Ducks Romp Stanford

Stanford, Calif. – For the second year in a row the Oregon Ducks (9-1, 7-0) have shown the Stanford Cardinal (91, 7-1) who is boss by knocking off the No. 4 team in the BCS with a 53-30 win on the Cardinal home turf. Even though Stanford had more total yardage (400 to 387) and first downs (24 to 18), the Ducks had the better of the turnover-to-takeaway ratio and sacks.

Oregon Ducks linebacker Boseko Lokombo (25) intercepts the ball running the ball for a touchdown during the fourth quarter against the Stanford Cardinal at Stanford Stadium. The Ducks defeated the Cardinal 53-30. Credit: Kyle Terada-US PRESSWIRE

"I think everybody contributed," said Oregon Head Coach Chip Kelly of the win. "Our defense's performance was fantastic."

Last Tuesday, Kelly mentioned he hoped his team could increase the number of fumble recoveries and part of the advantage the Ducks made for themselves was to create five Stanford turnovers including two interception and three fumble recoveries. Also during the week, it was clear that Stanford was not looking forward to allowing Oregon's great athletes to get into open spaces particularly when the Cardinal defender would have little help in bringing the Duck down.

Oregon pounced on the Cardinal right from the start with the Duck defense setting the tone on the very first possession of the game. Senior linebacker Dewitt Stuckey picked off Stanford's Andrew Luck and returned the ball so the Oregon's offense had a short field to operate from. Oregon scored its first touchdown when quarterback Darron Thomas hit Lavasier Tuinei for a 4-yard pass. The special teams unit got into the act when the ball was snapped directly to TE David Paulson, who threw a pass into the end zone and it was caught by Mike Garrity for the 2-point conversion. Thomas played a steady game, throwing for 155 yards and three touchdowns. His longest of the game was to Josh Huff on a 59 yard connection in a play the found Stanford in a position they dreaded being in – in the open field with an athletic Oregon receiver. Huff reeled in Thomas' pass and headed to pay dirt. Thomas' touchdown passes gives him a touchdown in 22 straight games as a starter.

"We knew we could attack them on the onside and when my time came, DT (Darron Thomas) read the routes and I was the last progression," described Huff of the play that resulted in his touchdown reception. "I was able to make the play."

The 59-yard pass play was the longest touchdown of Huff's career and his first TD since the opening game against LSU.

Darron Thomas also found De'Anthony Thomas when the Ducks were fourth and seven on the Stanford 41. Thomas hit Thomas on a screen pass, and Oregon found itself in open space with a great athlete against the Stanford defense. De'Anthony Thomas or DAT, as his teammates call him, smoothly ran into the endzone. Ironically, Oregon's previous possession, DAT had fumbled the ball after making a good gain rushing the ball.

"The coaches tell me that when I break a long run ‘don't get excited," said De'Anthony Thomas of his fumble followed up by his touchdown catch. "I just fumbled the ball away, but I feel I have to bounce back and I did and I feel like I helped put my team back on the map."

DAT now has a total of 13 touchdowns for the season, five rushing, seven receiving and one kickoff return which is the most for a true freshman in the NCAA Bowl Subdivision.

The Duck offense also scored on a long touchdown run by LaMichael James, who had taken a handoff, followed his blocking and broke off a 58-yard run into the endzone.

"I just made one move and offensive line did a great job," admitted James about his 53-yard touchdown run. They were sending their Will Linebacker up the field, I just got behind it (the offensive line blocking). I just ran fast."

The Cardinal made the game interesting by keeping the score close at halftime with Oregon leading 22-16, primarily on the arm of Luck. For the game Luck was 27-of-41, 271 yards, three touchdowns, two interceptions and was sacked three times. Up until this game, Luck had only been pulled down four times behind the line of scrimmage all season long.

"Every week we get better and better," said senior defensive end Terrell Turner. "This week was best of the season."

In the second half the Ducks continued to put pressure on Luck and while the Stanford running game had success in the first half with Sepfan Taylor carrying the ball 20 times, the Ducks essentially stopped Stanford's rushing in the second half. For the game Taylor had 23 carries for a total of 99 yards. Meanwhile, James was racking up the yards all game long and finished with 146 yards on 20 carries and three touchdowns. James had his 23rd 100-yard rushing game of his career and extended his own school record. The three touchdowns also placed James fifth all-time on the conference rushing touchdown list at 47, surpassing Marcus Allen (45, USC) and Jacquizz Rodgers (46, OSU).

Oregon had a total of 232 yards rushing with James' 146, Kenjon Barner's 42, DAT's 17, Darron Thomas' 17 and Tra Carson's 11. Many felt that while the Duck offense may not have the huge numbers it normally has, it was still a dominating performance over a very good Stanford defense.

I wouldn't say we dominated (Stanford)," offered LaMichael James diplomatically. "I would say we got into a grove and moved the ball down the field."

Defensively, linebacker Michael Clay led Oregon with 11 tackles (eight solos) while John Boyett also had 11 (six solos). Stuckey had five solo tackles to go along with his interception. Isaac Remington was given credit for a 1.5 sacks while Josh Kaddu, Taylor Hart and Dion Jordan all were credited with a half sack. Boseko Lokombo scored his third touchdown of the year and second "pick six" with a 40-yard interception in the fourth quarter. Lokombo now has four career TDs.

"Those kids are magical, said Defensive Coordinator Nick Aliotti of the Duck defensive unit. "They're magical."

On special teams kicker Alejandro Maldonado tied his career-long with a 40-yard field goal in the fourth quarter.

Oregon also achieved a milestone in Chip Kelly's tenure by defeating a top-5 team on the road. In fact this is the first time Oregon has beaten a top-5 team on the road in school history. Oregon has now won 19-straight conference games dating back to the 2009 road loss to Stanford. The Ducks have scored 50 or more points against the Cardinal in three of the last five meetings. The five forced turnovers is the Ducks' highest for the season.

With either one Oregon win or one Stanford loss, Oregon will clinch the Pac-12 North and give the hosting rights for the inaugural Pac-12 championship game.

Next week the Ducks take on USC at Autzen Stadium for a 5 p.m. kickoff in a game to be carried on ABC. With Boise State's loss on Saturday, Oregon now holds the longest home winning streak in the country at 20 games.

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