Stanford 17 – 14 Oregon Love’Em & Hate’Em
This was not the game that many Oregon Ducks fans thought they would witnessed when they traveled to Autzen Stadium on Saturday night for a clash of Pac-12 heavyweights.
From early on the Cardinal limited Oregon’s opportunities to burst into open space, giving Stanford the hope of sticking with the Ducks for the remainder of the game.
And, when it was all sad and done, the Stanford Cardinal created BCS mayhem when they slid a field goal just inside the uprights to give them a 17-14 overtime victory over the No. 2 Oregon Ducks. For Stanford, the win was a defining moment that saw them finally slip past the Ducks after two straight years of being overrun.
They now have a straight shot at the Pac-12 Championship game, a game in which they can secure a spot with a victory over the UCLA Bruins.
For Oregon, this game likely derailed any chances they had at making their second appearance in the BCS National Championship game in three years. The loss also may usurp the Ducks from their Pac-12 supremacy should Stanford win next week and keep Oregon out of the Pac-12 Championship game.
Still trying to recover from that loss, here are this week’s love ‘em and hate ‘em
Defense Steps Up
While it could be argued that Stanford’s offense wasn’t the greatest thing in the world, freshman quarterback Kevin Hogan looked stellar in his first true road game. And, while the Cardinal were able to move the ball down the field at times, the Oregon defense played a great game despite having key starters out with injuries.
Throughout the game Oregon would bend but not break. They may have given up quite a few yards to Stepfan Taylor, but they created turnovers and looked very motivated to give their offense the best shot at winning the game.
Still BCS Contenders
Though the BCS National Championship will likely be out of the picture (barring major BCS mayhem towards the end of the season), the Ducks will still have a very realistic shot at playing in yet another BCS game, even if the Stanford Cardinal manage to handle the Bruins next week and advance to the Pac-12 Championship game.
With the Cardinal ranked at No. 13 heading into last night’s contest and the Ducks just losing to the Cardinal (a loss many would argue is not justified with Stanford’s controversial TD), Oregon should remain at least within the top-10 teams in the BCS Standings, thus giving them a legitimate shot at a BCS at-large bid.
The Touchdown that Wasn’t
Trailing 14-7 the Cardinal drove down the field and scored an apparent touchdown to tie the game up when Zach Ertz pulled in a deep pass from Kevin Hogan in the back of the end zone. And yet, despite all the reverie echoing from Stanford fans, the initial ruling on the field was that Ertz was out of bounds when he maintained control of the ball.
After a lengthy review the call was overturned and the game was tied, setting up an overtime that would see the Ducks fall to the Cardinal.
And yet, though the officials underwent a lengthy review process, much has been made about the controversial touchdown that apparently wasn’t. In fact, while Ertz may have established control of the ball while his body was still in bounds, no part of his body was touching the ground to give him possession until his shoulder touched the ground.
And, even with that the ball still rotated in his hands and he had to readjust it to finally secure the ball when he was clearly out of bounds. Here’s what Mike Pereira, once the vice president of officiating in the NFL had to say:
Alejandro Maldonado and the Oregon Kicking Game
For many Oregon fans, Alejandro Maldonado and the Oregon field goal unit has been a thorn in the side of the Ducks for the past two years. While the kicking unit is rarely called upon to make field goals, Maldonado missed two late field goals that would have helped Oregon at least keep the game tied in overtime (one would have put the Ducks ahead in the fourth).
Unfortunately for Maldonado this is not the first time that he has missed a crucial field goal. He has been inconsistent throughout his career and it is unfortunate that Oregon does not have a better kicker.
Never argue against what Chip Kelly does but the play calling on the offensive side of the ball last night seemed a little redundant and dry.
Stanford had consistently shown throughout the contest that they were going to control the middle of the field and yet the Ducks kept trying to pound the ball up the middle or try to swing it just outside of the box; something that proved to be ineffective and ultimately cost the Ducks a chance of coming away with a victory.