It Was Luck

Stanford -- Oregon struggled defensively all day to find a solution for Andrew Luck. The Stanford freshman quarterback had pinpoint accuracy as he lit up the Ducks for 251 yards and two touchdowns. Aided by Toby Gerhart's straight-ahead running for 224 yards and three touchdowns, has sent the Oregon coaching staff scrambling back to drawing boards to figure out what went wrong.

(PHOTO) LaMichael James heads toward the endzone on a 60-yard run in the first half of the game. (Photo by Chris Wilson)

"We had a hard time stopping them, admitted Chip Kelly. "They have two really talented players in Gerhart and Luck, and it really presents some problems to us."

It was a one-two show all day and for a unit that had consistently been a bright spot for Oregon – the defense, there was no answer. Luck seemingly found receivers with some sort of heat seeking guidance as he sliced up the Ducks secondary. Unlike earlier games where the defensive success stemmed from a great pass rush, Oregon simply couldn't lay a finger on Luck. The Stanford freshman signal caller was 12-for-20, 251 yards and two touchdowns, one to wide Chris Owusu and the other to tight end Jim Dray. Owusu, used his blinding speed on the opening kickoff for 77 yards and then hauled in 111 yards worth of receiving on four catches. Ryan Whalen also had four catches, but in all Luck found five receivers. Tellingly, each receiver had at least one catch longer that 16 yards. Owausu long was 40. The Duck defenders weren't necessarily in bad position on defense, but the ball seemed to be on target every time the Cardinal needed a big play.

"The quarterback made some big time throws," Kelly said. "We had guys covering right on them but he found the right spot."

When Luck wasn't burning the Ducks, Toby Gerhart was. The big back bashed the Ducks on 38 carries for 224 yards and only recorded one lost yard. Time and time again Gerhart broke off tackle or went straight up the middle for 10-yard gains. His long run was 31 yards. Part of the problem for the Ducks was that Stanford was using and extra sixth linemen on the line of scrimmage instead of a tight end.

"They came out and played a heck of a ball game, the way the stacked (the line) instead of a regular front, they brought in an extra lineman," said defensive tackle Brandon Bair. "It was something we needed to adjust to and it took us too long to do it."

While the Ducks knew that Stanford was going to use formations with six offensive linemen, Bair admitted that Oregon didn't give it "the attention we should have."

Also missing today was the out and out pressure on the quarterback that has been so successful all year. Why didn't that happen?

"We needed guys back in coverage and we didn't have as many chance to blitz as we wanted to," observed Bair.

"I wish I had the answer," said Defensive Coordinator Nick Aliotti. "It was one of those days, I don't like to use the term we got our but kicked, but we got beat today."

Kelly thought his defensive unit had a good week of practice leading up to the game and gave all the credit for the win to Stanford.

Offensively, despite being behind in the fourth quarter by 20 points still managed get within six points at 48-41 with just a couple of minutes left to go. When Tim Taylor's onside kick failed to go 10 yards, it was all over for Oregon in the closing moments of the game. Taylor left the field shattered by the ineffective kick.

Jeremiah Masoli started off cool but ended up throwing for 334 yards on 21-of-37 and three touchdowns. Masoli hit Jeff Maehl on a 29-yard strike and also threw a 40-yard bomb to Jamere Holland for a touchdown. The third touchdown pass to D.J. Davis actually caused everyone in the stands to realize the game was still competitive in the last two minutes.

Masoli also rushed for 55 yards and a touchdown. LaMichael James was sensational again racking up 126 yards on 18 carries with a long touchdown run of 60 yards. James also had four catches for 89 yards.

"We had some ups and downs on offense definitely," said Masoli. "We just kept leaning on each other hoping somebody would make a play and eventually it did but we ran out of time."

After the game, James answered questions about the contest but admitted he was ready to go back to practice. Did he mean later on?

"No," said James. "I'm ready to practice right now."

On special teams the Ducks did not attempt a field goal although Stanford place kicker was good on three (29, 41 and 48 yards) and missed one.

One glaring statistic was that Oregon was flagged for six penalties for 89 yards while Stanford was penalized 3 times for 25 yards. Oregon had a total of 570 yards of offense (236 rushing and 334 passing) while Stanford had 505 yards of total offense (254 rushing, 251 passing) but most importantly 51 points to Oregon's 42.

After the game, in one of the finest displays of leadership and class, Masoli, instead of going into the locker room sought out Taylor who was distraught over the poor kick was off alone. Masoli spoke to Taylor then wrapped his arm around his teammate and they then walked together into the locker room as the team now is moving on to next week's opponent, Arizona State.

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