Tennessee thumped by No. 2 Oregon, 59-14

Loss is worst in modern history for Vols

Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota (8) runs pass three Tennessee defenders to score during first half action at Autzen Stadium, Saturday, Sep. 14, 2013 in Eugene, OR.  Tennessee defensive back LaDarrell McNeil (33)(MICHAEL PATRICK/NEWS SENTINEL)

Photo by Michael Patrick

Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota (8) runs pass three Tennessee defenders to score during first half action at Autzen Stadium, Saturday, Sep. 14, 2013 in Eugene, OR. Tennessee defensive back LaDarrell McNeil (33)(MICHAEL PATRICK/NEWS SENTINEL)

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.

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Comments » 19

Esau writes:

It's ok we got an easy game next we...no wait!

tntuba#225866 writes:

Didn't Vandy beat Tennessee 51-0 in 1909? Might want to fact check this one just to be sure.

wigmeister writes:

No one expected us to win. However, our offense left the defense hanging out to dry. Worley and the boys better begin to step it up. Our plays seemed so predictable.

tntuba#225866 writes:

Well. That update from the Ga Tech to the Miss A&M (Now Miss State) loss is closer but still not accurate. Go look at the 1909 UT Vandy Score. The game was Played November 6th 1909 in Nashville.

goobervol writes:

Not what we hoped for, but not what we expected. Worley is always throwing the ball high, low, or out of reach. He seems to be a great kid, but unfortunately, he is not an SEC quarterback. This is a building brick by brick year, but the entire project will blow up at the end of the season if we allow a foreman to keep throwing bricks instead of completions.

slb1zellwood#1421797 writes:

Worst game I believe I have ever sit thru. Wow don't know what coach is going to do but he best do something with that offense.
Poor Justin just don't seem to possess the skills it takes to just be an adequate quarterback. Oh well Butch makes the big bucks and I'm confident he will find a solution in the near future. Hope it comes by next week when we play the lizards. Don't believe I can stand another butt whipping like the one we got today.
Go Vols.

TheBoss writes:

Back to earth, now, Vol fans. The truth is out. Tennessee still sucks. Another bad season ahead.

volbald writes:

Bless Coach Jones' and QB Worley's hearts. If either of them think that Worley can really make the throws the coaches ask of him then we are in real trouble for the rest of the season. Look for more interceptions next week vs. Fla. even though the margin of losing won't be as large. Offensive line gave up early - D; receivers just don't have the talent yet to do much with the ball even if Worley ever managed to get it close to them; running backs are B at best. Whatever has kept Hill on the bench so far needs to be reconsidered quickly. Defense looked as lost as last year in the much maligned 3-4. Secondary continues to be a paved road to the end zone for good football opposition. Only a quarterback who can keep the offense on the field with some completed passes can keep our margin of defeat within reason in the SEC.

UT4prez writes:

There will be better days ahead but will everyone chill out on the we will beat Florida talk please? Florida's offense is nothing like that of Oregon but Florida's D is considerably better. 30-6 we go down. Worley needs to be replaced at some point so whoever it is gets ready for next year. Don't get me wrong. We have a lot for which to play this year. I just don't want to go into next year with the same QB situation we had this year.

goobervol writes:

Although Fl. is not that good this year, they will destroy Worley and our offense. We need a QB with confidence, one who delivers the pigskin right on or near the numbers, one who makes fast quality decisions while in the pocket, and one who makes certain that the defense is not expected to do the impossible because of his poor execution and decision making.

Farragut_Resident writes:

WHAAAAT??? BUT, BUT, BUT, they looked so good these past two weeks!!! They're were supposed to win today. What the heck happened?!?! After beating Austin Peay High School and Western Kentucky Community College so handily, why didn't they do better in Oregon????? My gosh, UT won a NATIONAL championship like 20 years ago (and I know this because they're still talking about it like it happened yesterday), they're supposed to win.

Farragut_Resident writes:

in response to wigmeister:

No one expected us to win. However, our offense left the defense hanging out to dry. Worley and the boys better begin to step it up. Our plays seemed so predictable.

NOT TRUE NOT TRUE NOT TRUE. Last week, the smartest mind in football posted the following on here:

atypicallib writes:

Now the Vols are going to rip the Ducks a new one.

Farragut_Resident writes:

in response to TheBoss:

Back to earth, now, Vol fans. The truth is out. Tennessee still sucks. Another bad season ahead.

DUDE!!! WHAT are you talking about??? Haven't you heard, this year is their year. They're going all the way baby, all the way (just like they were supposed to go all the way last year, and the year before that, and the year before that, and the year before that, and the year before that, and the year before that). Pretty much every year since 1998. Because after all, they won the 1998 NATIONAL championship. You knew that right?

rockypop writes:

I suspect that Butch will at some point, give one of the other QBs a shot. That's his MO. Unfortunately, at this point UT has four QBs that together equal one SEC QB.

Worley clearly has accuracy issues, combined with young receivers' issues. But, with all the acclaim that the offensive line has received, it baffles me why the running game is so bad. As for the defense - well, today they were just totally overmatched. Their youth and inexperience showed up, and even McCullers girth couldn't compensate for the Ducks' scheme and speed. By the third quarter, AJ Johnson was clearly worn out.

UT needs more talent, more depth, more skill players, and
more experience. In other words, they need at least two to three more years before they are whole again.

namici#1422384 writes:

Clearly...the coach has no confidence in Worley. And moreover...the other QBs we have waiting in the wings. Why?---I'll tell you...

If Jones had more confidence in any other QB on the roster....they would be playing. Burn a redshirt or not, it's all about wins....and wins NOW.

No deep threat. No throws down the field. Our QB situation is about as deep as a kiddie pool.

TheBoss writes:

in response to tntuba#225866:

Didn't Vandy beat Tennessee 51-0 in 1909? Might want to fact check this one just to be sure.

Yes, Vanderbilt beat the Vols 51-0 that year. I don't remember the game, it was a couple of years before my time. But 1909 is before 1910, so this was the worst loss since 1910, which was the worst loss since 1909, which...

johnlg00 writes:

This went about the way I thought it would. It was a bad loss for a young team to take on national TV, but I'm not sure anybody else was particularly surprised either. Oregon is quite likely to make some teams that are a good deal better than UT look almost as bad they did.

If I had only one complaint not directly related to the lack of talent and numbers that Jones inherited, it was that the Vols played scared, even when things were going relatively well for them early. The announcers were saying that even in the early stages of the game, the Vols should have gone for a few of those relatively manageable 4th-down conversions. Oregon may not be confused and sloppy often or for long, but they were early on and the Vols didn't capitalize on that. Against a team like that, which can score literally any time they get their hands on the ball, you have to seize on any glimmer of an opportunity.

Yeah, according to the old-school philosophy, you punt on 4th-down and hope the defense can hold them. Well, the Vols just can't play a team like Oregon that way right now. Going for it on 4th-down tells your offensive line--the only unit on the team that has even the potential for being really good right now--that you believe in them, that you are going to do everything you can to win, that you aren't going to hold anything back. It tells your opponents that you are for real, that you have come to play. It tells fans and recruits that you may be outmanned but you will not be outfought. CBJ has not seemed to miss many of the mental aspects of preparing a team in practice, but a little more game-day attitude of "What have we got to lose? At least we'll go down swinging!" might go farther than one might think.

I guess it's possible that things could have been even worse if they had done that, and it certainly isn't my decision to make, but I would have felt marginally better about the outcome and more hopeful for the future if they had done that. If this team is going to rise anytime soon, it will only come when the attitude about winning changes. CBJ might have missed a chance to move that change process along, no matter how this game turned out.

southernbelle79 writes:

Was anyone actually hoping for an upset? I was hoping not to be embarrassed. Watching TN-Oregon side by side with Bama-A&M, about the only good things I can say was TN looked respectable for the first 7 minutes. and, it is a good thing we don't have to play A&M also.

goobervol writes:

in response to Farragut_Resident:

WHAAAAT??? BUT, BUT, BUT, they looked so good these past two weeks!!! They're were supposed to win today. What the heck happened?!?! After beating Austin Peay High School and Western Kentucky Community College so handily, why didn't they do better in Oregon????? My gosh, UT won a NATIONAL championship like 20 years ago (and I know this because they're still talking about it like it happened yesterday), they're supposed to win.

I love to see this cut and past stuff,so keep it up little boy

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