CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — Just go ahead and call him Thomas "Touchdown" Tyner.
Oregon's highly touted freshman running back lived up to the billing by scoring a touchdown on his first career carry as a Duck and adding a 31-yard touchdown run after an ankle-breaking move in the fourth quarter.
Tyner put the finishing touches on No. 2 Oregon's 59-10 victory over Virginia on Saturday after De'Anthony Thomas started the festivities with 124 yards rushing and three touchdowns.
"Natural runner," coach Mark Helfrich said of Tyner. "The zone cut on that longer touchdown was a natural cut; guys either have that or they don't.
"Gary Campbell is an unbelievable running backs coach, but you can't teach that feel and that kind of angle that he took. That's encouraging."
Tyner, who missed the opener against Nicholls after injuring his leg in camp, said it was discouraging not being able to contribute for the first seven quarters of this season.
In the fourth quarter against the Cavaliers, he ran for 51 yards on four carries.
"I was wanting to go in the whole game. For me to get in the end zone my first carry ever as a Duck was just exciting," Tyner said.
"I couldn't even explain the feeling. ... I don't really like standing on the sideline, but just being with the team and watching them and bonding is great."
Byron Marshall was the starting running back of record, with Thomas splitting out wide on the first snap. Marshall struggled against Virginia's stout defensive front, finishing with 31 yards on 15 carries and getting stopped on a fourth-and-goal at the 1 just before halftime.
"Byron Marshall is a great tailback. It's an 11-man job running the football," Helfrich said. "There is absolutely nothing wrong with Byron. We could have put him in there at the end to pad those stats, but he knows his football team won today. He didn't have bad stats, his football team won."