Game recap: UT vs. Oregon
Tennessee Stat Book
Tennessee came to play Saturday night, juicing a Neyland Stadium crowd of 102,035 with an early upset buzz.
Then reality set in.
Seventh-ranked Oregon ripped off 45 consecutive points and pulled away to a 48-13 rout.
The longer the game went on, the worse it got for the Vols (1-1), who took a 13-3 lead in the opening moments of the second quarter.
The crowd that evacuated temporarily in the first quarter during a 70-minute lightning delay, exited for good in the early minutes of the fourth quarter.
"This shows us where we are,'' first-year UT coach Derek Dooley said after his first defeat.
"We played a real good football team, we had some adversity, we didn't handle it well and we got run out of the stadium.''
The 48 points were the most allowed in Neyland since Washington State scored 52 on Oct. 1, 1988.
The Ducks (2-0) sprinted away from a 13-13 tie by showing off their speed.
They burned the Vols with three touchdowns of 70-plus yards - a run from scrimmage, an interception and a punt return.
UT had jumped out to a 6-0 lead on two Daniel Lincoln field goals before the menacing weather cleared the stadium.
When play resumed, Oregon got on the board with a field goal. But UT answered with a nice drive that ended with Tauren Poole's 1-yard touchdown to make it 13-3.
But from that point, however, the Vols' offensive momentum dissipated.
The Ducks scored 10 points in the final three minutes of the first half and then put on a dominating display in the second half.
"We screwed up the last three minutes of the half in all three phases,'' said Dooley.
Oregon capped a 13-play drive with a 42-yard Beard field goal with 2:56 on the clock to make it 13-6.
The Vols then had a short possession (55 seconds) followed by a short Chad Cunningham punt (27 yards).
The Ducks took over at their 38 with 1:55 to play and twice victimized UT with passes to tight end David Paulson.
The second was a 27-yard touchdown lob over linebacker Savion Frazier.
The five-play, 62-yard drive lasted all of 51 seconds and it tied the score at 13-13.
"We didn't have a good look in our eye at halftime,'' Dooley said.
The look got worse as the third quarter unfolded.
Oregon's LaMichael James left all sorts of Vols in his wake on a direction-changing 72-yard touchdown run that gave the Ducks their first lead, 20-13.
Tennessee then drove into Oregon territory, but Matt Simms' pass under pressure was intercepted by Cliff Harris and returned 76 yards for a score.
Oregon led 27-13 with 6:27 left in the period.
That would be UT's only foray into Oregon territory in the second half.
"I think we quit after the pick-six,'' Dooley said.
The Ducks made it 34-13 when Darron Thomas hit Lavasier Tuinei with a 29-yard TD pass with 13:28 to play.
After a three-and-out possession, Chad Cunningham came out to punt again.
He got off a boomer but Kenjon Barner snatched it and raced 80 yards for a touchdown and a 41-13 edge.
There was still 11:39 to play.
Oregon pulled most its starters, but the subs couldn't be stopped either.
Remene Alston capped a 10-play drive with a 2-yard TD with 3:54 to play.
By then it was difficult to recall the details of Tennessee's fast start.
Moments after the opening kickoff the Vols struck twice. Poole took the game's first snap 31 yards to the Oregon 49. Two plays later Denarius Moore caught a 17-yard pass from Simms.
From there, three runs went nowhere and Lincoln's 48-yard field goal made it 3-0.
Barner fumbled the ensuing kickoff return and Prentiss Waggner pounced on the loose ball at the Ducks' 43.
First down was magic again as freshman Da'Rick Rogers took a handoff and ran 21 yards to the Oregon 22. The Ducks stiffened again and Lincoln hit from 35 yards to make it 6-0.
Then both teams were sent to the locker room.
When play resumed, Oregon's offense finally took the field.
The Vols forced a punt, but when the Ducks regained possession they marched 51 yards in 13 plays for a 37-yard field goal by Rob Beard to make it 6-3.
Tennessee wasted no time reclaiming momentum. Poole ripped off runs of 14 and 23 yards into Oregon territory.
Then Simms and freshman Justin Hunter hooked up on a 31-yard strike to the 1.
Poole budged his way in for the score and a 13-3 lead with 14:21 left in the half.
That's where it stayed until the final three minutes before intermission - three minutes UT would like to replay.
Oregon finished with 447 yards. UT had 333, only 89 of which came in the second half.
Poole rushed for 162 yards, 111 of them in the first quarter.
Simms was 15 of 29 for 151 yards with the one interception.
Oregon's James rushed for 134 yards. Thomas was 17 of 32 for 202 yards passing in his first road start.
"They have a great football team,'' Dooley said. "They have a great coaching staff and they've got a lot of class.
"I'm impressed with everything about them.''
The outcome marked the fourth consecutive year UT has lost to a Pac-10 team.
The Vols plunge into SEC play next week when Florida visits.
"We still have 10 other games to go,'' said UT senior defensive end Chris Walker. "This is a pivotal point in our season.''