Sep 14, 2013; Eugene, OR, USA; Oregon Ducks quarterback Marcus Mariota (8) jumps over Tennessee Volunteers defensive back LaDarrell McNeil (33) at Autzen Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Scott Olmos-USA TODAY Sports

Oregon Ducks take off

Facing possibly their biggest challenge to date in Tennessee, Oregon came prepared.  In the Ducks’ final non-conference game, Oregon coaches knew their improving SEC foe would test them like no other team has thus far in 2013.

“Both sides of the ball they’re typical SEC. Big, huge up front on the offensive line, very physical, very athletic. Similar scheme to what we do offensively,” Oregon head coach Mark Helfrich told the Eugene Register-Guard’s Ryan Thorburn before the game. “Defensively, same thing. Fast, physical, huge defensive line and fast on the back end. They’re by far, which is what you would expect, the most athletic team we’ve played to date. It really jumps out in special teams. They’ve dominated these past two games from a special teams standpoint. …

“It’s a tremendous challenge.”

It certainly looked that way in the 1st quarter.  Tennessee led early after a 4-yard Justin Worley touchdown pass to Jason Croom.  Oregon kicked a field goal – yes an Oregon field goal – then scored on a 16-yard Marcus Mariota TD pass to John Mundt to take a 10-7 lead into the 2nd quarter.

It appeared we might have a close game on our hands, but then the Ducks showed up and took off.  Since the Tennessee touchdown at the 9-minute mark in the 1st quarter, Oregon has scored 38 unanswered points.  As with nearly every Oregon game these days, if you blinked you probably missed it.

Heisman hopeful Marcus Mariota threw 2 more TD passes and rushed for another.  All told Mariota is 15-22 for 350 yards and 3 touchdowns, in the first half.

Running back De’Anthony Thomas rushed for another touchdown to close out the scoring at the half.

Score: Oregon 38, Tennessee 7.

Oregon fans are doing a little bit of scoreboard watching this afternoon as #1 Alabama takes on #6 Texas A&M.  If A&M can pull off the upset again, the #2 Ducks would undoubtedly move to the top overall spot in the country.

Tags: College Football De'Anthony Thomas Marcus Mariota Oregon Ducks Tennessee Volunteers

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