The previously 4th ranked Stanford Cardinal lost to dropped four spots to 8th ranking in the AP Top 25 after being outran by the Oregon Ducks, 53 to 30 Saturday night.
It was a disappointing game for Northern California football fans, even Cal fans, who wanted to see The Cardinal pull off a win against the universally hated Ducks. But the reality is Oregon’s a team that’s as fast as its Southeastern Conference (SEC) counterparts like LSU, and can rely on it to wear down its much slower common opponents like Stanford and Cal.
The bottom line; while the Cardinal held on to the ball longer than The Ducks (34 minutes to 25 minutes), Oregon scores with it.
But the main question for this space is why does Stanford lose by the 50-30s twice in two years? The answer rests in how Stanford elected to game plan for the Ducks. The Cardinals insistence on running the ball takes more time off the clock – time they need to mount a comeback. Oregon stops the runs, Stanford punts, Oregon scores. Stanford runs again, throws, does nothing, punts, and so on.
Stanford would have been in a different game had it elected to throw on every down, throw short, and spread the field, going without a huddle. That would have been the best strategic way to match Oregon.
But even with that offensive approach, the Stanford Defense was being ran all over by the Ducks. Stanford gave up 232 yards rushing, and 5 yards per rush. How to stop Oregon’s spread? Pick one area they’re not going to succeed in attacking – the middle, then chase them to the outside.
But all that’s for naught. Stanford lost, all national championship dreams are gone, and here comes Cal to avenge last year’s blow out at Berkeley.
Let Big Game week begin!