(PHOTO) Oregon Ducks linebacker Torrodney Prevot (86) is congratulated for recovering a fumble by Stanford Cardinal quarterback Kevin Hogan (8, not pictured) during the fourth quarter at Stanford Stadium. The Ducks defeated the Cardinal 38-36. Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
“We have a ton of respect for Stanford on how well they’re coached and how hard they play,” said Mark Helfrich of the game. “Our guys were excited about this week.”
After Stanford kicked a 33-yard field goal by Conrad Ukropina, the Ducks the ensuing kickoff and marched down the field strictly via the ground. Royce Freeman set the tone of the drive by breaking off a 49-yard run on his way to a 105 net-yard night. The drive continued with Kani Benoit coming and finished off the drive with a 2-yard plunge into the endzone and Oregon took the lead follow and Aidan Schneider point after 7-3.
The game then went back Stanford’s direction when Cardinal quarterback Kevin Hogan led a drive covering 75 yards and ended with Hogan keeping the ball for a 22-yard run (PAT by Ukropina) and the Cardinal led 10-7.
No sooner that the crowd calmed down after the next kickoff, that Adams handed the ball to Charles Nelson on a sweep and 75-yards later the scoreboard read 14-10 (PAT by Schneider). The first quarter ended without one Oregon pass attempt.
In the second quarter, Stanford scored a touchdown when Christian McCafferty ran the ball in from 11-yards over and it appeared the Cardinal were about to deliver a knockout blow when Adams was sacked by Brennan Scarlett and while going down, fumbled the ball into the air, which was taken by Kevin Anderson pulled it an rambled 51-yards until Benoit made a touchdown saving tackle at the Oregon 9. The Duck defense stiffened up and forced Ukropenia to kick a 33-yard FG giving Stanford a 20-14 lead.
With just 1:59 left to play in the half, the Ducks went on a drive of their own and Adams threw his first TD of 48 yards to Darren Carrington with just 48 seconds left and Oregon led 21-20.
Stanford then got into field goal position and with one tick left on the game clock; Ukropenia trotted and kicked a 49-yard FG to give the Cardinal a 23-21 lead when the half ended.
The second half was more of the same as Oregon took the kickoff that started the third quarter and drove 68 yards ending up with Freeman going in 19 yards and Oregon was ahead 28-23 following the PAT.
It looked like Oregon was ready to take complete control with Stanford was forced to attempt a 43-yard field goal but it was no good. Oregon could not take advantage of the change of possession and were forced to punt but Stanford could not sustain and drive and returned possession to Oregon on a punt.
Adams then dipped into the explosion playbook and hit Taj Griffin who flew to the endzone 44 yards away for a score and following the successful PAT, Oregon led 35-23 and an important two possession scoring lead headed into the fourth quarter.
However, this was an Oregon-Stanford game, and the fourth quarter saw the Cardinal trim Oregon’s lead to 35-30 and it took another Schneider FG of 31 yards to give the Ducks an 8-point lead.
The final 5:12 saw the Cardinal construct an impressive drive on to have Hogan fumble for the second time in the quarter (his first fumble led to Schneider’s last field goal) and it looked like the Ducks would be able to run the clock out. However they couldn’t and Ian Wheeler punt from the Oregon endzone and Stanford had one more opportunity to tie the game.
The Cardinal drove down to the Oregon 4, aided by a pass interference call on Ugo Amadi and a substitution penalty that put the ball inside the 5. Hogan hit Greg Toboada in the endzone and with 10 seconds left in the game, Stanford went for a 2-point conversion. Hogan was pressured heavily but got a pass off but Joe Walker did just enough to cause the ball to slip out of the Stanford receiver’s hands and the PAT was no good.
Stanford attempted an on-side kick but were called for off-sides and the Ducks took over and the game ended after Adams took a knee to run the remaining time off the clock.
Adams was 10-for-12, 205 yards and two TDs. Carrington was the leading receiver with two receptions for 54 yards. Freeman was the leading rusher with 105 yards on 16 carries with one TD. Nelson had a total of 75 yards on his sole carry and a TD. Benoit had 45 yards on six carries and a TD.
Schneider was good on 42-yard field goal.
Overall Oregon had a total of 436 yards of total offense (205 passing and 231 rushing).
Stanford had 506 yards of total offense (304 passing 202 rushing). Hogan was 28-of-37 for 304 yards, two TDs and one interception plus one rushing TD. McCaffery carried the ball 33 times, racking up 147 yards of rushing and one TD. Toboada caught both of Hogan’s TD passes.
Ukropina was good on three of four field goals (33, 23, 49).
Oregon’s defense made plays when it was most important and considering the uphill struggles the Ducks have gone through this year on the defensive side, Helfrich thought his defenders stayed the course and kept playing hard.
“Prideful guys, prideful coaches and everybody improving,” said Helfrich of his defense improving over the last several games. “And everybody owning and taking stock and owning why things happen.”
Rodney Hardrick was Oregon’s leading tackler with 11 tackles (two solos) and had to only interception of the game. Oregon had one sack with DeForest Buckner and Tyson Coleman both getting credit on the sack. The Ducks had a total of five tackles for loss.
Stanford was led in tackling by Anderson four solos and had the sole fumble recovery return. Stanford had a total of eight TFLs including four sacks of Adams.
•Charles Nelson had a career-long 75-yard touchdown run in the first quarter. It was his first career rushing touchdown. The starting safety also made four tackles and totaled 147 all-purpose yards.
•Nelson scored a touchdown for the third straight game. He had a kick return TD at Arizona State Oct. 29 and a receiving touchdown vs. Cal last week.
•Royce Freeman eclipsed the 100-yard rushing mark for the sixth straight game and eighth time this season. He finished with 105 yards on 16 carries, including a 19-yard touchdown.
•Taj Griffin’s first career receiving touchdown was also his longest catch at 49 yards.
•Rodney Hardrick made the second interception of his career and first this season. Hardrick also had a game-high 11 tackles.
•Tyson Coleman and Torrodney Prevot each recovered a Cardinal fumble.
•The Ducks’ victory was their 11th in the last 14 meetings with Stanford. UO has won five of its last seven trips to the Farm.
•Vernon Adams Jr. moved past the 12,000-yard mark in passing for his college career. He is the active leader in Division I (FBS/FCS) with 12,201.
•Adams extended his personal streak to 33 straight games with a touchdown pass.
•Darren Carrington caught two passes for 54 yards, including a 47-yard touchdown. His school-record string of 100-yard receiving games ended at five, but the Ducks improved to 14-0 when he makes at least one grab in his career.
•Adams’ touchdown pass to Carrington in the second quarter marked the 78th straight game for Oregon with a passing touchdown, an NCAA record.
•The Ducks’ 38 points were the most allowed by Stanford in a game this season.
•Oregon is 1-1 against top 10 teams this season and 4-3 under Mark Helfrich.
•UO won for the first time this season when trailing at the half (1-2).