No. 4 Oregon 63, Tennessee Tech 14

Three games into the season and No. 4 Oregon still has plenty of

work to do, at least according to coach Chip Kelly.

The Ducks rolled past lower-division Tennessee Tech 63-14 on

Saturday. Redshirt freshman quarterback Marcus Mariota threw for

308 yards and four touchdowns before the starters were pulled.

Multitalented De’Anthony Thomas had 222 all-purpose yards on 10

touches. He ran for a 59-yard touchdown and caught a 16-yard

scoring pass from Mariota.

And while the Ducks piled up 652 yards in total offense compared

to the Golden Eagles’ 177 yards, Oregon had an uncharacteristic 12

penalties for 105 yards.

”There’s a lot of stuff to teach from this game,” Kelly said.

”But it’s always easier to teach off a win than a loss.”

The Ducks (3-0) were playing their final nonconference game

before hosting Arizona next Saturday. They have barely been tested

so far, jumping out to big leads in wins against Arkansas State and

Fresno State.

The Golden Eagles (2-1) have never defeated an FBS-level team in

28 tries. The game against the Ducks was the Ohio Valley Conference

team’s first against a Pac-12 opponent.

Tennessee Tech coach Watson Brown thought that his team got some

valuable experience.

”I’m proud of my kids. We always go and we always fight our

hearts out and give it our best. It’s bittersweet because you know

coming in you’ve got a tough road . but at the same time, I think

we get a lot out of it,” Brown said.

Da’Rick Rogers, who transferred to Tennessee Tech from Tennessee

right before the season started, had three catches for 38 yards and

the first touchdown of the game. He took a short pass from Tre Lamb

and ran for a 23-yard TD.

Rogers was suspended indefinitely by Tennessee on Aug. 23. He

told reporters it was because of failed drug tests.

He was a first-team all-SEC receiver in 2011, with 67 receptions

for 1,040 yards and nine touchdowns for the Volunteers. He faced

Oregon when the Ducks visited Knoxville in 2010, finishing with a

carry for 21 yards in Oregon’s 48-13 victory.

The Ducks quickly answered Rogers’ TD with Kenjon Barner’s

1-yard scoring run and Thomas’ 59-yard touchdown sprint.

On Oregon’s next series, Thomas had a 49-yard run that appeared

to be an easy touchdown, but he was caught from behind by Tennessee

Tech’s DaJuan Brown and fumbled. Ducks right tackle Jake Fisher

pounced on it for the 1-yard touchdown to make it 21-7.

”It’s a teachable moment for me,” said Thomas, who is already

getting some Heisman buzz. ”You’ve got to finish to the finish

line, like it’s a track meet.”

Oregon further padded the lead with Mariota’s 4-yard scoring

pass to tight end Colt Lyerla, but Rob Beard’s attempt at a 25-yard

field goal was blocked.

Thomas pulled down his 16-yard scoring pass from Mariota as the

first half ended to give the Ducks a 35-7 lead.

Mariota found Keanon Lowe with a 3-yard touchdown early in the

third quarter before Oregon subbed out many of its starters. Backup

Bryan Bennett had a 4-yard run to make it 49-7.

Tennessee Tech scored on Darian Stone’s 6-yard pass to Doug Page

but Bennett added a 6-yard keeper to make it 56-14 at the end of

the third quarter.

True freshman Byron Marshall ran for a 4-yard score in the final

quarter. Marshall finished with 125 yards rushing in the game.

Lamb, who started for the Golden Eagles and played until midway

through the third quarter, completed eight of 13 passes for 46

yards and the TD to Rogers. He threw one interception and was

sacked five times.

”That’s football. That’s what happens when you play quarterback

in a spread offense. You’re going to get hit after you throw,

you’re going to get hit while you throw and you’re going to get hit

when you’re running the ball,” he said.

In addition to the penalties, Oregon had three fumbles,

including one for a loss, and Mariota and Bennett were each

intercepted once.

”When we turn the ball over – we’re not supposed to do that.

When we have penalties – we’re not supposed to do that,” Kelly

said. ”Luckily today it didn’t come back and rear its ugly

head.”

Kelly called the Ducks ”a work in progress.”

The victory capped a difficult week for Oregon, which was hit by

the loss of two of its senior leaders, free safety John Boyett and

guard Carson York.

Boyett told his hometown newspaper that he needed surgery to

repair patellar tendons in both knees. The injury will end his

career with the Ducks unless Oregon successfully petitions the NCAA

for an additional year of eligibility.

York hurt his right kneecap during Oregon’s 42-25 win over

Fresno State last weekend. He announced to reporters that he also

required surgery and his season was done.

Junior receiver Josh Huff, who went down with what appeared to

be a left knee injury on a first-half kickoff return last week

against Fresno State, was in uniform but did not play.

Despite the errors Saturday, Fisher says the Ducks are ready for

the Pac-12.

”Absolutely. Of course,” he said. ”We were prepared in fall

camp.”