SAN ANTONIO – No. 10 Oregon first felt overlooked by the Bowl Championship Series, and then came to the Alamo Bowl overshadowed by coach Mack Brown’s final game at Texas.
But the Ducks are flying home with an attention-getting blowout.
Quarterback Marcus Mariota had 386 total yards and Oregon returned two interceptions for touchdowns, spoiling Brown’s emotional farewell after 16 seasons at Texas with a runaway 30-7 victory Monday night.
The BCS-snubbed Ducks (11-2) dominated throughout — even though their famously high-powered offense scored a mere one touchdown and repeatedly settled for field goals. Yet the rout didn’t seem to completely balm the sting of not playing in a BCS bowl for the first time in five years, with Oregon players after the game still reflecting on their championship hopes derailed by November losses.
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Oregon coach Mark Helfrich declined to answer whether this season was a success.
“That’s for you to decide,” Helfrich said. “I don’t think in those terms. I think of how well we can prepare and what’s next.”
Brown received warm goodbyes from a sellout crowd of 65,918 in what was practically a home game for Texas (8-5). Even the school marching band spelled his name at halftime.
But the blowout was a final reminder of why Brown is resigning after a rocky season at Texas, which he led to a national championship in 2005 but couldn’t reverse a sharp decline in recent years.
Leaving the field for the last time with Texas, Brown flashed the “Hook ‘em Horns” hand signal to the scattered remaining Longhorns fans who stuck around to the end of another humbling loss this season. His players didn’t say a word while surrounding Brown and his wife, who walked side by side into the tunnel and toward the locker room.
Brown said he had no regrets about making this his exit.
“I think it’s best for Texas. It’s best for me, it’s best for the players,” he said. “We need to win more than eight games. Last year was nine. I really thought we had a chance to win all the games this year. It didn’t work.
“It’s my job to make that work. I told them tonight, the only regret I had is we didn’t win enough games this year.”
Mariota led all rushers with 133 yards on 15 carries. He was 18 of 26 for 253 yards passing in his Heisman Trophy campaign tuneup for 2014, having announced earlier this month he was coming back for his junior season.
His one touchdown pass was to Josh Huff, who turned a short pass into a spectacular 16-yard sprint to the end zone.
Yet even Mariota was outscored by Oregon’s defense — and so was Texas, for that matter.
Oregon’s first touchdown came on the third play of the game when safety Avery Patterson intercepted an overthrown pass by Texas quarterback Case McCoy and returned it 37 yards to the end zone. McCoy later bookended a dismal performance in his final game with another pick-six, this one returned 38 yards by linebacker Derrick Malone that sent waves of burnt orange-clad fans streaming for the exits.
Malcolm Brown was the lone offensive constant for Texas, finishing with 130 yards on 26 carries.