CHARLOTTESVILLE — By the time No. 2 Oregon was done dismantling Virginia 59-10 on Saturday, there was a sense U.Va. had enough mistakes to review and inefficiencies to correct to keep them busy for longer than just the upcoming off week.
Oh, and all the discussion about Oregon being perhaps the nation's most fleet-footed team? There wasn't even a hint of false advertising.
"If we made any mistake, they would get 50 or so yards on us," U.Va. defensive tackle Brent Urban said.
"We all knew the type of players they had. We were prepared. We knew what to expect, but they got us."
The last time U.Va. lost by a larger margin was in the 1984 season opener — a 55-0 loss to Clemson. Oregon's 59 points also were the most scored against U.Va. since the 1999 Micronpc.com Bowl, when Illinois beat U.Va. 63-21.
Oregon used its read-option spread offense to amass 557 yards, including 350 yards rushing, while U.Va. (1-1) put up 298 yards. U.Va. ran for just 124 yards on 39 carries, including 60 yards on 19 carries by running back Kevin Parks.
U.Va. quarterback David Watford, a Hampton High graduate, endured a rough afternoon, completing 29 of 41 passes for 161 yards and three interceptions and losing a fumble.
"They got on us early and in every phase," said U.Va. coach Mike London, whose team has an off week before playing Sept. 21 in Charlottesville against Virginia Military Institute. "We could not stop them defensively, and we struggled with interceptions. The players in their system execute and do what they're asked to do."
While Watford struggled to move the offense, Oregon (2-0) wasted no time capitalizing on U.Va.'s misfortune. Quarterback Marcus Mariota, who completed 14 of 28 passes for 199 yards and two touchdowns while running for 122 yards and a touchdown, led Oregon to 28 points off U.Va.'s four turnovers.
Running back De'Anthony Thomas added 124 yards rushing and three touchdowns on 11 carries. Mariota and Thomas did their damage despite sitting out the fourth quarter.
Mariota got Oregon rolling in the first quarter without the help of a U.Va. turnover. On the opening drive, Oregon faced third-and-5 from its own 29 when Mariota took the snap out of the shotgun, stepped through a gaping seam on the offensive line and raced untouched to the end zone for a 71-yard touchdown.
Oregon tacked on a two-point conversion to take an 8-0 lead with 13:09 left in the quarter. U.Va. failed to cross midfield on its first three drives, and gave Oregon the ball back in advantageous situations on two of those drives.
Oregon's Josh Huff blocked an Alec Vozenilek punt midway through the first quarter, giving the Ducks starting field position at the Cavaliers' 14-yard line. Thomas scored three plays later on 1-yard touchdown run to push Oregon's lead to 14-0 with 7:15 remaining in the quarter.
Watford's first interception came on the next drive when he rolled to his right on third-and-2 from U.Va.'s 42. His pass was tipped by wide receiver Dominique Terrell and ended up in the arms of cornerback Terrance Mitchell, who returned it 16 yards to U.Va.'s 40.
Thomas found the end zone on the next play, racing 40 yards to extend Oregon's advantage to 21-0 with 4:28 left in the first quarter. U.Va., aided by a 45-yard touchdown run by running back Khalek Shepherd on its next drive, never got within 14 points the rest of the way.
"We just want to score," Oregon coach Mark Helfrich said. "When you get turnovers, you need to score touchdowns. What we care about is winning, and winning the right way."
Oregon had nine plays that went for 20 yards or more, including seven in the first half. In the second half, Watford's mistakes helped Oregon turn a 28-10 halftime edge into a huge cushion.
"I made a lot of mistakes and that really hurt us," Watford said.
Watford turned the ball over on three of four drives in the third and fourth quarters — twice via interceptions, including one that was returned 97 yards to U.Va.'s 3 by cornerback Dior Mathis, and once on a fumble resulting from defensive tackle Alex Balducci's sack.
All three turnovers led to Oregon touchdowns, and the Ducks' lead ballooned to 52-10 with 9:40 left in the game.
"I would be lying if I said it was just another game," said U.Va. linebacker Daquan Romero, a Phoebus High graduate. "To play a team like Oregon, it's a good experience for all of us. If it weren't for the mistakes we made, we are a good enough football team to have stayed in that game."Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun