Then it's more Jordan Williamson, and this is a revenge of sorts for him, as he's struggled in big games at times and at times this year. (Though of course he's made some huge kicks too.) Williamson is now 3-of-3, and functionally, 4-for-4, after having to rekick from 30 after a false start.
Stanford 26, Oregon 0, 11:40 remaining
The Oregon players have tears in their eyes with 11:40 left. De'Anthony Thomas returns to the Duck 40 and then Oregon starts marching again. Josh Huff catches for 26 yards on the right sideline down to Stanford's 22, but is slow to get up, and we have a 10-minute pause, rightfully, as Huff gets up. The next play, though, Stanford is in a prevent defense, and it's an uncontested touchdown to Daryle Hawkins.
Stanford 26, Oregon 7, 10:11 remaining
Out comes Tyler Gaffney, currently at 38 carries. Two more carries will give him the school record, breaking Tommy Vardell's 39 in the 1991 Big Game. Gaffney gets one touch for a yard, but then exits as it's Wilkerson for five to the Duck 43. Under nine minutes left, and the ESPN cameras show a towel covering an emotional Josh Huff's face. On the field, Hogan fakes a pitch to Gaffney, but tucks inside and moves the chains after a six-yard gain.
"To be fair, how much option practice do you do in the week before Stanford?" – Sam Fisher, here in the KZSU booth at Stanford Stadium. Gaffney runs for two on the school-record 40th carry, then for six on carry 41, and another three on carry 42. Tick, tick, tick. 6:42 and counting. Make that 6:16 as Stanford burns a timeout to avoid a delay of game before the ensuing first down at Oregon's 27.
Oregon's fans are heading for the exits because of a blowout – but a loss, not a win.
Facts I would love to know, but can't find. 1. What is the time of possession record? The Cardinal are nearing 40 minutes with 6:16 left. 2. How many of Stanford's first downs has Tyler Gaffney accounted for? 15? 20?
Gaffney's dropped in the backfield on a second down carry, and I think that's his first negative carry on the day. Fourth and six and it's time for another field goal, which would make for a 22-point lead. 5:20 left and Oregon has only one timeout.
Williamson is blocked from 40 and Oregon recovers and returns for a touchdown! The kick was blocked at the line, and that's on Williamson, who misfired and drove the ball low. Oregon didn't get any 26-13 after Rodney Hardrick returns for 65 yards, but the Ducks miss a two-point conversion after stepping out of bounds. Okay, time to grind out some more clock…
Stanford 26, Oregon 13, 5:08 remaining
And then Oregon recovers the onside kick. Multiple Stanford players have a shot at the rock, but can't hang on. Oregon does have to back up 15 yards on an unsportsmanlike, but ESPN is going to get every last bit of ratings point out of this one.
4:41 after Oregon runs off two quick plays to move the chains and advance to Stanford's 46. Tick, tick, tick. Three yard run up the middle. Bralon Addison gets down to the 24 after a missed tackle and we're at the four-minute mark. A stop here all but clinches, but instead it's a deep post to Stanford's one.
Skov runs more clock, if nothing else, dropping De'Anthony Thomas in the backfield on first and goal. The Ducks are stonewalled too on second and goal, and then James Vaughters breaks through and forces a fumble on Thomas with 2:20 to go. Thomas recovers, but Oregon has to use their last timeout and will have to score on this fourth and goal play from the 12.
Touchdown, Pharoah Brown, who comes open in triple coverage. Mariota rolled to his left to buy time, and after the extra point, it's 26-20 Cardinal with 2:12 to go.
Never easy, is it? All credit to Oregon for fighting back. That's two years in a row they've taken the Cardinal absolutely to the wire, and if they're not the best team in the country, I'd love to know who is.
Stanford 26, Oregon 20, 2:12 remaining
Right now though, recover this onside kick, and it's 2:12 to go with no Oregon timeouts. A few runs up the middle with two hands, and Oregon is in serious, serious trouble. Maybe they'll get it back with 10 seconds left. Run some sweeps here, and then on fourth down, you could even dance around in the end zone for the last five seconds and take a safety if need be. (Six versus four is no difference.)
I get ahead of myself, though. Run up the middle and a Hogan bootleg, and it's third and eight with 45 seconds left. Wilkerson runs to his right, the time runs out, and that's all she wrote!
Stanford 26, Oregon 20, Final
Our player of the game is Tyler Gaffney. Our play of the quarter is Jeff Trojan recovering two onside kicks to allow Stanford to hand on – just barely.
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