#3 Oregon suffers a heartbreaking 31-24 loss to unranked Stanford Saturday afternoon at Stanford Stadium. Oregon will surely slide down the rankings and this is the fifth time in 20 years that Stanford has beaten the Ducks when they were in the top-10 of the rankings.
Stanford loves raining on Oregon’s parade and especially doing it late in games, the Cardinal is now 4-0 all-time against the Ducks in overtime.
Oregon fans were quickly given poor memories of Stanford spoiling Oregon teams when the first Cardinal touchdown was a big Stanford WR/TE climbing the ladder against a smaller Oregon DB. The touchdown play was deja vu for how Stanford eventually tied the game at 24 to end regulation.
It was a flat-out bad first half for Ducks QB Anthony Brown. The Boston College grad transfer had a poor pick to Gabe Reis and subpar accuracy resulting in an overthrow down the right sideline which would have been a chunk gain. The most significant play of the first half came with under a minute left in the second quarter when the Ducks decided to go for it on fourth and inches away from the goal line; instead of pitching it out to powerful back C.J Verdell in space, Brown kept it himself from shotgun and was stuffed by the Cardinal.
It wasn’t just Brown, the Ducks were down 17-7 in the first half largely due to going 1-6 on third downs, 0-1 on fourth down, and had less than 200 yards of total offense. Costly flags presented themselves for both teams but Oregon had three for 37 yards in the opening half including a defensive pass interference that gave juice to a Stanford scoring drive.
In the second half, Oregon stormed back into the game. The defense secured consecutive three-and-outs while the offense out-possessed Stanford nearly two-to-one for the final 30 minutes. Despite an injury to C.J Verdell and missing starting Center Alex Forsyth, Oregon was able to score 17 unanswered points against the Cardinal before disaster struck late.
Oregon overall was the better offensive team, outgaining Stanford 414-354 but penalties galore and questionable decision making in the first half was too costly.
Before the final drive, Stanford had just north of 100 yards for the half but Stanford QB Tanner McKee and company marched 86-yards in 11 plays. The final drive was certainly supplemented by some flags against Oregon including a targeting that ejected Kayvon Thibodeaux from the game and a defensive holding on the final play of the game gave Stanford one more attempt from the five. McKee did what so many Stanford QBs have done before, a fade into the endzone. The fade converted to Elijah Higgins for a two-yard TD with triple zeros on the clock to tie the game at 24.
Overtime didn’t last long: John Humphreys rolled into the endzone on a 14-yard TD catch to put Stanford up 31-24. Anthony Brown and Oregon couldn’t respond, not even picking up a first down with the final play an incomplete pass on 4th-and-eight.
Oregon was given healthy chances of making the College Football Playoff but with a loss to unranked Stanford and just one ranked game on the schedule right now, UCLA, Oregon needs some luck from elsewhere in the country to get in.
Oregon Statistical Leaders:
QB- Anthony Brown: 14/26, 186yds, 7.2avg, 2TD (both rushing), 1INT
RB- CJ Verdell: 63yds, 3,7avg, 1TD
RB- Travis Dye: 96yds, 5.1avg
WR- Micah Pittman: 1rec, 66yds
Stanford Statistical Leaders:
QB- Tanner McKee: 20/36, 230yds, 6.4avg, 3TD, 0INT
RB- Nathaniel Peat: 78yds, 5.2avg
WR- Elijah Higgins: 6rec, 62yds, 1TD
WR- John Humphreys: 4rec, 53yds, 1TD
WR- Brycen Tremayne: 3rec, 48yds, 1TD