Welp. What were the biggest reasons the Oregon offense went into a shell on Saturday?
Brian Spaen, Autzen Zoo: All season long, Oregon benefitted from getting the big plays on offense because the defenses they faced would blitz at the wrong times or not make a tackle. The key was Stanford's line bring the pressure on Marcus Mariota all night long, but their linebackers didn't miss a tackle. Mariota had nothing when he rolled out all night long. The Cardinal played perfect and completely took the momentum away early on.
Nathan Roholt, Fish Duck: The conservative play-calling was atypical from what we are used to from Oregon. On seemingly every drive that the Ducks failed to convert, they went rush-rush-pass, or pass-rush-rush on first through third down. I'm not going to be an armchair QB who tells the coaches what they should have called, they're smarter than I am, just that if I picked up that pattern, I'm guessing David Shaw and Derek Mason did too.
Ricky Widmer, Autzen Zoo: I don't know if Oregon went into a shell, but there was one play that cost the Ducks the game in overtime. They play came on 3rd down of Oregon's overtime possession when Mariota threw a pass to Josh Huff. Huff cut to the middle of the field while Mariota thought he would go to the corner of the endzone. That play will be in the head's of the Ducks offense this entire week.
SB Nation Snippet
The man who gets the majority of the credit for the Ducks' rise to national prominence also deserves the brunt of the criticism for what happened last night. The unconventional, gutsy calls that fans are used to disappeared and the usually unflappable man with the visor lost his way.
Adam Jude reported last night that Kelly was distracted by leaks to the media during the week, and who knows how much of a role that played on Saturday. What aren't disputable are statistics, and ESPN's Stats and Info said that Oregon gained only 29 yards on 15 carries outside the tackles.