by Rob Moseley
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — Oregon flew across the country, playing as the No. 2 team in the nation for the first time this season, trounced an ACC opponent in Mark Helfrich's first road game with strong efforts on both offense and defense, and what was the subject of the first postgame question for Helfrich?
Penalties. The fact that there were 11 by the Ducks on Saturday, for 119 yards, one of the few blemishes on a 59-10 win at Virginia's Scott Stadium.
"That's 100 percent on me," Helfrich said. "I thought we played with an unbelievable effort level — great determination, great desire. Now we need to play with a little more discipline."
Particularly troubling were a series of personal fouls: A retaliation penalty against offensive tackle Jake Fisher, a late hit by Drew Howell, collisions with the quarterback by Ricky Havili-Heimuli and Boseko Lokombo, and on and on.
Coming a week after cornerback Terrance Mitchell was ejected from the Ducks' opener under new NCAA rules against targeting, penalties are one of the few issues to plague Oregon through two games.
"That's not who we are," Helfrich vowed.
Offensive lineman Tyler Johnstone said that "lack of discipline" was his biggest takeaway from Saturday's game, despite the one-sided result.
"There was a lot of jawing going on, and we kind of fell into that a little bit," Johnstone said. "We had too many unsportsmanlike conducts, too many personal fouls."
Helfrich said Howell, the UO long snapper, legitimately wasn't aware a play had been whistled dead when he made the hit that drew his 15-yard flag. De'Anthony Thomas earned one for unsportsmanlike conduct when, following a penalty on Virginia, he repeatedly clapped in the Cavaliers' direction.
"I was shocked … but they made the decision to give me a penalty and I've just got to learn from it," Thomas said.