Originally posted on The Duck Stops Here  |  Last updated 11/8/13
Oregon put on a furious 4th quarter rally in a game Stanford thorougly dominated on both lines, falling 26-20 in Palo Alto in a nationally televised Thursday night game on ESPN. The loss ends a national title bid by the Ducks, puts The Cardinal in first place with all the tiebreakers in the PAC-12 North. It cripples Marcus Mariota in the Heisman Trophy race, after Shane Skov and his defense battered him on the field. The Ducks managed just 62 yards on the ground. Stanford, behind their mammoth offensive line and jumbo packages, ran at will, 274 yards, 25 total first downs, over 42 minutes of time of possession. They led 17-0 at halftime. For the game, the Ducks fumbled twice inside the 30 and turned the ball over on downs on 4th and goal at the four.  De'Anthony Thomas, who made a game-week boast about scoring 40, had the ball ripped away from him by Shane Skov at the Stanford 4 in the second quarter. It was a crucial error in a game where the Ducks made nearly all of them.  They had the game's only two turnovers, and were penalized 10 times for 81 yards, including a tick-tacky pass interference call on Ifo Ekpre-Olomu that negated an interception. Stanford, disciplined and smart, committed just a pair of 5-yard infractions in the game. Mariota found some rhythm late, but was erratic in the first half. He appeared limited, passing up chances to run, separated from the ball twice, losing it once, hammered several times. At one point he appeared to injure his groin as linebacker A.J. Tarpley stripped him at the Stanford 28 on the first Oregon possession of the third quarter. Stanford was physical and dominant, just like last year. Oregon tried 3 onside kicks in the fourth quarter comeback, recovering one of them. They scored the game's last 20 points over the final 10 minutes, getting a 23-yard td pass to Daryle Hawkins, a 65-yard rumble with a blocked field goal by Rodney Hardrick, and a sharply-thrown 12-yard td pass to Pharaoh Brown in the back of end zone. But the Cardinal built too much of a lead with their relentless running attack. When they recovered Oregon's last onside kick, all they had to do is run three plays and run out the clock. The loss confirms all the cliches about the Ducks, as they again fell to a physical team in a big game. The blueprint to beat Oregon, and all the memes about their perceived softness and inability to handle elite offensive and defensive lines remain, for now, validated. All the Ducks and Oregon fans can do now is look ahead to a November 16th game with Utah, followed by Arizona and Oregon State in the last three games of the regular season. Oregon will fall in the polls, probably to 9th or 10th. They're still in the running for a good bowl game, even an outside shot at the Rose Bowl as Stanford travels to Los Angeles next week to face an improving USC squad. Currently the Ducks and Cardinal are tied at 8-1, Oregon 5-1 in conference, Stanford 6-1 with SC, Cal and Notre Dame remaining. Mariota finished the game 20-34 for 250 yards and 2 tds. His Heisman credentials are tarnished, but no one on the plane home is thinking about that at all. The Ducks have a long weekend to regroup, and they get to play another football game in 9 days.  
What a time to be Tom Herman!
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