If the tree falls in Stanford stadium, but there are no home fans to hear it, does it make a sound?
The Cardinal received the ball first as Oregon hit the opening kickoff out of bounds. A QB sneak to convert 4th and 1 allowed Stanford move deep into Oregon territory. A bad snap on 3rd down ended any hope of a touchdown, but the Cardinal kept the Ducks’ offense off the field for over half of the 1st quarter and kicked a field goal to take a 3-0 lead. Worse, Bo Nix had Tez Johnson open deep on the Ducks first possession but the brothers were unable to complete the connection. Stanford got the ball back after a 3-and-out.
Stanford converted 4th and 2 on the following drive in Oregon’s half of the field. A sack and tackle for a loss then put the Cardinal well behind the chains. Stanford kicker Joshua Karty was able to salvage the drive with an impressive 53 yard field goal that made the score 6-0 in favor of the home team. In the first 15 minutes of game time, Oregon ran a total of 3 offensive plays.
Oregon’s second drive was another 3-and-out, and memories of past trips to the Farm were flashing in every Duck fan’s mind. The defense stepped up however, sacking Cardinal QB Justin Lamson on 3rd down to force a 3-and-out of their own. Bo Nix finally moved the chains on a quarterback keeper. It had been the spark the Ducks needed, and three plays later Jordan James scampered into the end zone for a 30 yard touchdown run. The Ducks had their first lead, 7-6.
Oregon’s defense recorded a second consecutive 3-and-out as momentum shifted decisively. Multiple completed passes to Troy Franklin kick started another touchdown drive and Bucky Irving toted the rock into the end zone to make the score 14-6.
Oregon got the ball back with 56 seconds left in the half and a single timeout at their own 25 yard line. Excellent clock management by the Ducks players and staff gave Camden Lewis a shot at a 38 yard field goal. Unfortunately the kick veered wide right and the score remained 14-6 at halftime.
Oregon received the 2nd half kickoff and picked up right where they left off. A key 3rd and 9 conversion on a pass to Terrance Ferguson got Oregon into Stanford’s half of the field. He got rewarded for his efforts with a touchdown catch on 4th and 2 to increase the Ducks’ lead to 21-6.
Stanford couldn’t recapture the form they had in the first quarter, as their first drive of the second half resulted in yet another 3-and-out. A mere four plays after the Cardinal’s punt went out of bounds, Nix found Franklin near the sideline and with 8:54 left in the 3rd quarter it was already 28-6.
Stanford converted several first downs on their next drive thanks to clutch third down receptions. But on 4th and 1 at the Oregon 27, the Cardinal were stuffed for no gain and came away without points. The Ducks offense had no such difficulty. A 37 yard Jordan James rush got the the Ducks into the red zone and Troy Franklin scored a walk-in touchdown the very next play. Oregon outscored Stanford 21-0 in the 3rd quarter to enter the final period with a 35-6 lead.
Forced into 4th and 3 on their next possession, the Cardinal had little choice but to go for it. Lamson’s pass fell incomplete and any hope at a miraculous 4th quarter comeback went up in smoke. Oregon coach Dan Lanning kept the offensive starters in for one last drive to ice the game away. Traeshon Holden hauled in Nix’s 4th touchdown pass and Oregon unlocked the secret to life, the universe, and everything at 42-6.
The Ducks began rotating in their reserve players at this point. Though not facing all of Oregon’s defensive starters, the Cardinal still couldn’t find the end zone as Lamson took a sack on 4th and 12. The Ducks’ backup offense ran out the clock to end the game.
The slow start didn’t have any affect on the outcome this week. After the idle week, Oregon’s next football game will be in Seattle on October 14. Let’s hope the Ducks rest well. That team up north won’t be so easy to handle after a slow start...