Posted November 08, 2013

Three and Out: Stanford downs Oregon 26-20 to quash Ducks’ BCS title hopes

Oregon Ducks, Pac-12, Stanford Cardinal
David Parry; Marcus Mariota; A.J. Tarpley

Stanford’s defense held quarterback Marcus Mariota (8) and Oregon’s offense in check. (Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP)

For the second consecutive year, Oregon’s dreams of an unbeaten season were dashed with a loss to Stanford. Here are three takeaways from the Cardinal’s 26-20 victory over the Ducks in Palo Alto:

Dumbfounded Ducks: Even those who predicted a Stanford victory on Thursday likely didn’t envision it happening like this. The offensively minded Ducks, who came in averaging more than 55 points per game, looked lost for most of the night against linebacker Shayne Skov and the Cardinal defense.

Oregon had zero rushing yards after the first quarter. Its totaled just 61 rushing yards for the game. The Marcus Mariota-led passing game was hardly explosive, and Oregon finished with 311 yards of total offense, a drastic drop-off from its season average of 632.

Turnovers proved costly. Oregon lost two fumbles, including one that Skov stripped from De’Anthony Thomas at the Stanford two-yard line early in the second quarter. The Ducks were penalized eight times for 66 yards, and most strikingly, were dominated in the time-of-possession battle: Stanford held the ball for 42:34. Oregon had it for 17:26.

Just like last November, Stanford’s vaunted defense got the best of Oregon’s normally explosive attack. Despite rallying to mount a late charge, the Ducks’ BCS title hopes likely evaporated into the Palo Alto air.

Heisman hopes dashed? Mariota was the presumed favorite for the Heisman Trophy heading into Week 11. But after struggling in Thursday’s loss to Stanford, such aspirations may well have vanished.

Mariota shouldn’t be the scapegoat for the Ducks’ loss, but he simply wasn’t his usual self. He went 20-of-34 for 250 yards with one touchdown, but he was a virtual nonfactor on the ground, carrying six times for -16 yards. (Reports surfaced that Mariota was dealing with a knee injury.) He helped Oregon close the fourth quarter on a 20-0 run, but it ultimately proved to be too little, too late.

To Mariota’s credit, he remained without an interception on the season. But the quarterback’s primary Heisman contender, Florida State’s Jameis Winston, greatly benefits from the Ducks’ defeat — both in the awards race and the national title hunt.

Late run for the Cardinal? It seems so long ago that Stanford lost 27-21 at Utah on Oct. 12. Yet that’s largely because the Cardinal have knocked off three ranked opponents (UCLA, Oregon State and Oregon) since then. Stanford was largely written off in the BCS championship race after falling to the Utes, but the path to Pasadena doesn’t appear as far-fetched any more. David Shaw’s team has the inside track to the Pac-12 North title. The rest of the Cardinal’s schedule is seemingly favorable. Stanford would need several other current unbeatens to fall, but it has a chance. Over the final few weeks of the regular season, plenty of chaos could still ensue.

33 comments
mcmilch
mcmilch

I do not understand how Oregon a team that folds whenever they play a balanced team keeps getting the nod every year. Yet Ohio State just wins games and because they were lost a couple of National Championships when the current group of players were playing pop warner football get the automatic jump over by the next team in line. The powers to be are already looking down the rankings searching for anyone. Baylor really ? What are they afraid of?

brians356
brians356

Oregon will never win a national title playing "scamper" football. I now believe Stanford vs Alabama would be the ultimate title game, and garner the most interest coast to coast. Stanford's power game deserves a test against the big dogs of 'Bama. Please, please let the chips fall to make it happen!

thebigdawg3
thebigdawg3

Watching the Duck players cry like little girls on the sideline

      Priceless!

JeffBockert
JeffBockert

To win with the Ducks O, the QB has to be a great decision maker. Mariota played the worst game I've ever seen him play. He was indecisive and didn't use his speed to run the ball when his receivers were covered. The ducks turned the ball over too many times and Stanford got some good bounces when they dropped the ball. Reports are out now that Mariota came into the game with a sprained MCL – which explains his terrible performance. Injuries are part of the game – bad luck for Oregon. I think if he was healthy, they could have won. Until they actually win a game against this type of team though, we are left wondering what would have happened had he been healthy.

 

ReneGauthier
ReneGauthier

A 32-team playoff would dismiss all this BCS championship talk.

Rickapolis
Rickapolis

The computers that had Oregon ahead of FSU were wrong again, right?

kafka45
kafka45

It was fun watching Stanford  just STUFF Oregon for 3 1/2 quarters... BUT..  if that game had gone 5 more minutes,  Ore would have won.  But... they didn't.. and they didn't.    Go Stanford!

RJC
RJC

Can't wait to see my Noles play Bama...that'll be a great championship game

ndrwwbstr
ndrwwbstr

I'll start out by saying I'm an Oregon fan.  I have no sympathy for them.  For the past four years (Auburn, USC, Stanford, Stanford) Oregon has proven that they can't handle big, physical teams.  Each year, I keep thinking this is the year that Oregon can finally man-up, and each time they leave us heart-broken.  I will never again consider Oregon a National Title contender until they can prove that their style of play can compete against these big, physical teams.  My personal opinion: it'll never happen.  From now on, to me as an Oregon fan, it's all smoke, mirrors, and flashy bark with no bite.  

Cool
Cool

And Oregon was half way to their goal of scoring 40 on Stanford....those players look like half the prophets they were a couple days ago.

Blinker
Blinker

Wow...  I have to say after Stanford lost this year (and who they lost to) I thought Oregon was going to win by a large margin.  It's not the first time I have been wrong.  Hats off to Stanford, they played a great game against the odds.

PatrickBatemanVP
PatrickBatemanVP

This is what happens when finesse meets toughness. Toughness usually prevails.

mbroncofan
mbroncofan

Hey Oregon!!  Before you shoot your mouth off about "We Want Bama" you better learn how to clean up your own back yard.  You think that Stanford D was tough?  And I can promise you the 'Bama offense is a whole bunch better.  Once again, the 'posers' of the West cannot get past a decent "SEC" style defense.  Stanford is a whole bunch scarier team to 'Bama than Oregon will ever be.

HarshRealities
HarshRealities

Stanford is the only team in the PAC12 that plays good defense. Oregon's high powered offense is only high powered against soft defenses.

akattack
akattack

I wonder if Oregon's coaches will start crying about another opponent playing until the final whistle.

Dark
Dark

So, DeAnthony Thomas said they'd score 40 on Stanford.  Denied!


Fear the Tree... Fear it!

Rick57
Rick57

What's that sound you hear? It's the annual choke-fest coming out of Eugene.

A36
A36

It doesn't matter -- next year everyone will say that Stanford can't beat Oregon all over again.  It's so annoying.

donald5
donald5

@Rickapolis The computers get things wrong every year.  They are not magic fortune telling computers

Choutsu
Choutsu

@kafka45 No Oregon wouldn't have won. They were already mentally broken. They got lucky with a blocked field goal, and a recovered onsides kick which both resulted in points. Even in the final minutes of the game, Stanford was bowing up and breaking them down, stuffing them, causing fumbles, and shattering the glass house that is Oregon.

stagger
stagger

@ndrwwbstr I agree with everything you said. Just wanted to add LSU in the 2011 opener to that list above... :)

JeffBockert
JeffBockert

@mbroncofan   Sorry dude, Stanford's O is every bit as good as Bama. They have a better O line and their QB can scramble in addition to being able to throw the ball. 

doghockey
doghockey

@Rick57 How is losing that game choking?   They got beat up and down the field the entire game.  They never had a chance to choke away anything.

macbaldy
macbaldy

@A36 Shayne Skov was a frosh LB in 2009 when Stanford beat Oregon 52-41 behind Toby Gerhart and Andrew Luck.  Skov missed 20011 with an injury but he was partying in the backfield during Stanford's win at Autzen last year.  Now, Skov has a winning record against every team in the PAC-12, including 3 wins against the Ducks.  Oregon has a Stanford problem, not vice versa.

ndrwwbstr
ndrwwbstr

@Choutsu I agree.  The only reason why Oregon began scoring was because Stanford began dropping more into pass coverage instead of dominating Oregon's O-line as they had all game (which resulted in the 26-0 lead).

ndrwwbstr
ndrwwbstr

@stagger Colin Cowherd put it well this morning: "Oregon lost more than a football game last night, they lost an argument"

Choutsu
Choutsu

@JeffBockert @mbroncofan You are crazy Jeff. National Rankings for Bama and Stanford: Scoring offense Bama 10th/Stanford 50th, Rushing Offense Bama 26th/Stanford 28th

Here's where Bama is a lot better...Passing Offense Bama 51st/ Stanford 105th, Passing Efficiency Bama 8th/ Stanford 36th

ndrwwbstr
ndrwwbstr

@doghockey I think what he may be referring to is that over the past four years the games Oregon have lost have been the most important and pivotal to their season.  The games that had to be won were lost.  However, I think I agree with you because believing Oregon chocked necessitates that you believe they had a chance to begin with.  After last night, it seems to me that Oregon has never had a chance against Auburn, LSU, and Stanford.  They, as you stated, simply got beat up and down the field.