On a cold night in Eugene Oregon’s high powered offensive attack wasn’t able to start their afterburners and the Stanford’s own offense played keep away and won 17-14 in overtime Saturday night.
Marcus Mariota gets caught from behind on an early run against Stanford. It was a pivotal play that could have won Oregon the game.
Oregon clung to a 14-7 lead late into the fourth quarter but couldn’t get their defense off the field as Stanford went on an 11-play 78 yard drive that chewed up 4:53 off the clock and ended with a Zach Ertz touchdown catch from 10 yards out over an outstretched Ifo Ekpre-Olomu.
“Those guys played a little bit better than us so I have to give credit to them,” said a subdued Chip Kelly afterwards. “I give a ton of credit to Stanford. They certainly won the football game.”
Oregon started the first overtime period with the ball but much like most of the game Oregon failed to convert a first down and was forced to kick a 41-yard field goal. Junior Alejandro Maldonado had missed a 42-yarder wide right in the third quarter and in overtime his ever so crucial kick slammed into the upright and fell to the ground.
Kevin Hogan fumbled the ball on a second down scramble and it appeared Oregon’s defense was able to make their stand but senior Michael Clay and sophomore Ifo Ekpre-Olomu collied on the ball at the same time and Stanford recovered. Two plays later Stanford’s Jordan Williamson knocked in a 37-yard kick for the 17-14 victory.
“I told those guys it's tough and things aren’t always going to go your way. That’s life, that’s football,” Chip Kelly said. “We will find out more about this football team when we get to practice on Monday and we see how they handle this situation. They’ve handled success and now its the first time they’ve faced adversity and we will see how they are. I am confident in how they will come back from this. It hurts and from my situation you’d love to have some words to take the pain out of it but there aren’t. You will feel real real bad for a little bit of time but you have to bounce back from it.”
Stanford was able to deflate Oregon’s offensive attack by playing keep away and pounding the ball via the run. Taylor finished the night rushing for 161 yards on 33 carries while Hogan added 37 yards and a score. More importantly Oregon’s offense was forced to sit on the sidelines. Stanford held onto the football for 37:05 and most importantly 11:06 of the fourth quarter.
“That’s a good defense and [they] ran the ball with power football,” said Kelly. “We kinda knew it would be this kind of game going in.”
Oregon’s run game wasn’t on par with their standards for the second straight game rushing for just 198 yards and almost a third of that coming on just one run when Mariota ran for 77 in the first half. Mariota finished the night rushing for 89 yards on 12 carries and senior running back Kenjon Barner added 66 on 21 carries.
Boseko Lokombo goes airborne for a tackle against Kevin Hogan.
Last week when Cal shut down Oregon’s ground attack they went to the air and thrived. Saturday night however Mariota couldn’t find enough time to be as effective as possible and finished throwing 21-of-37 for 207 yards and a touchdown and interception.
Stanford scored first when Hogan evaded not one but two would-be-tacklers in the backfield and then dived from Oregon’s 2-yard line into the end zone with 12:39 left in the second quarter.
After Hogan missed tight end Zach Ertz on a 4th and one pass at Oregon’s 41 the Ducks evened the score three plays later when Mariota found sophomore Keanon Lowe open in the end zone for a 28-yard strike.
The Ducks took the lead for the first time all evening when De’Anthony Thomas capped a 15 play 95 yard drive that lasted all of just 3:20 by rushing up the middle for six yards and the score. Oregon led 14-7 with just 6:35 left in the third.
But from there Stanford kept the ball out of Oregon’s hands for most of the game and eventually Hogan found Ertz in the back of the end zone for a 10-yard score with just 1:35 left in the game.
Oregon’s coaches and players all talked about having to move on from Saturday’s shocking loss because the Civil War is looming and the season isn’t over just yet.
“We always have a ton to play for. We have to go back to work on Monday and prepare for a tough team in Oregon State,” said Kelly. “We will come back to work on Monday.”