You would think that holding Oregon to just one offensive touchdown would be enough to beat the Ducks.
Not in Monday night’s Alamo Bowl.
Oregon stole two Case McCoy passes and returned them for touchdowns and Marcus Mariota passed for 253 yards and rushed for 134 as No. 10 Oregon crushed Texas, 30-7, in Mack Brown’s last game as the Longhorn head coach.
Oregon improved to 11-2, while Texas fell to 8-5. The Ducks have now won at least 11 games in each of the last four seasons.
While much of the focus was on Brown’s exit from coaching, there was less talk about the retirement of Ducks defensive coordinator Nick Aliotti. As a fitting tribute, Oregon held Texas to just 236 total yards, including 56 in the air. Avery Patterson and Derrick Malone both had pick sixes and the Longhorns were able to convert only 6 of 17 third down conversions.
The only bright spot for Texas was running back Malcolm Brown, who rushed for 130 yards on 26 carries.
The only thing that kept Oregon from truly blowing this game open was Mariota’s knee issues. As good as he looked in the first half, his knee appeared to stiffen up in the third quarter and that seemed to limit what the Ducks could do.
Now that this game is over, Texas can start focusing on its future. Who will be the new head coach? What kind of style will the Longhorns run? This is still a team with a lot of talent, but it has lacked a sense of urgency in recent years. If the new coach can light a fire under this roster, look out.
As for the Ducks, look out for them again next season. This is still a very young team and Oregon will have most of its best talent back, including Mariota, who will be a prime Heisman contender as long as he stays healthy. With Stanford losing much of its defense, Oregon will have to be considered the Pac-12 favorite and, once again, a legitimate national title contender.