since the Vols lost by 45 points at Georgia Tech in 1905. The Yellow Jackets won that one, 45-0. In the modern era, the worst loss had taken place in 1981 when Tennessee lost at Georgia, 44-0.
3. Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota completed 22 of 33 passes for 456 yards and four touchdowns. The Ducks produced 687 yards of total offense. Chip Kelly was Chip Kelly for this Oregon program, but Mark Helfrich may be the guy to get Oregon to the next level and hoist the crystal ball. I know we're only three games into the Helfrich regime, but the feeling is there that he may be the guy to get it done. It was his offense before and still is. Being more personable and less prickly can only help Helfrich on and off the field.
4. A 51-yard completion to Josh Smith in the first quarter was Justin Worley's lone highlight of the day (13-of-25 for 126 yards, 1 TD). The Vols will need much better quarterback play next week at Florida. The Gators are a low-scoring team, but their defense can cause problems and Worley will need to translate the Oregon game experience into production. The Vols were 5-of-13 on third downs against Oregon. That will have to improve if the Vols want hope of winning in Gainesville.
5. Oregon wants Bama. But does Bama want Oregon? The crowd of 57,895 at Autzen Stadium, particularly the student section, chanted "We want Bama!" in the second quarter. Alabama came out of College Station with a W over Texas A&M, but 42 points are a lot to surrender. The Ducks I'm sure are chomping at the bit seeing that.
"Coming in we knew we had to pretty much play error-free football. We did the things you can't do against an extremely talented football team: too many loss leverage football plays, missed tackles in space. Offensively I didn't think we helped our defense out. Too many three and outs.
"We've got to be able to run the football more. I thought Worley did a great job at the line of scrimmage. We pride ourselves as a physical, blue-collar football team. I thought they won the line of scrimmage battle and that can't happen."