Ducks set records in win over Stanford

The Oregon defensive line let anyone who might be interested know that they are very much doing their part in winning all the remaining games on the Ducks' schedule, starting off with the Stanford Cardinal. Oregon beat Stanford, down on the farm in Palo Alto, 16-13 in a largely defensive struggle, that saw the Ducks sack Cardinal quarterbacks 10 times. Oh by the way, throw in a fourth-and-three gamble and it turned out to be quite a game.

Oregon tailback Terrence Whitehead carries the ball during the second quarter against Stanford, Saturday, Oct. 23, 2004 in Stanford, Calif. Whitehead ran for 131 yards and the go-ahead touchdown in Oregon's 16-13 win over Stanford. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma)

"We battled. We have that competitive spirit," said Oregon Head Coach Mike Bellotti. "We made a couple of mistakes that allowed Stanford to get ahead. They had a good second half and fourth quarter. They made things interesting."

Robby Valenzuela recorded two sacks, one of which knocked out Stanford starting quarterback Trent Edwards in second quarter. Haloti Ngata added a sack and it was his and Valenzuela's play up front that seemed to open things up for the ferocious pass rush by the Oregon front line. Devan Long also had a 1.5 sacks along with his fellow defensive end Chris Solomona, who had two sacks.

"We needed to get better in our pass rush," said Solomona of last week's preparation in practice.

The results of practice obviously paid off for the men in green as they continually kept both Edwards and later T.C. Ostrander running and looking out of the corner of their eyes. Stanford, 4-3, 2-2 in the Pac-10 race was held to minus eight-yards rushing, 269 yards passing for a net of 261 total offense for the day. The minus eight yards was the fewest yards Oregon has allowed since the 2000 season when it held UCLA to negative nine in the 2000 season.

Oregon on the other hand continued its offensive out put by rushing for 149 yards and passing for 275 yards for a total of 424 total yards. Kellen Clemens was 22-for-33, 275 yards and one interception. Terrence Whitehead was again the workhorse for the Ducks. The junior carried the ball 28 times for 135 yards and the game-winning touchdown. Whitehead also the leading receiver for the day with eight receptions for 92 yards with a long of 52 yards.

"We got a win," reflected Whitehead about the day. "That's the main thing I'm happy about."

Going into the game, it was thought that the team that committed the fewest mistakes and had the best field position would win. While that made a lot of sense, the reality of the situation was that Stanford did not have a turnover and found itself in great field position on several occasions.

The story of the first half of play was Oregon's defensive line controlling the Stanford offense and putting pressure on Cardinal signal callers. After Edwards was knocked out, his replacement T.C. Ostrander wasn't treated any better as the Duck defenders were able push the Stanford offense back and collapse the pocket.

Meanwhile the Duck offense started off moving the ball well, with a combination of running by whitehead and passing by Clemens. The Ducks moved their first possession down field but stalled out on a third-and-one call on Stanford's 17, when Whitehead slipped after receiving the handoff and lost two yards. Jared Siegel kicked a 37-yard field goal making it a 3-0 Oregon lead.

Stanford's only score in the half came off a 28-yard field goal by Michael Sgroi. The score resulted when Oregon's David Dittman blessed the Cardinal with a horrible punt. Starting off on Oregon's side of the field, the Cardinal could only move the ball 23 yards. Oregon's second scoring drive was highlighted with a catch and run of 32 yards by Tim Day. Siegel hit a 51-yard kick to put the Ducks up 6-3 at halftime.

In the second half, Stanford seemed to gain some momentum but still only field goals were exchanged and the Ducks led at the end of the third quarter 9-6. Siegel's three field goals, including a 51-yard kick made him the all-time leading field goal scorer with 46. He also set a record of the most 50-yard plus field goals in a career (5).

The fourth quarter opened with a Stanford continuing a drive and the second half momentum continued. Ostrander found Patrick Danahy for a 2-yard touchdown reception that capped a 13 play, 73-yard drive. Oregon would need to dig in deep and take some gambles if they expected to win. In the following drive that is exactly what they did.

The Ducks took the kickoff and moved the ball steadily to the Stanford 38. Facing fourth-and-three, offensive coordinator Andy Ludwig called a play that surprised everybody, especially Stanford. Clemens took the snap and dropped back looking at his receivers. Suddenly, Clemens lofted a pass to a streaking Keith Allen along the left sideline. The pattern called for Allen to slow down and then take off, and the Stanford defender let him go by.

"I just concentrated on catching the ball," said Allen about the catch that kept the drive alive and put the Ducks on the Stanford 2-yard line.

Whitehead pounded the ball into end zone for the go ahead score. The remainder of the quarter had the teams trading possessions, and even when Stanford's David Burgeron from Lakeridge HS, took the ball away from Whitehead on a drive that was wearing away the time clock, Oregon's defense stood up. Stanford had the ball on Oregon's 28 with time draining away and Oregon sacked Ostrander twice, taking the Cardinal out of a possible winning field goal distance. The Ducks got the ball back and nearly finished off the clock, even though Stanford got the ball back with 16 seconds left in the game and was able to move the ball to the Oregon 32. Sgroi missed a game-tying attempt of 49 yards and the game was over.

Oregon, (4-3, 3-1) believes it controls its own destiny in the Pac-10 race. The Ducks now seem to be the team that many expected it to be last August. After disappointing losses to Indiana, Oklahoma and Arizona State, Oregon appears to be ready to make a strong run at the Pac-10 title or at least finish in upper tier of the conference. Where was the turn around? Bellotti thinks it was a couple weeks ago in Pullman.

"The Washington State game was the one that did it," observed Bellotti of his team's performance. "We are a better team since then."

Beating Stanford on the road was a big win for the Ducks and next week they can continue to make this a memorable season. The Huskies of the University of Washington are coming to town. Even though Washington are winless in the Pac-10 race and have only won once this season over San Jose State, it is still the Husky game. It is still Husky week. If the Ducks can get the same results from practice this week as they did last, and some nervy gambles too, the string of success will continue. Kickoff next week is scheduled for 4 p.m at Autzen Stadium.

Notes:


Bellotti indicated Enoka Lucas broke a finger on his right hand and will miss next week. Bellotti also thought that Clemens might have suffered a slight concussion, although Clemens said he felt fine after the game.

The 10 sacks could be a school record. Oregon Athletic Department officials could not immediately verify what the individual game sack record is.

Clemens interception snapped a string of 178 pass attempts without an interception.

Whitehead's 131 yards rushing was the fifth 100-yard game of his career and the third in three years against Stanford.

Box score from www.goducks.com.

eDuck Top Stories