Originally written on NorthWest Sports Beat  |  Last updated 11/21/12
Undefeated no more The Oregon Ducks were well on their way to a BCS National Championship. They were 10-0, they were the second-ranked team in the country and their offense was putting up more points per game than any other team in college football. The path to the Natty was set, and a perfect season was well underway. And then the Cardinal came to town. The Stanford Cardinal entered week 12′s contest as the 13th-ranked team in the nation, and despite being the underdogs, they took down Mighty Oregon in grand fashion. The Ducks fell to the Cardinal 17-14 in overtime, and while fans may be disappointed about the national championship becoming a near-impossibility, the bigger story may be that the Pac-12 championship and the Rose Bowl are also now in question. What used to be “Plan B” is now the goal, and it’s all because of an untimely loss to Stanford this past weekend. Running Game The key matchup in this contest was Oregon’s rushing offense versus Stanford’s rushing defense, and it’s safe to say at this point that the Cardinal came away with the victory in that battle. Mariota was never able to get rolling against the Cardinal. (AP Photo/Don Ryan) The Ducks have been one of the best running teams in the country this year. Their modern twist on a classic strategy has helped them run circles around opponents, and it’s been what has helped them open up the passing game. Unfortunately for the team from Eugene, the Cardinal were the No. 1 rushing defense in week 12, and they showed it against Oregon’s attack. Kenjon Barner entered his name in Heisman talks with his performance against USC, but those talks have been put to a hault with his most recent outing: 61 yards and zero scores on 21 carries. Marcus Mariota and De’Anthony Thomas did prove to be difference makers when given the chance on the ground, but Kenjon Barner is the leader of this team, and his lack of productivity kept the Ducks under 200 yards rushing. Inefficient Passing The Ducks’ passing game has been fantastic all season. Heading into this game, Marcus Mariota had the nation’s highest quarterback rating and he was showing the poise of a senior in just his first season behind center. Oregon’s passing game had been efficient, but it’s safe to say that their efficiency had been a byproduct of an exceptional running game. Defenses had been forced to hone in on Barner all season, and when Stanford managed to completely take him out of the game, it put the pressure square on the shoulders of Mariota. Mariota had his worst game of the year, as he threw for 207 yards, one touchdown and one interception on just 21-of-37 passing. Kicking, Kicking, Kicking This one right here goes without saying, but let’s dive in anyway. Chip Kelly hasn’t trusted his kicker in quite some time. That point has been obvious going back to the botched field goal that could have sent the USC game to overtime in 2011. Kelly’s willingness to constantly go for it on fourth down is more than just having guts; it speaks volumes to how badly he wants to keep Alejandro Maldonado off the field. Nobody ever remembers the kicker unless a game comes down to the wire. Alejandro Maldonado had only made one field goal prior to his big miss Saturday night, but nobody thought anything of it heading into the contest. No game has ever been decided by one play, but unfortunately for the junior, it’s safe to say that his legacy is now cemented into Oregon history for all the wrong reasons. CLICK HERE CHECK OUT THE DUCKS BLOG IN OUR CLUBHOUSE TODAY AT NWSB!
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Cam Newton addresses ‘gang’ photo on Instagram

Steelers defense is younger and faster but not better

Duke basketball to visit White House next Tuesday

Report: Cowboys have interest in Broncos RB Montee Ball

NFL owners to discuss changing Goodell's disciplinary role

Report: Eagles trade Matt Barkley to Arizona Cardinals

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Bill Belichick on having Tom Brady back: ‘He never left’

Mendoza replaces Schilling on 'Sunday Night Baseball'

Report: LeBron expanding program to help adults get GEDs

Here's Johnny 2.0

Michigan remains a fixer-upper in wake of loss to Utah

Tom Brady Sr. happy 'Kangaroo Court' no longer in session

College Football News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Robert Griffin III and a dream deferred

Best, worst surprises of NFL preseason

The Gospel Of Harbaugh prepares for its ultimate test of faith

Meet the Utah Utes, the pluckiest program in college football

Iman Shumpert will name daughter Iman Shumpert Jr.

Dallas company celebrates Romo with DirecTV 'crownies'

Top 10 storylines for Week 4 of the NFL preseason

Matt Williams is still hopelessly married to the idea of the closer’s role

Five unique CFB games to watch this weekend

Be careful what you wish for, Jay Gruden

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker