Q2: Scarlett, Ukropina lead the way (23-21)

The Ogre, the Elephant, the Grinch, the troll under the bridge -- all our big guys and then some come in on second and 10. McCaffrey running left tackle on a power play that, more than any call -- even Spider 2 Y Banana -- has marked the Cardinal's resurgence. McCaffrey hops through a few ankle tackles, which is all that's left after the big guys clear the way, and walks into the end zone.

Offense continuing to do the heavy lifting for the Cardinal. McCaffrey runs twice for good yardage to overcome a false start, then Wright dives over the pile on third and short to move the chains. With the run working, Hogan has all day on play action, and he finds an open Devon Cajuste on a cross for first-down yardage. Two plays later, though, the Cardinal blink, with Hogan putting some mustard on a checkdown to McCaffrey, the ball bouncing into the air, and a diving Oregon D lineman making an athletic interception. If you must assign blame, you could follow FOX's lead and blame the wildcat formation the play prior, which saw Hogan run off the field and McCaffrey lose a yard.

Ducks to midfield as the Stanford DBs cannot defeat their blocks on an off-tackle run left, though it'll come back on a hold. Ronnie Harris injured on the play. Arkansas 14, LSU 0; Baylor 6, Oklahoma 0 early. Card have run 27 plays to the Ducks' nine, so if they can get the D off the field on this second and 16 -- now third and nine after a screen to Darren Carrington -- the O can continue to tire out that Oregon D. And that's just what happens, with Brendan Scarlett making a great play on a stunt to disengage from his blocker and trip up Vernon Adams, who looked to have room on a scramble. 30-yard punt means Card will scrimmage from their 42. That screen to Carrington, by the way, was Oregon's first pass of the day, as the remainder of their 158 yards have come on the ground. Stanford's at 175 total yards, with McCaffrey accounting for 63 of 100 total rushing yards.

Card 5 of 6 on third downs. Even better? Never having to face third down, as Oregon is just 0 of 1 on the money down in their three drives. McCaffrey loses one, then Hogan gains five on a keeper. Hogan then with an incredibly athletic keeper to move the sticks and fake out a defender and dive for the sticks, but an illegal shift with Trenton Irwin and/or Devon Cajuste not getting set on the backside of the play wipes it off the board. No matter, as Michael Rector goes one-on-one on a third-down jumpball down the right numbers, and wins the matchup for a 35-yard gain on what appeared to be a purposeful underthrow to allow No. 3 to adjust. Three more short gainers move the chains again, with a Hogan keeper, a checkdown to Hooper and then a McCaffrey pitch right pulling the Card to the 11.

Have to say, though, Oregon's defense is making Stanford work for it early. The Cardinal have not been able to run it between the tackles, as FOX points out, but I may have reverse-jinxed the Cardinal right there. The Ogre, the Elephant, the Grinch, the troll under the bridge -- all our big guys and then some come in on second and 10. McCaffrey running left tackle on a power play that, more than any call -- even Spider 2 Y Banana -- has marked the Cardinal's resurgence. McCaffrey hops through a few ankle tackles, which is all that's left after the big guys clear the way, and even appears to slow down two yards prematurely and walk into the end zone. (Please don't do that again, Mac, it wasn't that wide open.) Eight-play, 58-yard, 4:19 drive, and Oklahoma's back atop of Baylor, so it's looking pretty at the moment.

Stanford 17, Oregon 14, 6:02 remaining, second quarter

Ducks going quickly -- what else is new -- with Freeman twice for nine yards, and then a third-and-short play fake to Freeman results in a 13-yard bubble screen. But -- and again, what else is new -- the D appears to stiffen, forcing the Ducks into a second third down, this one a third and four at the Card 44, but Dwayne Stanford again comes through with a 12-yard catch after Adams buying time with his feet. Then, Stanford with the uppercut, thanks again to a Cal transfer. Brennan Scarlett gets cut, but gets up and keeps motoring after Vernon Adams, eventually hitting from behind right as Adams releases. The ball floats three yards to Kevin Anderson, who returns to the Duck 9.

If Anderson could have kept his feet, he would have had seven, as he stiff-armed to the turf the only would-be tackler before taking a tumble. Instead, after two McCaffrey runs go nowhere, and a nice third-down call of a jump ball to Greg Taboada sees the Oregon defender make a great play to breakup, the Cardinal settle for three. Oregon will have two minutes before the half, and the rock to start the second half, but for now, the biggest recruit in last year's signing class wasn't some five-star freshman, but rather a Cal graduate. Scarlett had the third-down tackle of Adams to end one drive, and then with the big hit here to force the fumble from behind.

Stanford 20, Oregon 14, 1:59 remaining, first half

Card starting to mix in the blitz to good effect, though Oregon is already across midfield with the clock at 1:10 and counting. And the secondary busts, as Kodi Whitfield doesn't pick up Darren Carrington, Adams buys time in the pocket with his feet, and the Ducks bomb for a 47-yard touchdown. Really hope we try for a two-minute drill here, as we might need every last point tonight...

Oregon 21, Stanford 20, 41 seconds remaining, first half

If our D isn't going to use the timeouts when it gets beat early, then by all means, we better use them here. McCaffrey for ten, no timeout costs us 10 seconds (and we have three of them, why??), checkdown to a open McCaffrey, dropped, and he would have had a first down, at a minimum on the checkdown. Back to McCaffrey, checkdown for 11, timeout with 13 seconds left. Oregon timeout to adjust. Rector for eight, timeout with seven seconds left, ball at the Oregon 38. Hogan 12 of 16 for 133 and a pick. Quick hitch to Rector for eight, another timeout, and now Ukropina for the halftime lead on a 49-yard attempt. Do we have a fake field goal in our playbook, by the way? No matter, as Conrad Ukropina kicks from the left hash and just sneaks it inside the left upright. Feeling much better with a halftime lead, and Scarlett and now Ukropina are your MVPs at the half. Plays 43-23, yardage 276-268 for the good guys.

Stanford 23, Oregon 21, Halftime


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