The No. 10 Oregon Ducks defeated the Texas Longhorns 30-7 in the Valero Alamo Bowl , allowing departing UO defensive coordinator Nick Aliotti to sail into the sunset with his head held high. Aliotti’s defensive unit delivered one of its most dominating performances of the season, turning two interceptions into touchdowns and completely shutting down the Texas passing game. The Ducks finished their 2013 campaign with an 11-2 record, their fourth season in a row with at least 11 wins. Also, head coach Mark Helfrich tied the Pac-12 record for most wins by a first year head coach. 65,918 fans witnessed the action, the second highest turnout in Alamo Bowl history. Though the vast majority were decked out in burnt orange apparel.
Marcus Mariota led the way for Oregon offensively, throwing for 253 yards and one touchdown and rushing for 134 yards on 15 carries. Josh Huff was not only the leading Ducks receiver, accumulating 104 yards receiving on five receptions, but broke the UO record for most receiving yards in a single season with 1140. UO kicker Matt Wogan had the busiest night of his freshman year, making three of four kicks. Oregon RB’s struggled all night to find running lanes. In fact, no UO RB had more than 50 yards rushing or five yards per carry.
Though Texas had 180 yards rushing, its passing game was nonexistent. Longhorns starting QB Case McCoy only threw for 48 yards on 2.8 yards per pass attempt. He also threw two pick six’s to Avery Patterson and Derrick Malone and was taken out of the game in the fourth quarter.
On the opening drive of the game, Patterson turned an interception into a touchdown, the third pick-six of his career. UO then forced a three and out on the Longhorns second drive. On the Ducks opening drive, Mariota ran for 54 yards, but after being sidelined because his helmet fell off, UO stalled near the end zone. However, Wogan knocked in a field goal.
But Texas struck back with a drive eclipsing seven minutes in length, highlighted by powerful and at times acrobatic runs by Texas RB Malcolm Brown and a fourth and eight conversion on a slants play to WR Jaxon Shipley. McCoy’s one yard QB sneak finished the drive.
On the following UO possession, after a successful 37 yard completion on a crossing route, disaster struck. On the same play, Mariota was stripped(though the ball went out of bounds) and LT Tyler Johnstone seriously injured his knee and didn’t return.
After a few more penalties and Mariota missing another play because his helmet was ripped off, the Ducks were forced to punt.
However, UO quickly got the ball back and delivered its best drive of the game. The Ducks went 88 yards in only 1:22 seconds, culminated by a shovel pass from Mariota to Huff for a touchdown.
Oregon led Texas 20-7 at the half. Mariota ran the ball for 132 yards on 12 carries and threw for 130 yards and one touchdown in the first half.
On the Ducks opening drive of the second half, Wogan added another field goal from 39 yards out. However, Mariota began to have problems with his knee and was forced to limit his mobility for the duration of the game.
On UO’s following drive, Huff caught a few passes and sealed his place in the Ducks history books. However, on third down Mariota was thrown down like a rag doll by a Texas defensive player by his face mask. Shockingly, the refs failed to call a face mask penalty. The following play, Wogan missed a short field goal.
Later on, Malone caught a McCoy pass and sliced and diced his way into the end zone for UO’s second pick-six of the night. The play not only gave the UO defense more points than the Texas offense, but was the last meaningful play of the game. After the clock struck zero, the Ducks had officially defeated a Big-12 school in a bowl game for the second consecutive season.
The game also marked the end of Mack Brown’s storied 16 season career as the head coach of the Texas Longhorns. Brown’s career was highlighted by 10 straight nine win seasons and one national championship in 2006.
Aliotti was with the Ducks off and on since 1984 and served as the UO defensive coordinator since 1999. Aliotti will always be remembered for his bright sense of humor, love of beer and for cultivating a fast and tenacious defense over nearly the last two decades.
As for the Ducks as a whole, they may not have envisioned their season coming to an end before 2014, but can at least take solace in defeating a marquee program and finishing with a stellar 11-2 record. Plus, with the return of Mariota, Grasu, Ifo Ekpre-Olomu and Terrance Mitchell, they should be toward the top of the preseason rankings yet again.