The Volunteers looked to be off to a good start after a 7-0 early lead, however that didn’t last long.
Oregon opened up the throttle on their up-tempo offense and beat the Vols in a staggering 59-14 loss.
Oregon’s balanced offense was too much for the Vols to handle. In the first half alone the Vols allowed 38 points and over 450 yards. Both numbers were higher than the Vols had allowed in the entirety of either of their last contests.
On offense the Vols looked futile early and often. Junior QB Justin Worley ended the day going 13-25 for just 126 yards and a TD, but the stats don’t tell the story. Worley led the Vols to just five third down conversions on 15 tries. Worley’s passes were off target and he put the Vols in bad spots when he was asked to pass on early downs.
Oregon QB Marcus Mariota on the other hand was exceptional, seemingly getting first downs at will. Mariota passed for four TDs and more than 450 yards, while only missing 10 passes all game. He also was a factor on the ground racking up 27 yards and a TD.
Butch Jones and the coaching staff made very poor decisions punting as many times as they did. At one point the Ducks had seven straight touchdown drives that started from Tennessee punts.
One interesting and possibly positive note, is by the beginning of the fourth quarter the Vols started using freshman quarterback Nathan Peterman. Peterman wasn’t spectacular, but the move alone was a statement that Butch Jones wouldn’t settle for mediocrity and that he isn’t afraid to pull starters after bad performances.
The Vols will have a chance to redeem themselves against Florida 3:30, Sept. 21 at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium.