The Oregon Ducks football team likely won’t be hoisting the National Championship Trophy this year.
The high-scoring squad is all but out of the title race after a 26-20 loss to Stanford on Thursday night in which the team sputtered on offense for more than three quarters before finally waking up.
Stanford jumped to a 26-0 lead in the game thanks to touchdown runs from Tyler Gaffney and Kevin Hogan, and was helped further with three field goals from Jordan Williamson.
Even more shocking, Stanford’s defense was able to hold the prodigious Oregon Ducks football powerhouse offense in check, forcing two interceptions and holding the team scoreless until early in the fourth quarter.
But after finding the endzone on a 23-yard pass from Marcus Mariota to Daryle Hawkins early in the fourth quarter, the Oregon Ducks football team suddenly came to life. They scored three times in a span of a little less than eight minutes, including a blocked field goal that Rodney Hardrick ran back 65 yards for a touchdown.
The Ducks pulled to within six points after Mariota threw a 12-yard touchdown pass to Pharoach Brown, but they would come no closer.
Thursday’s game was very different from the previous meetings between Stanford and Oregon. The teams — which have split the past four games, with Stanford winning at home in 2009 and on the road in 2012, and Oregon winning back-to-back in 2010 and 2011 — have been inclined to play much more high-scoring affairs. In each of the last three meetings, the winning team had at least 51 points while the losing team scored at least 30.
The No. 3 Ducks now fall to 8-1, the same record as No. 5 Stanford, who are all but assured to jump over Oregon when the next college football polls are released on Monday. For Oregon Ducks football, the loss likely means the team will once again miss its shot at a National Championship bid.