I'm always having to defend the Ducks' honor against my SEC friends, and I'm getting tired of it quite frankly! Grant it, Oregon's recent history against SEC teams, especially playing on the biggest stages (Auburn/LSU), hasn't been anything to speak of. But one game that I am proud of is Oregon's dismantling of Tennessee in 2010. In this look back article, I talk about one of my favorite games. This is for you SEC honks who say Oregon - and other pac 12 teams for that matter - can't play with the SEC.
That last part, is a common misconception amongst SEC fans, that think the Pac 12 can't hang with the SEC, and don't have the same caliber of athletes. You hear it so much, that even I sort of bought in, which is why I was so nervous about Oregon's chances going into that game. Even though Tennessee was down, and Oregon was coming off a 70-0 beat-down over New Mexico, I was nervous.
There were many reasons to be nervous: the distance Oregon had to travel, playing in humidity, and of course that SEC "speed." Tennessee is a historic program, and Oregon was going into their house as the favorite, and was actually a big game for them. A stadium that has a reputation for being a tough place to play, with over 100,000 orange clad fans who are loud!
My thoughts were, would Oregon be tired? Would they be intimidated? Would they get fatigued from the heat as the game wore on?
The start to the game didn't do anything to calm my fears. Tennessee was a physical running team, and had a lot of success early on running the ball at Oregon. When the Vols jumped out to a 13-3 lead, I sat back on my couch thinking to myself, 'I knew this would happen.' I was trying to come to terms with the fact that this could be a long, long game.
Fortunately Chip Kelly and his boys don't get as easily discouraged as I do. They regrouped during a 70-minute lightning delay, and came back out to tie the game at 13 going into halftime. As the first half winded down, you got a sense that they were starting to get a rhythm going on offense, and were getting more confident. You just hoped that they could keep the momentum going in the second half?
Oregon wasted no time in picking up where they left off in the first half. The onslaught began with one of LaMichael James's most memorable runs of his career. The tie-breaking touchdown began when James took the ball from Darron Thomas, went right, where he ran into three Vols. Play over right? Wrong! He cutback the other way, and ran 72 yards up the sideline for the score! Oregon took the lead and never looked back.
It continued when Cliff Harris added a 76-yard interception return for a touchdown, followed by a 29-yard touchdown catch by Lavasier Tuinei, an 80-yard punt return for a touchdown by Kenjon Barner, and a 2-yard touchdown run by Remene Alston in garbage time.
By that time, the crowd of 102,035 had been filing out. Oregon outlasted them, overpowered them, and overwhelmed them. Tennessee linebacker Nick Reveiz summed it up best when he said, "they beat our butts. Completely dismantled us."
For me, the win was very satisfying. A statement win against a tradition rich program in their house. Final score: Oregon 48 Tennessee 13. One of Tennessee's worst home defeats ever.