Virginia quarterback David Watford didn’t point fingers.
It wasn’t the line’s problem that he was sacked twice. It wasn’t the receivers’ fault that they didn’t have a catch over nine yards. A collective effort wasn’t the main reason behind the UVa offense generating less than 300 yards and turning it over four times.
It was ... “me,” Watford said following Virginia’s 59-10 loss to No. 2 Oregon on Saturday. “I executed not to the caliber that I wanted to. I made three costly mistakes — three costly turnovers. It wasn’t the offense’s fault as a whole. It was my fault. I take the blame, solely.”
Watford completed 29 of 41 passes for 161 yards with three interceptions and a lost fumble. Through two career starts, the redshirt sophomore is 47 of 73 for 275 yards with four picks and a touchdown.
Last week, he faced BYU’s sturdy 3-4 headlined by All-American linebacker Kyle Van Noy. Saturday, it was the blinding speed of the Ducks, headlined by a pair of accomplished cornerbacks in Ifo Ekpre-Olomu and Terrance Mitchell.
Watford didn’t test the duo much, choosing the underneath routes instead. Naturally, the Virginia tight end combination of Jake McGee and Zach Swanson made 12 catches for 96 yards.
As for UVa’s receivers? Tim Smith — with three receptions for 21 yards — was the leader.
“The tight ends’ opportunities presented themselves more often than not in the quarterback reads,” said Cavalier head coach Mike London. “Jake did catch the ball and did a nice job catching.
“They play a press coverage, a tight coverage, and they get on you, they dare you to throw it deep. Those two corners, they’re special. They play well.
“We’ll have to keep finding ways to get the ball to our playmakers.”
Watford said that responsibility falls on him.
“I feel like we have a lot of playmakers,” he said. “I have to get the ball to more guys and let them make plays with the ball. That’s the main thing. I just have to be able to spread the ball out and just get it out to my receivers and just let them do what they do — make plays.”
Watford threw a touchdown pass to Dominique Terrell in the fourth quarter that was called back because of offensive pass interference.
Two plays later, Watford tossed his third pick. This one was returned 97 yards by UO’s Dior Mathis.
Terrell was his intended target, but the duo was clearly not on the same page.
“It was my fault,” Watford said. “I saw something different than what Dom T saw. We have to be on the same page. I’m not blaming him at all. It wasn’t his fault. I threw the pass. It was behind him. They picked it off.
“It is what it is. We just have to learn from it.”
Oregon quarterback Marus Mariota run 71 yards for a touchdown on the game’s opening possession.
The sophomore went untouched on a draw.
What happened defensively?
“Just a blown assignment,” said UVa linebacker Daquan Romero. “We called something to the wrong side and it was an open gap and he just ran right through it.”
Oregon only had splashes of yellow in its Saturday uniform. It created more of that color on the field.
The Ducks were penalized 11 times for 119 yards.
“Obviously we need to clean it up and that’s 100 percent on me,” said Oregon head coach Mark Helfrich. “I thought we played with an unbelievable effort level, great determination, great desire. A couple of those things the officials said that they probably would not have called in some other situations. ... Offensively, we stubbed our toe with some silly penalties.”
Oregon has now won 16 consecutive road games. ... Virginia is now 2-18-1 all-time against top-five programs. ... Oregon’s 59 points were the most allowed by Virginia since Illinois scored 63 in the 1999 Micronpc.com Bowl. The 59 points are the sixth-most allowed by UVa in school history. ... True freshman cornerback Tim Harris played in the fourth quarter, burning his redshirt.