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September 15, 2012
No. 4 Oregon handles Tennessee Tech 63-14
Coming into the game Oregon (3-0) had some defensive questions after lapses in the second half of their first two games. Tennessee Tech (2-1) was not expected to provide much of a challenge to the defending Rose Bowl champions.
Missing senior leaders John Boyett and Carson York from the lineup, Oregon put aside the shock of losing two experienced leaders early in the game.
The Ducks received a lift with the presence of Josh Huff who many expected to miss the game after a knee injury against Fresno State.
After a quick three and out to start the game, De'Anthony Thomas touched a ball on a punt and turned the ball back over to the Golden Eagles at the Duck 23 yard line. The early mistake cost the Ducks as Da'Rick Rogers caught a short pass from Tre Lamb and took it in for a 23 yard touchdown score to take an early 7-0 lead.
Oregon took the ensuing kickoff 63 yards capped by a Kenjon Barner 1 yard touchdown run to knot the score at 7-7.
The Ducks opened the second half in much the same manner as they closed the first half. Taking the second half kickoff to their own 39 yard line the Ducks used just two minutes and eight plays to travel 61 yards for a touchdown pass to Keanon Lowe who scored his career touchdown on the 3 yard pass from Marcus Mariota.
After taking several hard hits in the first half, Tre Lamb was replaced in the second half by Darian Stone. the results were little better, though, as Stone threw an interception on his first pass to Dior Mathis. Mathis returned the ball 28 yards to the Oregon 4 yard line and on came the back-ups as Bryan Bennett came on to run the offense and quickly scored on a four yard run.
Tennessee Tech was finally able to get some offense going midway through the third quarter. After intercepting Bryan Bennett, the Golden Eagles were able to take the ball 72 yards for a score to make the score 49-14 with just under five minutes left in the third quarter.
Oregon struggled with penalties throughout the game committing 9 for 80 yards in the first half alone. Execution issues, though, would not affect the outcome of this game for the Ducks.
Freshman Byron Marshall was the story of the second half as he looked considerably more decisive with his cuts and ran to his first 100 yard performance at Oregon with 14 carries for 135 yards and a touchdown in the fourth quarter that pushed the lead to 63-14.
With all the offense for Oregon, the defensive performance was dominant even after the bench was cleared by Chip Kelly in the fourth quarter. Midway through the fourth quarter, the Golden Eagles had managed just 119 total yards and 63 rushing yards.
Marcus Mariota had his first 300 yard passing performance completing 21 of 28 passes for 307 yards and 3 touchdowns before making way for Bennett. The ground game for the Ducks surpassed 300 yards for the second straight game with Marshall leading the way.
Dark horse Heisman candidate Thomas was electric throughout the game. Thomas carried the ball just 3 times but made those carries count for 62 yards. He also caught 3 passes for 73 yards. Despite Tennessee Tech kicking away from Thomas most of the game, he was able to return 4 punts for 96 yards including stellar back-to-back punt returns of 46 and 48 yards respectively. For the game Thomas finished with 231 all purpose yards and 2 more touchdowns.
Oregon rolled to 649 yards of total offense on their way to a convincing 63-14 victory over the Golden Eagles.
Oregon next faces Arizona (3-0) in the first Pac-12 game of the season at home next Saturday with a 7:30 PM kickoff scheduled.