UO-STANFORD GAME TRACK
STANFORD, Calif. - The host Stanford Cardinal had eight quarterbacks warming up before Saturday's game against Oregon.
Of course, the only one who mattered wore No. 12 - Andrew Luck.
Luck and the Cardinal (9-0, 7-0 Pac-12) hoped to beat the Ducks (8-1, 6-0) and establish superiority in the new Pac-12 Conference, on a cool and cloudy day in the Bay Area.
Here's a quarter-by-quarter track of the game at Stanford Stadium:
Both defenses started great, with three-and-outs each.
Eddie Pleasant broke up Luck's third-down pass on Stanford's next possession. Oregon again had good field position, after David Green's 28-yard punt, starting at their own 47.
Darron Thomas' foolishly held on to the ball as he was being sacked by Matt Masifilo, and almost cost UO a turnover when he threw the ball wildly, and a Stanford player intercepted it. He was ruled sacked, however, and UO punted. It was a minus-20 yard play.
A Stanford offensive lineman broke up a likely pick in the backfield, as Oregon linebacker Boseko Lokombo blitzed and buried Luck into a weak throw.
But, moments later, Dewitt Stuckey stepped into a passing lane and intercepted Luck, returning the ball to the Stanford 20-yard line.
Thomas ran for 9 yards, but the Cardinal stopped De'Anthony Thomas for no gain on a reverse when the receiver hesitated. On third-and-1, though, LaMichael James got to the 3.
On second down, Darron Thomas rolled right and threaded the needle to the back right corner of the end zone and to wideout Lavasier Tuinei for a 4-yard touchdown.
The Ducks stayed in their 2-point conversion formation and got it to take an 8-0 lead. David Paulson passed to Jeff Palmer for the two points.
The Ducks got another turnover when Troy Hill stripped Tyler Gaffney at the UO 44. The ruling was under review, and the call was overturned - Stanford ball. Mostly with the run, led by Stepfan Taylor, who had consecutive carries of 12 and eight yards, Stanford sat the UO 20 as the quarter ended.
Stanford had 98 yards and UO minus-one in the first quarter.
Taylor picked up a first down to the UO 16, and Luck found Griff Whalen, who beat Hill, for a 16-yard TD play. But Eric Whitaker's extra-point attempt went wide right, leaving it 8-6, Oregon.
The Ducks got a first down on a Stanford holding penalty and a James run and quickly scored, as James found a hole and ran virtually untouched 58 yards for the score and a 15-6 UO lead.
James had seven carries for 12 yards before that carry.
The Cardinal punted after a Luck misfire on third down.
Kenjon Barner got nailed for a loss, but Stanford's A.J. Tarpley got nailed for horse-collar tackling penalty. Later, De'Anthony Thomas coughed up a fumble, with Stanford recovering at the Stanford 45.
Taylor carried for the 18th and 19th time, and then Luck hit Whalen on a pass, and an accompanying personal foul on Michael Clay put the ball at the UO 21.
Taylor carried for the 20th time, but Luck's third-down pass to Taylor came up short of the first down.
Whitaker booted a 37-yard field goal to make it 15-9, UO.
Darron Thomas threw 11 yards to Rahsaan Vaughn and James ran for 15. But, after a couple minus plays, UO faced fourth-and-7 at the Stanford 41. No problem. About to be hit on the screen-pass set up, Darron Thomas passed to De'Anthony Thomas, who ran for the 41-yard touchdown and a 22-9 UO lead.
Luck came out throwing, leading Stanford downfield, completing his fifth pass of the drive to Ty Montgomery to the UO 31, when the Cardinal called their first of three timeouts with 53 seconds left.
A 18-yard Luck-to-Whalen pass put Stanford at the UO 13, and then the two hooked up again for a 13-yard TD play. Whitaker's extra-piont kick made it 22-16. Luck was 7 of 8 on the drive for all 84 yards on the drive.
Thomas threw incomplete to David Paulson as the first half ended.
The Ducks quickly scored, as Thomas found Josh Huff, who fended off tackle attempts by defensive backs Terrence Brown and Michael Thomas en route to a 59-yard TD catch-and-run. Oregon led 29-16.
The UO defense came up with a huge stop, as Dion Jordan sacked Luck on third-and-1. But James muffed the punt reception, with Stanford recovering at the UO 34.
Luck's bad luck continued as Coby Fleener dropped a third-down pass. And, Whitaker missed a 48-yard field goal attempt.
Clearly, Oregon was proving to be the better team.
After a punt, Luck was sacked by Terrell Turner, and Brandon Hanna recovered at the Stanford 12. Thomas threw a 12-yard TD pass to David Paulson; the play was under review and, for the second time, a UO play was overturned.
Thomas threw to Tuinei for eight yards to the Stanford 4 and, on fourth down, James scored on a 4-yard TD run and the rout was on - 36-16, UO.
Stanford, however, wasn't done. A personal-foul penalty on Oregon and a third-and-6 completion by Luck put the Cardinal at the Duck 16.
Oregon forced another third-and-6, and stopped a completion one yard short. What would the Cardinal do?
Stanford chose to go for the first down, and got it up the middle on a power play to the 4 - Oregon was offside, anyway, so the Cardinal got a new set of downs at the 3.
Oregon was called for offside again, and then Luck faked a handoff and flipped a short TD pass to Jeremy Stewart in the flat. The PAT cut Oregon's lead to 36-23 with 2:38 left in the third quarter.
The Ducks moved to Stanford's 20 when the quarter came to an end.
James found a small crease in the line to set up first-and-goal at the 3. One more play, and he was in the end zone, according to the referees. But another review went against the Ducks, as the review said James was down a half-yard short of the goal line. The delay gave Stanford's defense a rest, but that didn't matter. James scored easily on the next snap.
With 14:02 remaining, and after the PAT, Oregon led 43-23.
Stanford went almost entirely to the air and got to a fourth-and-goal at the Ducks' 1. Stewart scored on the ground, and the Cardinal were within 43-30 with 9:37 to go.
Oregon was able to move the ball again, however, and eat up the clock. Finally, Stanford stiffened enough to force a fourth-and-8 from the Cardinal 23. The Ducks called a timeout with 5:14 left. Maldonado hammered in a 40-yard field goal, and Oregon led 46-30.
The final blow for Stanford came immediately, as Luck was intercepted and had the pick returned for a touchdown by Lokombo, who raced 40 yards and scored with 4:28 remaining. Now the count was Oregon 53-30.
Stanford fumbled the kickoff on a hard hit, and the Ducks recovered, with kicker Rob Beard getting the ball at the Cardinal 30.
Oregon called some conservative runs, with Tre Carson in the backfield. On fourth-and-17, Carson came up a few yards short of a first down on a blast up the middle.
Stanford lost a fumble after a completion, and Oregon's opportunistic defense recovered with 1:45 remaining.
Oregon ran out the clock, settling for the 53-30 victory.