After a last week’s tough loss against USC , the Oregon Ducks came into tonights game focused on winning, since they had to win to be bowl eligible.
But costly penalties and another slow start hampered the Ducks, falling behind 21-6 at the end of the first quarter, and finding themselves in an even bigger hole, down 38-13 at the end of the first half.
And unfortunately, the second half wouldn’t get any better, as the Cardinal’s virtually dominated the Duck’s and they would go on to handily defeat Oregon by a score of 52-27. This marked the sixth time that Oregon has given up 40 or more points this season.
After the game, Oregon Head Coach Mark Helfrich said, “It’s time to find out who rises up, we have to play to win every game, every rep, it’s time to strip it to who is with us and who isn’t.” Helfrich also said “We need to play better on defense, there’s no question about that, we need to play better on offense, and we need to play better on special teams.”
While Oregon’s defense continues to struggle in both the passing and running department (giving up 540 total offensive yards), they also continue to give up numerous big yardage plays.
The Ducks’ Defensive Coordinator Brady Hoke touched on the defensive play saying, “obviously not good enough, we have to get off the field, we have to create opportunities for our offense, and we haven’t done that nearly enough, so we have to go back to work.” Hoke also said “we have to wrap up on tackles a little better, we had opportunities.”
If that isn’t enough, the Ducks continue to struggle in the penalty area (eight penalties for 77 yards) and fell well short on converting on third down situations (2 of 13).
Oregon freshman quarterback, Justin Herbert, was constantly pressured and took some major hits, but still managed to have a decent game. Herbert completed 21-30 passes, throwing for 274 yards, scoring two touchdowns, and two interceptions. In addition, he scrambled away from pressure 12 times, gaining 65 yards.
After the game Herbert, summed up on where Oregon goes from here by saying, “I just have to keep playing to the best of my ability and keep working hard every day.” All in all, Herbert said, “We have to start taking it like we are going to a bowl game, like we all love football, and play the best we can.”
The Oregon Ducks’ running game led by Royce Freeman, had another good outing. Freeman rushed 20 times, gaining 121 yards, and scoring one touchdown. Furthermore, running backs Tony Brooks-James and Kani Benoit combined for 13 rushes, gaining 68 yards, and scoring one touchdown.
After the game, Oregon Running Back, Royce Freeman commented on Oregon’s offensive production by saying, “We weren’t able to convert on third down and it hindered us” and “big penalties also depleted our drives.”
Oregon receivers such as Pharaoh Brown, Darren Carrington, Charles Nelson, and Johnny Mundt also had decent games, combining for 13 receptions, gaining 236 yards, and scoring two touchdowns.
For Stanford, quarterback Keller Chryst was impressive, while torching the Oregon defense. Chryst completed 19-26 passes, throwing for 258 yards, and scoring three touchdowns. In addition, Chryst scrambled away from pressure five times, gaining 82 yards.
Stanford’s running backs, Christian McCaffrey, Cameron Scarlett, and Bryce Love also had quite a game (combining for 36 carries, gaining 297 yards), often breaking away into wide open field.
And not to be outdone, Cardinal’s top wide receivers JJ Arcega-Whiteside, Michael Rector, and Dalton Schultz also had breakout performances against the Oregon defense, combining for 12 receptions, gaining 189 yards, and scoring three touchdowns. As expected, Christian McCaffrey also lined up as a wide receiver, hauling in five receptions, gaining 52 yards, and scoring a total of 3 touchdowns.
Overall, this was another tough loss for the Ducks, who will end up with a losing season at the end of the year and not be bowl eligible for the first time in 12 years. It also has been a tough outing for the Oregon fans, who have continually backed the slumping team.
Next week, Oregon (3-7) will head to Utah to play on the Utes, who have had a really good season and have one of the best defenses in the Pac-12.