Ducks find winning ways again.

Faces that had looked shocked were replaced by smiles and joy and on an unseasonably warm and sunny October afternoon the Oregon Ducks found the satisfaction of walking off the field with a 35-0 win over Stanford and for this week anyway the world of football was good. The Ducks had a total team effort that included running back Terrence Whitehead rushing for 172 yards and two touchdowns and an extraordinary goal line stand that may become the topic of countless threads on the message boards.

"Obviously, the offense, defense and special teams all contributed," beamed a jubilant Oregon Head Coach Mike Bellotti. "I think the stand at the goal line... was maybe the one of the greatest things I've ever seen."

The Ducks needed a win badly to stem the blood letting that had taken place in the previous three games – a stretch that saw Oregon badly outscored, outplayed and beaten. Against Stanford however, Oregon took control of the game with the first possession and drove the ball using a combination of the running and passing game. The nine-minute drive ended up with a touchdown and the first test for the badly maligned Duck defense was answered in six plays and 21 yards when the Cardinal was forced to punt. From that point on Oregon played with a confidence and attitude that had been missing for the last month.

"Coming out of a three game losing steak, this was big for us," said junior linebacker David Martin. "We had focused a lot on hitting this week and the coaches challenged us to be mentally tough."

The coaches' challenge was clearly answered by the offense and defense. Despite the misgivings of many Duck fans that offered their own challenges to the coaches and team in the preceding four weeks, Bellotti and his staff decided on continuing with the two-quarterback system that had worked early in the season, but faltered in the three-game losing streak. Sophomore Kellen Clemens started and was impressive, particularly in the first two drives. At one point, Clemens completed seven straight passes and finished the game throwing 15-of-17 for 149 yards and no interceptions. Senior Jason Fife came in during the second half and as a new pitcher might come in for relief and offering some change-ups, Fife went 8-for-10, 116 yards no interceptions, rushed for 13 yards to score a touchdown.

"We came out and played well," Clemens remarked after the game. "All-in-all it was a good win since we put up that many (points) and gave up that few."

Oregon receivers also found their openings and despite a two fumbles in the second half after long receptions, the Oregon passing game was alive and well in Eugene. Senior Samie Parker cracked the 100-yard receiving mark by catching eight passes for 118 yards. Junior Marcus Maxwell also found an opportunity to show his stuff and he responded with six key catches for 43 yards. Maxwell suffered a shoulder injury and his status is not yet known for next week.

The star of the offense on Saturday though was Whitehead. The 5-10, 202, sophomore is the first Duck running back to break the 100-yard rushing hurdle in 11 games, stretching back to last year against Stanford when he rushed for 132 yards. Whitehead's best run was a 44-yard gallop to the end zone in the third quarter. What makes Whitehead's feat more interesting was the fact that two of the normal starting linemen were put out for action early on. Junior offensive lineman Robin Knebel was knocked out with a standing eight-count during the first series and later on fellow junior Mike Delagrange suffered back spasms. Sophomore Ian Reynoso and Shawn Perkins filled in admirably.

"It was a lot of fun to finally get out there and get a win again," said Whitehead. "Everyone really stepped it up today."

Bellotti was obviously pleased with the performance of the offense and gave praise to his offensive coordinator Andy Ludwig for the game plan. One change the staff made this week was to bring Ludwig out of the press box and send long time assistant Neal Zoumboukos upstairs to be the eyes-in-the-sky. The ability for better communication between the offensive coordinator worked. Bellotti indicated that his staff will review the film of the game before determining if Reynoso and Perkins will start next week, but it was clear the Oregon headman was please with the offense's performance.

"Give credit to Andy Ludwig and the offensive staff for a game plan that maximized what we can do best," said Bellotti. "The efficiency of our quarterbacks and running the football. We made the commitment to getting four yards instead of fourteen first."

Defensively, the Ducks did something that they have not done in Bellotti's tenure as head coach at Oregon -- shut out a Pac-10 opponent. In fact the last time Oregon has not allowed a Pac-10 opponent to score was in 1992 against Oregon State in a 7-0 win. Stanford was held to a net of 101 yards rushing and gave up 225 yards passing for the Cardinal. The defense also scored a touchdown when Kevin Mitchell picked off Stanford's Chris Lewis in the second quarter for a nine-yard touchdown return. The Ducks intercepted Lewis a total of three times and recovered a fumble. The biggest challenge for the Duck defenders though was at the start of the fourth quarter. Stanford had marched down to the Oregon one-yard line and that is where the Ducks made their stand. Oregon denied Stanford running back J.R. Lemon twice and then sacked Lewis. A face mask penalty was called on the Ducks and Stanford had an automatic first down inside the one. Stanford managed to move the ball within six inches of the goal line, but in four more attempts to punch the ball over met with failure for the men from Palo Alto. The historic stand was finally iced when Marley Tucker and Martin sacked Lewis on fourth down and the Ducks took over.

"We stopped them the first three times," said defensive lineman Igor Olshansky. "We had a goal line stance against Utah too, we take pride, that is what we do well."

Stanford acknowledged the Ducks performance. While Stanford is a very young team and has only one letterman on the offensive line that has seen significant playing time, the Cardinal was cordial in giving respect to the Ducks, especially the goal-line stand.

Pretty good goal line defense," remarked Stanford Head Coach Buddy Teevens. "Played very well."

The Ducks improved their season record to 5-3 and 2-2 in the Pac-10. The Ducks still have four games left in the regular season and have a chance to still be in the Pac-10 championship race. However, they must travel to Seattle next week to meet the Huskies. There should be plenty of incentive for Oregon to play well next week against their archrival. Last year the Huskies danced on Big-O in the middle of Autzen Stadium after beating the Ducks handily 42-14. Will the win over a young Stanford team be enough of a confidence booster to get back into the Pac-10 race by beating Washington next week? That is the question for Duck fans to consider in posting their thoughts on the message boards and the team to work on in practice. The homecoming crowd of 57,627 though were happy the Ducks found some winning ways.

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