Rajion Neal on Vols' loss to Oregon
EUGENE, Oregon -- Tennessee was overwhelmed by Oregon’s relentless offense on Saturday, suffering its worst loss in the modern era in a 59-14 loss to the Ducks at Autzen Stadium.
The Vols (2-1) surrendered 687 yards of total offense and second-ranked Oregon (3-0) used eight consecutive touchdown drives to quickly stamp out any hopes of an upset.
The first loss of the Butch Jones era at Tennessee was the worst in program history since the Vols lost by 48 to Mississippi A&M in 1910. In the modern era, the worst loss prior to Saturday had come in 1981 when Tennessee lost the season opener at Georgia, 44-0.
Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota completed 22 of 33 passes for 456 yards and four touchdowns, slicing up the Vols’ youthful secondary and falling just short of Oregon and Tennessee records.
The Vols were nearly as inept on offense as they were on defense. A 51-yard completion to Josh Smith in the first quarter was a rare highlight on a day in which quarterback Justin Worley (13-of-25 for 126 yards) once again struggled to find receivers downfield.
The Vols were without slot receivers Alton “Pig” Howard and Johnathon Johnson, both out with injuries. Defensive tackle Trevarris Saulsberry suffered what appeared to be a serious knee injury just before halftime. His role had increased after senior defensive tackle Mo Couch was declared ineligible amid allegations that he accepted impermissible benefits. Starting lineback Dontavis Sapp also left with an undisclosed injury and did not return.
The sold-out crowd of 57,895 was loud early, but the blowout quickly turned their attention elsewhere. The student section started changing “We want ‘Bama” in the second quarter.
Complete coverage from today’s game coming up soon on GoVolsXtra.
Evan Woodbery covers Tennessee football. Follow him on Twitter.
Update at 7:45 p.m.: Story corrected to reflect Tennessee's loss in 1910, not 1905.