I’ll be honest, Saturday night was one of the best nights I ever had. The Ducks finally took down the Cardinal after experiencing two disappointing performances in the past two season games. Oregon defeated Stanford in a 45-16 blowout victory that ultimately helps the Ducks’ hopes of getting into the playoffs. Marcus Mariota finally beat Stanford and threw for more than 250 yards and two touchdowns, with one interception. However, that doesn’t matter because the Ducks played hard, played fast, and most importantly played together.
Going into this game, Stanford’s defense has not allowed any opponent they faced to score more than 30 points in a string of 31 games. Plus, they only allowed their opponents to have about 250 yards total offense per game. So, obviously, Oregon knew that the Cardinal would be a tough match up for them. Throughout the game, the Ducks always discovered a strategy to march down the field efficiently and they did so in style. Oregon’s first possession consisted of an impressive 14 plays, four minute, and 75-yard drive that finished off with a 6-yard touchdown pass from Mariota to Charles Nelson.
From a defensive perspective, the Ducks held the Cardinal to field goals early in the game. Surprisingly, Oregon’s cornerback Ifo Ekpre-Olomu wasn’t the star of the game last night. Instead, Oregon safety Erick Dargan was the Ducks’ shining star. He intercepted Stanford’s quarterback Kevin Hogan on the first possession of the third quarter and caused a Hogan fumble early in the fourth quarter.
Sadly, the Ducks defensive end Arik Armstead went down in the second quarter with another ankle injury and needed assistance off the field. All in all, Oregon stopped Hogan and Stanford’s offense dead in its tracks.
Due to the fact that Auburn defeated Ole Miss, 35-31, the Rebels dropped to 12th in the nation while Auburn vaulted to number three. However, Oregon still remains at No. 5 in the nation despite getting over their Stanford problem with an excellent performance Saturday night.
This is the first time that Oregon has not moved in the College Football Playoff rankings in three weeks. Mississippi State (8-0), Florida State (8-0), Auburn (7-1), and Alabama (7-1) are ranked above the Ducks, respectively.
Next Saturday, Oregon will face the Utah Utes in Salt Lake City. The Utes possess a strong defense just like Stanford and the Ducks will once again need to “Win the Day” in order to continue climbing the College Football Playoff rankings.
Top Photo by Kevin Cline