Ducks find some defense

Stanford, Calif. – If Mike Bellotti had wanted to place a want ad it may have said something like this: Wanted, defensive effort in the second half of a football game. Today against Stanford, his charges answered that want ad and helped keep the Stanford offense off the field, and the Oregon offense may have answered a future ad calling for an impressive offensive performance. Oregon put most all of the aspects of a football team together and trounced Stanford, 44-20.

Oregon quarterback Kellen Clemens (11) passes during the second quarter against Stanford in Oregon's 44-20 win Saturday, Oct. 1, 2005, in Stanford, Calif. Clemens threw for three touchdowns and passed for 393 yards. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma)

"The best thing today for me was the dominance of the defense in the second half," said Bellotti. "When we challenged them, they responded."

Oregon sorely needed a defensive effort, particularly after the disaster the Ducks suffered at home last week against USC, and when the defense took the field in the second half, clearly something had clicked in. When Stanford's talented quarterback Trent Edwards went into the locker room at halftime, he had amassed 148 yards of passing on an 11-of-18 effort and one touchdown. When the game ended, Edwards had only passed for 8 more yards and only completed five passes in the second half. The Duck defenders seem to come out of nowhere and no one more dominantly than senior defensive end Devin Long. Long ended up recording two sacks for 17 yards. The Ducks chalked up a total of five sacks.

"We contained them and kept them in the pocket that second half and that's what made the difference," Bellotti said. "We pressured them in the first half but gave them escape routes on the outside and that was very frustrating and we learned that we were getting a little bit greedy. We've got to maintain our composure and leverage and we did that in the second half."

Meanwhile, the Oregon offense woke up and senior quarterback Kellen Clemens found wide-open receivers all day long. Clemens finished the day with 393 yards on a 22-of-29, three touchdowns and finally after 162 passing attempts, his first interception. Clemens favorite target, senior wide receiver Demetrius Williams tore up the place catching six balls for 168 yards. Going down the roster, it was hard to find any Oregon receiver that didn't touch the ball. James Finley had four catches for 63 yards. Jaison Williams recorded his first collegiate touchdown reception to along with the 43 yards receiving on three catches. Tim Day had three catches for 20 yards. Cameron Colvin had two catches for 48 yards. Dante Rosario had two catches for 34 yards and a touchdown.

Mark Bradford paced Stanford in receiving with seven catches for 110 yards and a touchdown. Jason Evans was the leading rusher with 62 yards on 12 carries. Stanford ended up with a net 64 yards rushing. Overall the Cardinal had a total of 220 yards of offense compared to Oregon's 595 yards (463 yards passing, 132 yards rushing). First year Coach Walt Harris was complimentary toward the Ducks.

"We got beat by a good football team today," said Harris. We don't like to lose to anybody, but we lost to a good team today. They had big guys and a good quarterback."

Jonathan Stewart, coming back from a sprained ankle had the hat trick. Stewart scored on an 11-yard screen pass in the first half, and he later scored two more rushing touchdowns. In his three-game career at Oregon (he sat out two games because of the ankle problem), Stewart has scored by rushing, catching the ball and returning kickoffs. What's next for Stewart?

"Whatever the Lord is willing," said the humble Stewart after the win. "It was a pretty good game and they (the coaching staff) put me in where ever they needed me."

Stewart's modesty might camouflage the point of how effective he was in the game, particularly in the red zone – an area the Ducks have struggled with all season long. Stewart by his own admission is only about 80 percent back from his injury yet during the second half of play when the game was still in question, Stewart was on the field every time the Ducks got inside the Stanford 25-yardline. Even if his statistics might be shy, the end result wasn't. Stewart carried the ball five times for nine yards. However, in those five carries, he scored twice and picked up a critical first down to keep a drive alive.

"Jonathan is still coming off that sprained ankle and he wasn't a hundred percent today," said offensive coordinator Gary Crowton. "So when he gets in there he is really good on short yardage, his strengths are yet to be opened up."

Stewart, a true freshman wasn't the only youngster to have an arrival party. Fellow true freshman Jeremiah Johnson ended up the leading ground gainer for the Ducks with 63 yards on 11 carries and a touchdown. Red shirt freshman, Terrell Jackson made his first start in place of the injured Terrence Whitehead. Jackson ended up running 11 times and gaining 29 yards. While the numbers may not seem all that impressive, it was where and when the ball carriers made their marks. Bellotti was ecstatic over the trio's efforts.

"We're going to use them," said Bellotti of the three young running backs. "And put them in a position to have success."

If there was one area that Bellotti was not particularly pleased with it was the kicking game, particularly point after conversions. Today, Paul Martinez kicked a 44-yard field goal, but missed a 24-yard attempt and had one point after blocked.

"Our kicking game needs a ton of work…we can't make PAT's," exclaimed Bellotti. "I've never been in a football situation in my life where we couldn't make PAT's, and that's an issue right now."

Another area were penalties. The Ducks were flagged 16 times for 170 yards.

The issues would probably be a bigger issue had the Ducks not won by 24 points. As it is, Oregon now improves to 4-1 with Arizona State looming next week in Tempe. For now though, the pressure is off, well maybe on for the defense and Bellotti couldn't be more pleased. His defense contained a mobile quarterback and when the Ducks most needed pressure, the defense came through.

Next week, Oregon is on the road again to Tempe for a night in the desert with a scheduled kickoff at 7:15 p.m. The game will be carried on live on Fox.

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