What They're Saying: Oregon 35, Stanford 28

"They are who we thought they were. And we let them off the hook." Denny Green's words never rang truer than after Oregon's 35-28 victory Saturday. Read on as we delve into what the game says about Stanford and Oregon, what it says about Stanford's bowl shots, and what writers from West Coast newspapers are saying about Saturday's final.

Oregon 35, Stanford 28

They are who we thought they were 

"The Bears are who we thought they were. The Bears are who we thought they were…We played them in the preseason, we played them three quarters, [bleep]. The Bears are who we thought they were. [Bleep], the Bears are who we thought they were. That's why we took the damn field. Now if you want to crown 'em, then crown their [bleep]. But they are who we thought they were. And we let them off the hook." - Former Stanford coach Dennis Green.

Though it's approaching two decades since Denny Green last coached the Card (1989-1991), his words are fitting after the Ducks' sloppy 35-28 victory in Eugene, Ore. Saturday.

The Oregon Ducks are who we thought they were. They're not the best team in the Pac-10, and they didn't look it Saturday. Offensively, a safety and four lost fumbles were inexcusable. Defensively, Oregon allowed the Cardinal 187 rushing yards, including what very much looked at the time like a game-winning touchdown from Anthony Kimble. Better teams would have taken advantage and beat the Ducks -- and the three top-25 teams Oregon has played this season, Boise St., USC and Cal, did capitalize on Oregon mistakes to emerge victorious.

But Stanford is who we thought they were too, and that's further yet from the cream of the Pac-10 crop, a team not good enough to help but let Oregon off the hook. Heading into today, we would have thought that if this were 50 years ago, when the phrase "forward pass" was still a dirty word in college football, the Cardinal might well be undefeated right now, because Stanford's among the best in the country at running the football and stopping that run. Oregon, like Stanford, is strong both rushing and in rush defense, but we thought the Card would acquit themselves well enough against a physical Oregon team.

However, Stanford's rush D disappointed mightily Saturday -- they proved to be who we thought they were, circa 2006. In numbers, that's 307 Oregon rush yards on 7.5 yards per carry. In a word, that's ugly. In a letter, that's an L. Let's not throw out our proverbial backs trying to contort ourselves in analysis of Stanford's latest loss -- the Cardinal couldn't stop Oregon's rush attack with any regularity, and that's all there is to it.

Ten games into the season, Stanford's strengths and weaknesses are now most clearly manifest. The Cardinal had one of their best passing days yet, and their pass D wasn't really tested, but at best they are half a football team right now, because of their yearlong struggles in the air. It's been a formula good enough to beat most of the teams the Cardinal should, and spring an upset or two at home. But on the road, Stanford has now come close twice, but has yet to get over the proverbial hump.

Stanford and Oregon: today, Oregon was who we thought they were and Stanford, if anything, was worse on the ground. Unfortunately for Stanford, the Card now needs a win against USC or Cal to reach its first bowl since 2001. And if they continue to play as they have the past ten weeks, if they continue to be no better who we think they are, Stanford's two weeks away from having backslid into a most heartbreaking 5-7 finish.

That's our take. Check in Sunday as we update with links from Stanford and Oregon writers.

National:

Pac-10: Oregon rallies to beat Stanford
Associated Press
LeGarrette Blount's three-yard touchdown run with six seconds left gave Oregon a 35-28 victory over Stanford in a Pacific 10 Conference on Saturday at Eugene, Ore.
 
 
Stanford:
 
San Francisco Chronicle
Toby Gerhart walked out of the Stanford locker room with something resembling a John-Wayne-in-a-western gait, a large ice bag taped to his upper right thigh.
 
Stanford loses to Oregon on late touchdown
Andrew Baggarly
San Jose Mercury News
Stanford tailback Anthony Kimble grasped his own fumble, simultaneously crashed across the pylon, then watched a herd of striped officials try to figure out what it all meant.
 
Injured Gerhart expects to be ready for USC
Andrew Baggarly
San Jose Mercury News
Toby Gerhart's streak of 100-yard rushing games was stopped at four when he injured his upper-right hamstring early in the first quarter at Autzen Stadium on Saturday.
 
Agonizing loss to Ducks almost closes door on Cardinal bowl bid
Michelle Smith
San Francisco Chronicle
Oregon kept the door open all day for Stanford, open to the upset, open to the Cardinal's postseason hopes. So when Oregon slammed that door in Stanford's face at the end, it was that much more heartbreaking.
 
San Francisco Chronicle
Maybe people think that fifth-year senior tailback Anthony Kimble has been on the "back-burner," to use the words of Stanford quarterback Tavita Pritchard, with junior Toby Gerhart closing in on a 1,000-yard season.
 
Oregon:
 
Statesman Journal
Quarterback Jeremiah Masoli heard the boos.With Oregon trailing Stanford 28-27 when the Ducks' offense took the field with 2:18 remaining, Masoli's first-down pass intended for an open Terence Scott was low and incomplete.
 
The Oregonian
With one minute left in the game and boos still raining down on him at Autzen Stadium, Jeremiah Masoli proved why he is Oregon's quarterback.
 
The Oregonian
It's 18 inches tall, four inches wide. It's orange, made of foam and placed in the four corners of each end zone.


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