Mariota leads Ducks to 45-16 win over Stanford
EUGENE, Ore. (AP) Marcus Mariota threw for 258 yards and two touchdowns and ran for two more scores in fifth-ranked Oregon's 45-16 victory over Stanford on Saturday night.
Thomas Tyner returned from an injury to run for two touchdowns to help the Ducks (8-1, 5-1 Pac-12, No. 5 CFP) snap a two-game losing streak to the Cardinal.
Stanford's stout defense had not allowed an opponent more than 30 points in a string of 31 games, the longest streak in the nation. The Cardinal (5-4, 3-3) had allowed just four total rushing touchdowns through the season's first eight games; Oregon finished with four.
Oregon climbed to No. 2 in the AP rankings this season but stumbled with a home loss to Arizona on Oct. 2. The Ducks have since recovered and they're gunning for the inaugural playoffs.
All of Stanford's losses have come to ranked teams. A 26-10 loss to Arizona State dropped the Cardinal out of the Top 25 after a streak of 72 weeks in the rankings. Stanford rebounded last weekend with a 38-14 victory over Oregon State.
The Cardinal defense had allowed opponents an average of just 250.6 yards a game. Opponents were only averaging 12.5 points. Oregon had 525 yards in total offense.
The Ducks efficiently marched down the field on their first series, scoring on Mariota's 6-yard scoring pass to true freshman Charles Nelson. Stanford narrowed it on its opening possession with Jordan Williamson's 47-yard field goal.
Mariota faked a handoff and instead ran untouched for 22 yards into the end zone to give the Ducks a 14-3 lead. Stanford countered with Williamson's 43-yard field goal.
Thomas Tyner, who sat out of Oregon's 59-41 victory over Cal last weekend with an undisclosed injury, muscled his way into the end zone for a 1-yard scoring run to put the Ducks up 21-6.
Oregon starting defensive end Arik Armstead, who had returned Saturday from a left ankle injury, was hurt again in the second quarter and had to be helped off the field by his teammates.
After Aidan Schneider kicked a 40-yard field goal for the Ducks, Stanford's Patrick Skov got into the end zone on a 1-yard touchdown run to make it 24-13 at halftime.
Stanford was driving early in the third quarter when Erick Dargan intercepted Kevin Hogan's pass at the 1. Stanford's Alex Carter intercepted Mariota's was on Oregon's ensuing series and the Cardinal went on to score on Williamson's 25-yard field goal to narrow it to 24-16.
Tyner got into the end zone again, this one with a spin move to elude defenders on a 21-yard scoring run to close out the third quarter. Mariota added a 7-yard keeper early in the fourth after Oregon recovered a Hogan fumble forced by Dargan, then found Darren Carrington with a 25-yard scoring pass to make it 45-16.
Tyner finished with 10 carries for 63 yards.
In 2012, Oregon was ranked No. 1 when the 14th-ranked Cardinal came to Autzen and shocked the Ducks 17-14 on Williamson's 37-yard field goal in overtime. Oregon would go on to finish ranked No. 2 in the nation after rolling over Kansas State in the Fiesta Bowl, which would turn out to be Chip Kelly's last game as coach.
Last season, the stakes were high on both sides, when the No. 5 Cardinal piled up a 26-0 lead after three quarters then held off a frenzied fourth-quarter rally by the No. 3 Ducks to escape with a 26-20 victory. It was later revealed that Mariota was playing injured, and Oregon would go on to drop another game to Arizona and miss out on a BCS bowl for the first time in four seasons.