"Abandon all hope you who enter here"
- Dante Alighieri, Inferno
Oregon stomped Stanford 45-16 after a very long night in Eugene.
What a depressing night for the Stanford Cardinal. We knew Stanford had plenty of problems headed into the Oregon game, but the full extent of Stanford's mediocrity was put on display Saturday night in Eugene. David Shaw and the entire Stanford coaching staff looked woefully unprepared during the blowout.
"We ran into a buzz saw today"
Captain ObviousDavid Shaw
We knew the Stanford offense would struggle but we did not expect the defense would be so lackluster. Oregon scored touchdowns on each of their first three drives. Marcus Mariota had plenty of time and space to make plays and the vaunted Stanford pass rush did not even record a sack until 40 seconds left in the first half. The Ducks gained more than twice as many yards (525) against the Stanford defense than the Cardinal normally gives up (averaging about 250 yards allowed per game this season). The Stanford defense had not given up more than 30 points in a single game for almost 3 straight years . . . until tonight.
Despite all the terribleness of the evening, Stanford had actually pulled to within 8 points of Oregon early in the second half trailing 24-16. The Cardinal looked as though they had really settled in to the game and were set for a long, tough, slog toward victory.
And then Hogan threw an interception. It is unclear whether Hogan threw a bad pass or if Cajuste stopped on the route. Maybe it was both. Either way, Oregon had the ball back. It really felt as though after that interception Stanford was completely deflated, almost as if they had given up. Oregon tacked on an additional 21 unanswered points to give the Ducks a 29 point victory. Losing to Arizona State by 16 points was painful. Losing to Oregon by 29 was much, much worse.
"We tried to stay close and we got within a score in the second half. We had to play a near-perfect second half, and we didn't do that."
Strictly speaking, Stanford has not been eliminated from conference championship contention. Realistically, however, the type of epic meltdown Oregon would need to produce in the final games is unthinkable. This was a very tough loss for the team, and the fans. It will be interesting to see how David Shaw can piece his players back together and get his team ready to play. Fortunately the Cardinal does not play next week giving Coach Shaw an extra week to prepare.