SAN ANTONIO, Texas — Two of Case McCoy’s passes resulted in touchdowns. Unfortunately for Texas, both were thrown to the other team.
Less than a minute into the first quarter, Oregon safety Avery Patterson intercepted a McCoy pass and weaved his way through a group of Longhorns into the end zone. The Ducks had a 7-0 lead and they’d never relinquish it, cruising to a 30-7 over Texas in the Alamo Bowl.
“A total team win,” head coach Mark Helfrich said after the game. “Started off with a pick-six here, setting the tempo for our defense playing a great game.”
That early interception was on McCoy, too. He overthrew a wide-open Jaxon Shipely, who tipped it right into the hands of the trailing Patterson.
“I was just following [McCoy's] eyes,” Patterson said. “I told Ifo [Ekpre-Olomu], ‘I got it.’ We kind of sandwiched him together and I was able to get lucky and get the pick.”
McCoy made an even worse throw later. With 8:55 left in the fourth quarter, McCoy threw it right into the hands of linebacker Derrick Malone, who had a similar journey to Patterson’s on his way to the end zone. That basically sealed the game, as the score grew to 30-7.
In defensive coordinator Nick Aliotti’s last game, the Oregon’s defense played excellently, especially against the pass. McCoy completed just 8-of-17 passes for 48 yards, no touchdowns and the two pick-sixes. He was also taken out of the game with 8:28 left in the third quarter. True freshman Tyrone Swoopes replaced McCoy but only played two series and went three-and-out both times. McCoy came back in but didn’t do any better and Swoopes replaced McCoy again after the interception to Malone.
“Very happy to send Nick out on the right note,” Helfrich said.
The Ducks didn’t have any such issues with their quarterback. Marcus Mariota threw for 253 yards, one touchdown and no interceptions and rushed for a season-high 134 yards on 15 carries (tied for his career-high). He looked as healthy as ever, escaping the pocket to have one of the best games in his career on the ground.
“Credit to the guys up front and the guys outside,” Mariota said. ” They made key blocks for me to get some yards.”
Wide receiver Josh Huff, in his last game as a Duck, set a school record against the Longhorns. He needed 88 yards to set the Oregon record for receiving yards in a season. He recorded 104 and added a touchdown catch.
“It’s a pleasure to be in the record books,” Huff said. “But records come and go, but the victories stay forever.”
The Ducks certainly weren’t perfect. They had 11 penalties in the game, giving them 105 for the season. That’s also a school record.
While the defense played incredibly well Monday night, they also gave up 130 rushing yards to Malcolm Brown.
The ugliest moment came with 13:31 left in second quarter, when Oregon starting tackle Tyler Johnstone looked seriously hurt. He was writhing on the ground in pain, grabbing his right knee. After the play ended, Johnstone took his helmet off and threw it on the ground, firing it through a crowd of Texas defenders. Johnstone had to be helped off field and walked to the locker room on crutches. He came back to the sideline still on crutches, and he wore a knee brace and street clothes. A source said Johnstone tore his ACL. Senior Everett Benyard replaced him.
The Ducks recorded their 11th win of the season, the fourth straight season they’ve reached that mark. While they have plenty of issues to iron out as they prepare for the 2014 season, the Ducks had a successful year and they ended it on a very high note.
“A huge win and something our guys need to build from and use as a boomerang into our next phase,” Helfrich said.
Follow Victor Flores on Twitter @vflores415