The Tennessee Volunteers had themselves a decent first quarter in Eugene on Saturday and trailed the Oregon Ducks just 10-7 heading into the second, but then reality began to match everyone's expectations. Oregon scored four unanswered touchdowns in the second quarter as part of a 59-0 run that left absolutely no doubt about which team was going to win.
What was interesting was that, in rather un-Oregon like fashion, the Ducks did it through the air, with Marcus Mariota passing for 456 yards. Josh Huff and John Mundt both went over 120 yards receiving, Mundt playing over Colt Lyerla for undisclosed reasons.
The Ducks still had the sloppy beginning, and still have things to work on heading into the bye week. But three blowout wins to start the season, and a week off before conference play. It's a good time to be a Duck.
The Run Game: Fine, but fine won't cut it
Rajion Neal and Marlin Lane combined for 105 yards on 25 carries, 4.2 per. That's okay, especially considering we're playing the number-two team in the country, but because the number-two team in the country was Oregon, not being better on the ground put the Vols in down-and-distance situations that were just a little more than what we wanted. How did Oregon put up 59 points? In part because we kept putting them back on the field.
Pacific Takes was really impressed with the way the Ducks kept their cool and battled back after trailing early.
I know Chip Kelly's teams responded well to wake-up calls over the past few years, and as the rest of the conference knows too well, an early lead over Oregon might not necessarily be a good thing while Kelly was on the sidelines. Mark Helfrich hadn't dealt with this situation yet, so naturally, Duck fans were a bit restless as Tennessee fans sang Rocky Top to a silent Autzen Stadium in the first quarter.
As soon as the Oregon's offense came back on the field, it was all Ducks from there on out. While a penalty forced Oregon to settle for a field goal on their first drive, the Ducks bounced back with eight more consecutive scoring drives, putting the game out of reach halfway through the second quarter.
Our SEC gurus at Team Speed Kills saw just about what they expected.
The turnaround in Knoxville is not going to be rapid, as pretty much everyone knew. This game simply confirmed it. So there's nothing really lost in this loss except a bit of the Vols' pride; but there's also nothing that Tennessee really gained.