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Oregon Ducks Football: Ducks fly by Vols behind Mariota's Career Day

Marcus Mariota and Johnny Mundt stole the show against Oregon's stiffest non conference test.

Scott Olmos-USA TODAY Sports

An upset minded Tennessee team came into town and put the Ducks on their heels early. After a rocky start, a career day from Marcus Mariota led the Ducks to a 59-14 win. Mariota passed for 456 yards and 4 touchdowns while adding another score on the ground in just over one half of play. The Volunteers struck first, but Oregon responded, scoring on 9 consecutive possessions and put the game out of reach by half time.

Coach Mark Helfrich said, "At some point, someone is going to score on us. How you react to mistakes is what defines you in the long run."

Oregon stumbled out of the gate as penalties and sloppy play stymied the Ducks' offense. After missing a field goal and giving up the opening touchdown, the Autzen faithful seemed to be growing restless. The Ducks still appeared out of sync as their next drive stalled in the red zone. Oregon had to settle for three after an offensive pass interference call negated what would have been the tying score.

Bralon Addison would kick start the offense with a punt return into Volunteer territory and four plays later Marcus Mariota found Johnny Mundt for his first of 2 touchdowns on the day. Oregon was inside the Tennessee 10 when the quarter expired following a strong catch and run from Johnny Mundt.

Of Mundt's performance, Coach Helfrich said, "The team was just going crazy for how he played. He's a freshman who has a bright future." Mundt finished the day with 5 catches totaling 121 yards.

Oregon's first play of the second quarter would see Mariota taking the option into the end zone and extending Oregon's lead to 17-7.

From there, the rout was on.

Passes to Josh Huff and Daryle Hawkins extended the lead and De'Anthony Thomas would put the exclamation mark on the half as he followed his block perfectly and exploded up the sideline tiptoeing into the end zone.  At half time, Oregon led 38-7 and it was as much a credit to the defense as it was Oregon's tempo and offense. The D Line shored up and would not allow the Vols past the Oregon 45 until midway through the fourth quarter.

Mariota led the Ducks on one more scoring drive before the Ducks turned the game over to its backups. Much to the fans' delight, Thomas Tyner got into the game and carried the ball for another touchdown, stretching the lead out to 59-7.

Mariota was understated when speaking about his career best performance today, saying "It's fun when you get to throw the ball around a little bit."

Tennessee would not put together a quality drive until Oregon had subbed in the twos and threes. With backup QB Nathan Peterman in the game, the Vols methodically worked the ball down the field and Alden Hill would rumble in from 8 yards out.

Overall, it was what many pundits predicted but not likely what many expected. Save for the opening two possessions, Oregon's offense looked like world beaters and the defense stared down their largest test to date and passed with what feels like flying colors. Putting consistent pressure on the quarter back and staying home on the run, despite numerous counter runs by Tennessee. Oregon gets a bye week, and will look to get healthy and improve before the grind of the conference season.