EUGENE, Ore. (AP) — By no means does No. 4 Oregon look at Tennessee Tech as a cakewalk win. It's a chance to address the details before the Pac-12 season starts and the Ducks take aim at a fourth straight conference title.
The lower-division Golden Eagles (2-0) will visit intimidating Autzen Stadium on Saturday having never defeated an FBS-level team. It will be their first outing against a Pac-12 opponent.
While it figures to be an easy day for the Ducks, it is also their last tuneup for league play — so they're looking to iron out some kinks.
Oregon (2-0) has outscored its two non-conference opponents 99-59, but those opponents have outscored Oregon 43-14 in the second half.
In a 57-34 victory over Arkansas State in the opener, the Ducks played their reserves after building up a big first-half lead. But last weekend against Fresno State, many of Oregon's starters — including quarterback Marcus Mariota and running back Kenjon Barner — played until the end.
Oregon led 35-6 at halftime but the Bulldogs outscored the Ducks 19-7 in the second half. Oregon's final score came late in the game when Barner took charge and ran the ball 10 times in a single drive, capped by a 16-yard touchdown dash.
Center Hroniss Grasu, who himself struggled with a few errant snaps, was not pleased.
"I don't like walking off the field knowing the other team finished the game better than we did. Nobody likes that," Grasu said. "At practice we work on finishing, and that's what we need to do."
"I just think there's been points in the game where we felt the game was out hand and we got a little complacent. But that's easy to nip in the bud and we should be OK," Mariota said. "I think what happened this last week kind of really woke us up as an offense to really keep our foot on the pedal."
Oregon was hit this week by the loss of two of its senior leaders, free safety John Boyett and guard Carson York.
Boyett told his hometown newspaper earlier this week that he needed surgery to repair patellar tendons in both knees. The injury will end his career with the Ducks unless Oregon successfully petitions the NCAA for an additional year of eligibility.
York hurt his right kneecap during Oregon's 42-25 win over Fresno State last weekend. He announced to reporters that he also required surgery and his season was done.