Coming off of a bye week, this is the game that everyone had been looking forward to for the entire season. Oregon went on the road to play Stanford. De'Anthony Thomas had said that the Ducks were going to hang 40 on the Cardinal in the press and they didn't take too kindly to that.
Ducks fans had to feel that if they pulled this game off, then they had the inside track to play for the national championship. Things were going wrong from the word go for the Ducks. They got inside the Stanford 30 yard line three times and coughed up the ball twice on fumbles and turned the ball over on downs after forcing a three and out from the Cardinal in their opening drive.
The Ducks were driving and looking to put points on the board, but Shayne Skov reached out and stripped De'Anthony Thomas, taking the ball away inside the five to stop the Oregon drive and keep the Ducks off the score board. After a couple short runs by Tyler Gaffney, we come to this week's moment that matters.
This week's moment starts at about the 12 minute mark
On third and six, Kevin Hogan took the zone read and stumbled out of the pocket. With nowhere for him to run, two Ducks closed in on Hogan to make the stop and likely hand the ball back to Oregon's offense who had been sputtering but showing signs of life.
The Ducks were unable to wrap up the QB and let him bounce free, picking up the first down and six more yards to get Stanford out of the shadow of their own goal post. They would go on to kick a field goal, sucking more than 8 minutes off the clock and pushing the lead to 17-0 going into the half.
WHY IT MATTERS
This was an attitude play. Should the Ducks have stopped Hogan before the sticks, Oregon would have gotten the ball back with an offense who had shown the ability to move the ball between the 20's and possibly put points on the board before going into the half.
Stanford imposed their will on the Oregon defense on this play and took Oregon's heart early in the second. Should Oregon have come down and scored on the next possession; we would have been looking at a 14-7 game going into the break, which would have been a much more manageable deficit and a different story coming into the second half where their comeback bid fell short in the closing minutes.