Tell me . . . if you knew that Oregon was held to four three-and-outs by Virginia today in the first half in Charlottesville, wouldn’t you have guessed that the Ducks were probably in for a fight?
Well, some fight. The Ducks swarmed Virginia, 59-10, giving the early suggestion that maybe things won’t be all that different under Mark Helfrich from what they were in the 46-7 reign of Chip Kelly.
Of course, it’s one game (I’m not counting the Nicholls State victory last week, which tells us next to nothing). But this was at a venue three time zones away from Oregon, which had never played in an ACC stadium before. Marcus Mariota bolted 71 yards through a clear secondary for the first Duck touchdown a few minutes in, they went for two and made it easily, and it looked a whole lot like what the Ducks did regularly under Kelly.
Virginia is no power — it finished 4-8 last season and coach Mike London is getting heat — but it did beat BYU last week. Lot of good that did the Cavaliers this week.
Oregon had the luxury of trotting out five-star running back Thomas Tyner of suburban Portland well into the second half, and he scored a touchdown on his first college carry. Then he added a 31-yard score later.
We’ll get a better fix on the Ducks after they host an SEC team, Tennessee, next week. After that, it’s Cal at home and Colorado on the road, so it looks highly likely Oregon comes into the new Husky Stadium Oct. 12 undefeated. Probably won’t be much buildup for that game.