Today’s game marked Oregon’s first time competing against an ACC team in the regular season, only facing Wake Forest in post-season play in 1992 and 2002.
Oregon’s offense got straight to their typical fast-pace play from the start, silencing the Virginia fans in Scott Stadium after a 71-yard rushing touchdown from Marcus Mariota.
The Ducks then stuck to the Chip Kelly playbook and converted on the two-point conversion off a run from back-up quarterback Dustin Haines.
In the post-game press conference head coach Mark Helfrich stated that in the beginning they believed Virginia would play the Ducks like they did BYU. Helfrich said that they anticipated the Cavaliers to change it up and needed to adjust.
“Our guys did a great job trying to feel them (Virginia) out,” Helfrich said.
On their second drive, the Ducks were stopped short on third down and forced to punt for the first time this season.
However, Oregon’s defense looked solid for much of the first quarter, controlling Virginia’s run game. Derrick Malone led the Ducks on defense with eight tackles, while Avery Patterson picked up five.
With the effort of Josh Huff, blocking a punt, the Ducks started their third drive on the Cavaliers 14-yard line. De’Anthony Thomas sprinted the ball in to put the Ducks up 14-0. However, the Ducks were unable to convert on the extra point attempt by freshman kicker Matt Wogan.
One the Cavaliers third drive, the Ducks picked up their first interception of the season. Cornerback Terrance Mitchell picked off a tipped pass from a Virginia wide receiver and Mitchell then rushed the ball for another 16 yards, giving the Ducks good field position, setting up Thomas for a 40-yard rushing touchdown to give the Ducks a 21-0 lead. The speed of Thomas was extremely apparent, as the junior and potential Heisman candidate scored in just eight seconds.
“It did feel good to be able to come out her and play,” said Mitchell, who left last week’s game early due to an ejection due to targeting.
Towards the end of the first quarter, Virginia got on the board with a career-high 45-yard rush for running back Khalek Shepherd. The scoring drive ignited the Cavalier fans in Scott Stadium, and for the first time this season Oregon faced the noise of a rowdy crowd at an away game.
However even with the momentum going for the Cavaliers, Oregon was able to respond, scoring another touchdown. This time, Mariota hit Bralon Addison who danced through the Virginia defense to the end zone for a 30-yard touchdown.
Virginia then tacked on a 37-yard field goal from kicker Ian Frye, to bring the score to the score to 38-10.
With just a little over two minutes left in the half, the Ducks made their way down to Virginia’s red zone, only to be disappointed, turning the ball over on downs at the goal line and Oregon went to the locker room with a 28-10 lead at halftime.
Oregon struggled with penalties in the first half, racking up six penalties for a total of 80 yards.
“Obviously we need to clean it up and that is 100 percent on me,” said Helfrich. “We played with an unbelievable effort level, a great determination, a great desire and now we need to play with more discipline.”
However, the Ducks were able to get straight to business on offensive scoring three times in the third quarter.
The Ducks first score of the first half came off of a 29-yard field goal from kicker Alejandro Maldonado. Led by Mariota, Oregon then had a steady drive which resulted in Thomas picking up his third touchdown for the day, giving the Ducks a 38-10 lead with just under four minutes in the third.
Just a minute later, things got even tougher for the Cavaliers as they fumbled at their own 24 yard-line setting up Mariota to find Keanon Lowe in the end zone for an 11-yard touchdown.
As the Ducks defense continued to control Virginia’s offense and keep a solid, Oregon back-ups on offesne finally got a chance to see the field.
In the fourth quarter, Jeff Lockie entered at quarterback for the Ducks and highly-recruited freshman Thomas Tyner made his first appearance, scoring a three-yard touchdown, to give Oregon 52 points.
Tyner then scored again later in the fourth, rushing for a 31-yard touchdown, making the score 59-10.
Finishing the game for the Ducks were quarterback Jake Rodrigues and running back Ayele Forde who entered the game late, eventually running out the clock to solidify the Duck’s second win of the year.
Looking ahead, the Ducks will battle against the Tennessee Volunteers out of the SEC conference. Oregon will play at Autzen and kick-off is set for 12:30 p.m.
“We play a great program next week…we will start practicing tomorrow for Tennessee,” said Helfrich.