Vols-Oregon Preview

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Updated: 9/12/2013 4:04 pm

Tennessee (2-0) vs. No. 2 Oregon (2-0), 3:36 p.m. ET (ABC)


Line: Oregon by 27½.


Series record: Oregon 1-0.


Oregon's high-powered blur offense gets another shot to measure up to a team from the Southeastern Conference. The Ducks defeated the Vols 48-13 in Knoxville in their only previous meeting in 2010. That season Oregon faced another SEC team, Auburn, in the BCS national championship game. Overall the Ducks are 4-5 against teams from the SEC, but they've won the last three of four - with the only loss coming against the Tigers in the title game.


KEY MATCHUP


Tennessee's defense against Oregon's offense. The Vols are tied for first in the nation with nine forced turnovers and also are at the top of the list for interceptions with seven. Tennessee returned two interceptions for touchdowns last week against Western Kentucky. Oregon leads the Pac-12 in total offense, averaging 664.5 yards a game, and rushing offense, with 425 yards per game. Nationally, Oregon ranks second in rushing offense and third in total offense.


PLAYERS TO WATCH


Tennessee: RB Rajion Neal. A sturdy back with the ability to pound out yards, Neal has had 31 carries for 215 yards through his first two games. Tennessee has also seen production from Marlin Lane, giving the Vols a 1-2 punch: "Well I think in today's world of college football, from a durability aspect and the pounding running backs take, not only are they getting hit every snap they run the football but they're involved in pass protection when they're on the perimeter. You need more than one running back," coach Butch Jones said.


Oregon: QB Marcus Mariota. The dual-threat sophomore quarterback has thrown for 422 yards and three touchdowns, and he's rushed for 235 yards and three more scores. "Marcus would be great in any system. We're very fortunate to have him and we're excited about his future," coach Mark Helfrich said. "When things break down he can convert a third down - or in his case he can convert a third down and turn it into a 7- or 8-yard run. That's huge. That changes defenses."


FACTS & FIGURES


Fifteen of Oregon's 17 touchdowns drives have taken less than two minutes. ... Mariota needs 13 yards rushing for 1,000 in his career. ... Tennessee is tied for first in the nation with nine forced turnovers. The Vols are also tied for first with seven interceptions. ... The Ducks' time of possession is averaging just 20:36 a game this season. ... Oregon running back De'Anthony Thomas has five touchdowns this season, and he's averaging 1.4 TDs per game for his career. ... Tennessee sophomore defensive back Brian Randolph had two interceptions in the Vols' 52-20 victory over Western Kentucky last Saturday, earning him SEC defensive player of the week honors. He's the first Vol to receive the honor since 2008.

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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