CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) – De’Anthony Thomas ran for 124 yards and three touchdowns, Marcus Mariota threw for two touchdowns and ran 71 yards for another score and No. 2 Oregon started fast and manhandled Virginia 59-10 Saturday.
The Ducks (2-0), who gained a school-record 772 yards last week in beating Nicholls State, looked capable of doing it again against a Virginia defense that hoped to keep the Cavaliers in the game. Oregon finished with 557 yards and did all its scoring while possessing the ball for just 21:25.
Virginia (1-1) got a very early look at what it was up against as Mariota dropped back on a third-and-5 in the game’s opening series, then bolted up the middle untouched, going 71 yards for a touchdown.
The Ducks added a 2-point conversion and, after 1:51, the Ducks were on their way to their 16th consecutive victory on their opponent’s field, the longest streak in the country.
Mariota finished with 122 yards rushing on four carries and completed 14 of 28 passes for 199 yards.
The Cavaliers trailed 21-0 after 10:32 and never were able to sustain anything on offense. David Watford was 29 for 41 for 161 yards, but threw three interceptions and fumbled once. All four turnovers led to Oregon touchdowns. Virginia’s lone touchdown came on a 45-yard run by Khalek Shepherd.
Virginia came into the game riding a high after a comeback victory last week against BYU, the first since coach Mike London hired new offensive, defensive and special teams coordinators. Defensive coordinator Jon Tenuta’s unit, especially, seemed confident it would be able to slow the Ducks down.
Despite some early bright spots, it didn’t happen.
After Mariota’s long run, the teams exchanged punts, and when the Cavaliers Alec Vozenilek punted again from his 14, Josh Huff deflected the ball out of bounds at the Cavaliers’ 14. Three plays later, Thomas went through the line from a yard out for the touchdown, and it was 14-0 after 7:45.
The Cavaliers got their first two first downs of the game on the next series before Watford rolled right, threw downfield on the run and the ball glanced off Dominique Terrell’s hands into the arms of Terrance Mitchell, who returned the interception 16 yards to the Virginia 40. On the next play, Thomas went around the right side and down the sideline, tight-roping the line for a touchdown, and it was 21-0.
Shepherd’s touchdown gave the biggest crowd at Scott Stadium in five years reason for hope, pulling the Cavaliers within 21-7, and when the defense held on the next two series, the excitement grew.
But early in the second quarter, Thomas ripped off a 22-yard run, took a swing pass 28 yards down the sideline and Mariota hit Bralon Addison with a short pass that turned into a 30-yard touchdown.
Three plays. Eighty yards. Less than a minute off the clock. And the Ducks were rolling again.
Thomas added an 8-yard TD run in the third quarter, and Mariota hit Keannon Lowe from 11 yards for a touchdown to make it 45-10, prompting both coaches to begin substituting liberally.