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No. 2 Oregon manhandles UVa, which suffered its most lopsided loss in 29 years.
Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota (8) runs past Virginia safety Anthony Harris (8) for a touchdown at Scott Stadium on Saturday in Charlottesville.
Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota (8) throws the ball against Virginia at Scott Stadium on Saturday in Charlottesville.
Virginia tight end Zachary Swanson (49) is tackled by Oregon linebacker Rahim Cassell (34), defensive back Brian Jackson (12) and linebacker Rodney Hardrick (48) at Scott Stadium on Saturday in Charlottesville.
Virginia running back Kevin Parks (25) runs past Oregon cornerback Ifo Ekpre-Olomu (14) at Scott Stadium on Saturday in Charlottesville.
Virginia running back Khalek Shepherd (23) runs past Oregon safety Erick Dargan (4) for a touchdown at Scott Stadium on Saturday in Charlottesville.
Oregon defensive back Terrance Mitchell (27) celebrates his interception with defensive tackle Ricky Havili-Heimuli (90) and linebacker Rodney Hardrick (48) against Virginia at Scott Stadium on Saturday in Charlottesville.
Oregon defensive back Terrance Mitchell (27) runs back an interception in front of Virginia offensive linesman Luke Bowanko (70) at Scott Stadium on Saturday in Charlottesville.
Virginia wide receiver Tim Smith (20) makes a catch against Oregon at Scott Stadium on Saturday in Charlottesville.
Virginia quarterback David Watford throws a pass against Oregon on Sept. 7 at Scott Stadium. The Ducks defeated the Cavaliers 59- 10.
Oregon running back De'Anthony Thomas (6) runs past Virginia linebacker Kwontie Moore (34) at Scott Stadium on Saturday n Charlottesville.
Oregon running back De'Anthony Thomas (6) crosses the goal line for a touchdown against Virginia at Scott Stadium on Saturday in Charlottesville.
Saturday, September 7, 2013
CHARLOTTESVILLE — One week after an unprecedented suspension of play at Scott Stadium, Virginia witnessed another kind of lightning strike Saturday against No. 2 ranked Oregon.
This one didn’t result in a Cavalier victory. Not even close.
Ducks quarterback Marcus Mariota was untouched as he raced 71 yards for a touchdown on the fifth play from scrimmage and Oregon manhandled the Cavaliers 59-10.
It was UVa’s most lopsided loss since Clemson came to Virginia for the 1984 opener and blanked the Cavaliers 55-0.
Until Saturday, the Cavaliers hadn’t given up as many as 59 points in a game since Illinois hammered UVa 63-21 in the 1999 Micronpc.com Bowl.
Virginia can’t say it wasn’t warned. One week earlier, the Ducks had set a school record with 772 yards in total offense in a season-opening 66-3 victory over Nicholls State in Eugene, Ore.
The Cavaliers (1-1) were able to “hold” the Ducks to 557 yards but Oregon took advantage of four UVa turnovers — three interceptions and a fumble — all yielded by UVa sophomore quarterback David Watford.
“It wasn’t the offense’s fault as a whole,” said Watford, who gave way to redshirt freshman Greyson Lambert in the fourth quarter. “It was my fault. I take the blame solely.”
To its credit, Oregon led the Football Bowl Subdivision in turnover margin and interceptions last year, when the Ducks picked off 26 passes.
Virginia, which had 223 yards in total offense in a 19-16 victory over Brigham Young, gained 298 yards against the Ducks but 45 yards of that came on a first-quarter touchdown run by Khalek Shepherd.
On their other 38 carries, the Cavaliers accounted for 79 yards.
“I think we need to find out what our identity is going to be [and] whether or not our quarterback is going to run it more,” UVa coach Mike London said. “Whatever it may be, we want to run the ball and find those guys that can move the chains for us.”
An Achilles heel for Virginia during a 4-8 season in 2012 was special teams, and they came back to haunt the Cavaliers early in Saturday’s affair.
Virginia survived an early miscue when Oregon was unable to capitalize on a 21-yard punt that gave possession to the Ducks at midfield.
After the defenses matched three-and-outs, the Ducks sent five rushers at Alec Vozenilek, whose second punt was blocked by Josh Huff. The Ducks recovered at the UVa 14-yard line and needed only three plays that made it 14-0 with 7:15 left in the first period.
Virginia came back with its first two first downs of the game and was facing a third-and-1 from its 42-yard line when Dominique Terrell couldn’t come down with a high ball that was picked off by Oregon’s Terrance Mitchell.
Mitchell’s return took the Ducks to the UVa 40 and All-America candidate De’Anthony Thomas scored on the next play. With 4:28 left in the first quarter, Oregon led 21-0.
Shepherd put the Cavaliers on the scoreboard on the next possession and Virginia’s defense stabilized during the second quarter, particularly when tackle Brent Urban stopped Byron Marshall on fourth-and-goal from the 1 with 31 seconds remaining in the half.
Trailing 28-10 but looking to get the ball to start the second half, UVa was hopeful of getting back into the game.
“We felt like we were in a good position,” Urban said.
However, the momentum quickly shifted back to the Ducks as Virginia failed to complete a deep ball to Adrian Gamble on first down and had to punt on fourth-and-8.
Watford completed 29 of 41 passes for 161 yards but many were dump-offs to tight ends Jake McGee and Zachary Swanson, both of whom had career highs for receptions, McGee with eight and Swanson for four.
Watford’s longest completion was to Swanson for 16 yards, setting up a 37-yard Ian Frye field goal.
“This week will be a great week for us to help [Watford] be a better football player,” said London, whose Cavaliers have an open date before entertaining VMI on Sept. 21.
In Oregon, the Cavaliers faced a team that has won 46 games over the past four seasons, played for the BCS National Championship in 2012 and apparently has not skipped a beat with the departure of former head coach Chip Kelly, now calling plays for the Philadelphia Eagles.
“We want to be perfect, great, elite,” said new head coach Mark Helfrich, the Ducks’ offensive coordinator for the past five seasons.
It also helps that he has Thomas and Mariota, who has to be one of the few 6-foot-4, 215-pound quarterbacks in the country who can outrun a posse of defensive backs.
“We knew they weren’t going to play us like they played BYU and they didn’t,” Helfrich said. “They played us completely different, we anticipated some of that and made some changes on the fly.”
Mariota said of his touchdown run, “It was one of those deals where they all kind of ran with their guy and I just hit it up the middle.”
Oregon started substituting in the fourth quarter but the Cavaliers had problems with the Duck reserves as well.
“We know they’re a top team and a national power,” McGee said. “But, we didn’t feel like we couldn’t compete. It’s definitely tough. All you can do is watch the tape, see if there’s anything we did well, and try to improve.”
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