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Oregon Football: 10 Things We Learned from the Win over Tennessee Tech

Nathan LoweryCorrespondent IJanuary 2, 2017

Oregon Football: 10 Things We Learned from the Win over Tennessee Tech

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    Oregon used their usual fashion of just straight-up steamrolling over a team to earn a victory over Tennessee Tech earlier today at Autzen.

    Four touchdowns from Marcus Mariota and more electrifying play by De'Anthony Thomas led the Ducks to a 63-14 win over the Golden Eagles to improve to 3-0.

    The Tennessee Tech game exposed some issues that the Oregon needs to repair, however, if they expect to accomplish their goals this season.

1. Marcus Mariota Is, in Fact, Human

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    It took 77 pass attempts, but Marcus Mariota finally threw an interception.

    The red shirt freshmen, making only his third collegiate start, made the turn over at the Tennessee Tech 27 yard line halfway through the second quarter.

    An interception is not a terrible thing for Mariota, however.

    He made a mistake. Now he can learn from this mistake and improve.

    Things have begun to calm down for Mariota ever since he made that phenomenal start against Arkansas State, which is a good thing, because now the expectations of him can start to become more realistic.

2. Penalties Can Really Hurt This Team

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    Tennessee Tech gained the majority of their yards against the Ducks through penalties.

    What makes this even more embarrassing for Oregon is that most of the penalties were personal fouls and late hits, the most avoidable penalties in the sport.

    Once the Ducks start playing teams that can actually provide a challenge, those penalties are going to hurt even more.

3. This Could Be the Deepest Team in the Nation

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    The Ducks were able to score three touchdowns after their starters left the game.

    Bryan Bennett ran for two, while freshmen Byron Marshall ran another in from four yards out.

    Mariota made completions to 12 different receivers for 308 yards.

    Even walk-on quarterback Dustin Haines stepped in the game.

    I can safely say that the Ducks could be dealt an injury and still be able to win the Pac-12. It's a testament to the coaching staff that they can have this many guys able to step in and win.

4. The Secondary Will Be Fine

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    With news of John Boyett being lost for the season coming earlier this week, many thought Oregon's secondary was going to get flat out beat this season.

    Those who thought that were proved wrong.

    Except for the early touchdown to Da'Rick Rogers, a pre-season All-American, the secondary played a sound game in allowing only 62-yards passing, and holding Rogers to only 38.

    Losing Boyett was a huge blow, but it's not crippling.

5. Kiko Alonso Is One of the Pac-12's Best Defenders

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    I'm so impressed with Alonso's road to redemption. From being suspended and perpetually sitting in Chip Kelly's doghouse to a huge interception in the Rose Bowl, and now being a leader on this team.

    One of the stories you could write a book about.

    Alonso has shown the ability to make plays in the backfield, in coverage, and stuffing backs up the middle.

6. The Defensive Line Is the Ducks' Biggest Strength

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    Before you all attack me and accuse me of being a crackhead, let me explain!

    Yes, the offensive playmakers are the highlight of the Ducks, but the defensive line is where we're going to be glad we have all of those big bodies.

    A main reason why Tennessee Tech only managed 62-yards passing against Oregon was because the defensive line was able to put pressure on their quarterback.

    Against teams with elite quarterbacks like Matt Barkley and Keith Price, who can read the secondary beautifully, being able to take a few seconds from their time in the pocket is going to be huge.

7. Thomas Has Eclipsed Barner

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    Before this game, I was a firm believer that Barner was going to have a better season than Thomas. He was supposed to receive the majority of the carries, and was also just an amazing athlete.

    After today, Thomas is, without a doubt, the better back.

    Six touches for 135 yards and two touchdowns (three if he hadn't have fumbled at the goal line).

8. The Backups Are Improving

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    Against Arkansas State and Fresno State, Oregon's second-stringers looked terrible.

    Against Tennessee Tech, however, only one touchdown was allowed in the second half, a vast improvement over when ASU put up 27 in the final three quarters and Fresno State clawed back to make it a 17-point game.

9.There Could Be Issues with Colt Lyerla

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    Lyelra did not see the field on offense for the entire first quarter.

    A converted defensive end now in his first year as a tight end got the start over Lyerla, and two freshmen also saw playing time before he did.

    With all practices being closed to the media and fans, and Chip Kelly being so silent about everything, we have no clue why Lyelra was limited today.

    It could be an injury, more grade issues, sub-par performance in practice, or tension with Kelly.  All we can do is speculate. 

10. Arizona Is in for a Rude Awakening

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    The Wildcats, who are hot off a win against Oklahoma State, come to Eugene next week, and boy are they in for a rude awakening.

    Oregon is playing such good football right now, and have continued to improve so much, that new Arizona head coach Rich Rodriguez is in trouble.

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