Oregon kicker Alejandro Maldonado, who missed a crucial kick as time expired against USC last season, missed two field goals, including one that hit the left upright in overtime, setting up Jordan Williamson for a 37 yard field goal that snuck inside the same upright and sent the Cardinal home the victor.
"I'm shocked," senior defensive end Dion Jordan said. "You can't control everything that happens. We worked hard all week, we came in prepared I feel like, but Stanford played a good game."
The Ducks couldn't get much going offensively all evening, as Stanford outgained them 411 to 405. The normally potent rushing game couldn't break open big plays and the Ducks were forced to turn to the air, which Stanford reacted to by sending more players into the secondary, which kept redshirt freshman quarterback Marcus Mariota from finding open targets.
"They were showing different fronts, they were loading the box and then dropping out of it," Mariota said. "They were coming out with seven, eight guys in coverage. That didn't leave a lot of open holes and they did a good job."
"It's a good defense, a good football team and we knew that coming in," Ducks head coach Chip Kelly said. "They led the nation in a lot of categories and they were as good as advertised."
Though Stanford overcame Oregon's deadly offense, the Ducks had their opportunities and couldn't capitalize. After Mariota sprinted 77 yards to the Stanford 15-yard line early in the first quarter, the Ducks turned the ball over on downs. Scoring off of turnovers was also a problem for Oregon. The Cardinal lost the ball three times and the Ducks were unable to turn them into any points.
"There were plays that we needed to finish on drives that we didn't do," Barner said. "There were times that we didn't execute where we needed to execute…the ball didn't bounce our way today."
Indeed it didn't. Right before Williamson's kick, the Ducks looked to have forced a turnover when Kiko Alonso knocked the ball loose from Stanford quarterback Kevin Hogan's hands. Two Ducks pounced on it, but Stanford somehow ended up with the ball when it emerged from the pile.
The Ducks won't have much time to dwell on the loss with another test awaiting them next Saturday, a matchup against rival No. 16 ranked Oregon State.
"They're telling us ‘You better be ready to work on Monday,'" Jordan said of the coaches. "Oregon State doesn't care if we won or lost, they want their shot. We've got to be ready to work."