3:30 PM ET, September 14, 2013
Autzen Stadium, EUGENE, OR
Mariota Sets Career Highs
EUGENE, Ore. -- Oregon's Marcus Mariota had no idea he had thrown for more than 400 yards against Tennessee until he got to the locker room after the game and some of his teammates pointed it out.
The low-key sophomore finished with a career-high 456 yards passing, including four touchdowns, in the second-ranked Ducks' 59-14 victory Saturday.
More from ESPN.com
Oregon scored 59 straight points and rolled to an easy 59-14 victory because Marcus Mariota completely befuddled the Vols defense, writes Ted Miller. Blog
"It's pretty cool, I guess," he said.
Mariota, who completed 23 of 33 passes, was the first Oregon quarterback to throw for more than 400 yards in a game since Kellen Clemens in 2005.
His yardage ties for the third-most in a game in school history, and he easily extended his string of at least one touchdown in all of his 16 games for Oregon. The streak is third among active quarterbacks.
Mariota said it was never Oregon's plan to throw that much against the Vols.
"It just happened," he said, "and we went for it."
To the tune of handing the Volunteers their worst varsity loss since a 48-0 defeat to Mississippi State in 1910.
Oregon's sloppy play at the start -- four penalties for 35 yards in the first quarter -- helped Tennessee (2-1) take an early lead, but it was fleeting and the Ducks led 38-7 at halftime.
Justin Worley completed 13 of 25 passes for 127 yards and a touchdown for the Volunteers, who opened the season with easy home wins over Austin Peay and Western Kentucky. But Tennessee could not keep up with the speedy Ducks, who had 687 yards in total offense compared to 316 for the Vols.
Oregon was the first of a tough stretch for the Volunteers and first-year coach Butch Jones: No. 18 Florida, No. 9 Georgia, No. 13 South Carolina and No. 1 Alabama are among Tennessee's next five opponents.
"It's unacceptable whether you lose by two or you lose by what we lost by. We're here to win," Jones said. "It better hurt."
Tennessee drove 80 yards in six plays and scored on Worley's 4-yard touchdown pass to Jason Croom to go up 7-0.
After Mariota's 19-yard run got the Ducks to the Tennessee 9-yard line, a fumble and a sack pushed Oregon back to the 15. De'Anthony Thomas appeared to have a 4-yard touchdown catch on fourth down, but it was called back because of pass interference on Oregon and the Ducks settled for a 38-yard field goal by Matt Wogan.
Oregon pulled in front before the first quarter ended with Mariota's 16-yard pass to Mundt. Lyerla was a surprise absence, apparently because of a stomach virus. Oregon would not confirm the reason for his absence.
After Mariota's 9-yard touchdown run extended the lead, he connected with Josh Huff who ran untouched for a 54-yard scoring reception. The Ducks went up 31-7 on Mariota's 45-yard touchdown pass to Daryle Hawkins.
Jones pursed his lips on Tennessee's sideline while the Ducks' student section taunted with chants of "S-E-C, S-E-C!" and "We want `Bama!"
Thomas added a 28-yard scoring run for the Ducks before halftime. Tennessee defensive lineman Trevarris Saulsberry was helped from the field following the TD, but it was unclear how he was hurt.
Mariota found Mundt again with a 17-yard scoring pass early in the second half. Mundt was the first Oregon tight end with at least 100 yards receiving since Ed Dickson in 2009.
Alden Hill's 8-yard touchdown run for Tennessee provided the final margin.
Tennessee was without defensive lineman Maurice Couch, who was ruled ineligible for the game while the university investigates allegations he received improper benefits. Yahoo Sports reported that Couch, former Alabama offensive tackle D.J. Fluker, former Tennessee quarterback Tyler Bray, former Mississippi State defensive tackle Fletcher Cox and former Mississippi State receiver Chad Bumphis received payments from Luther Davis, who acted as a go-between for the players with agents and financial advisers.
Chip Kelly was Oregon's coach three seasons ago when the Ducks visited Tennessee and trailed 13-3 before scoring the game's final 45 points. The 48-13 loss was the last time Tennessee dropped a regular-season game to a non-conference opponent.
Mark Helfrich, Kelly's offensive coordinator for the past four years, was promoted to head coach earlier this year when Kelly went to the NFL's Philadelphia Eagles.
Helfrich agreed that Mariota's passing yards weren't necessarily by design, but an offshoot of how the game progressed.
"We tried to set up something early with our formations to validate some of the things we had in the back of our mind," he said, "and our passing game came alive."
Top 25 Overview
It was over when... Tennessee scored first, but the Vols didn't score again until late in the fourth quarter. In between, Oregon put up 59.
Gameball goes to... Marcus Mariota threw for a career-high 456 yards and four touchdowns. He also ran in a 9-yard touchdown.
Stat of the game... 3-0. No Tennessee coach has ever started 3-0 in his first full season since Robert Neyland in 1926.
Team Stat Comparison
|3rd Down Conversions||5-15||6-12|
|4th Down Conversions||1-1||1-1|
|TD||09:00||Jason Croom 4 Yd Pass From Justin Worley (Michael Palardy Kick) |
|FG||05:45||Matt Wogan 38 Yd |
|TD||03:34||John Mundt 16 Yd Pass From Marcus Mariota (Alejandro Maldonado Kick) |
|TD||14:54||Marcus Mariota 9 Yd Run (Matt Wogan Kick) |
|TD||09:53||Josh Huff 54 Yd Pass From Marcus Mariota (Alejandro Maldonado Kick) |
|TD||04:20||Daryle Hawkins 45 Yd Pass From Marcus Mariota (Matt Wogan Kick) |
|TD||01:19||De'Anthony Thomas 28 Yd Run (Alejandro Maldonado Kick) |
|TD||11:30||John Mundt 17 Yd Pass From Marcus Mariota (Matt Wogan Kick) |
|TD||05:40||Byron Marshall 11 Yd Run (Alejandro Maldonado Kick) |
|TD||02:19||Thomas Tyner 2 Yd Run (Matt Wogan Kick) |
|TD||07:14||Alden Hill 8 Yd Run (Michael Palardy Kick) |
Tennessee's 45-point loss is its worst since a 48-0 loss vs Mississippi A&M in 1910.
Marcus Mariota had another spectacular performance on Saturday, accounting for 483 total yards (12.4 yards per play) and 5 touchdowns. Mariota has finished with a Total QBR of 96 or higher in all 3 games this season. His 97.4 Total QBR through his team's first 3 games is the 2nd-highest by any player (min. 50 action plays) in the last 10 seasons, trailing only Russell Wilson's 98.6 through Wisconsin's first 3 contests in 2011.[+]
Highest Total QBR Through 3 Team Games - Min. 50 Action Plays, Last 10 Seasons
The Ducks finished with an offensive EPA of +39.4, meaning their offense contributed nearly 40 net points toward the 45-point victory. That's their 3rd-highest single game Off EPA since 2004 but not even their highest in 3 games this season - they had a +42.3 in Week 1 vs Nicholls State. Their average offensive EPA of +33.4 per game is the 3rd-highest among any FBS team through the first 3 games of the year in the last 10 seasons.[+]
Highest Off EPA PG Through 1st 3 Games - Last 10 Seasons
De'Anthony Thomas has scored 5 TDs this season on just 31 combined rushes and receptions (6.1 Rush & Rec per TD). That's even better than the FBS-leading pace at which he's scored during his Oregon career.[+]
* Oregon has tied the 2nd longest streak of games with at least 59 points in college football since the end of World War II. This shouldn't come as a surprise though. Oregon had a similar 3-game streak last year, right before they lost to Stanford in the Ducks' only loss of 2012.[+]
Most Consecutive Games with 59+ Points - FBS, Since WWII
ESPN Stats & Information