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No. 3 Oregon Falls to Stanford 31-24

The Ducks are perfect no more as they drop their first game of the season on the road in the Bay Area.
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Just as the Ducks appeared to be getting healthy, two players were ruled out before the game. Starting safety Bennett Williams was not seen on the field during warmups and starting center Alex Forsyth was wearing his jersey and street clothes during warmups.

Just prior to kickoff, it was announced that Offensive Coordinator Joe Moorhead would be unavailable due to a NON COVID-related injury. 

It was later revealed that Forysth had back spasms and Williams had a freak accident type of injury in practice on Friday.

First quarter

It felt like the Ducks were playing from behind from the jump, as cornerback Trikweze Bridges was ejected for targeting on the opening kickoff. 

Stanford got the ball to start the game and the Cardinal moved the sticks largely on the ground with gains coming from Austin Jones and Nathaniel Peat. Tanner McKee looked solid in the opening quarter, going 5-of-10 passing for 85 yards and a jump-ball touchdown to Brycen Tremayne.

Anthony Brown had a tough start to the game, missing multiple reads on the ground and missing throws to tight ends Terrance Ferguson and Spencer Webb that would've moved the chains. He also threw an easy interception to outside linebacker Gabe Reid, which the Cardinal were quick to turn in to points through the air to on the pass to Tremayne. 

CJ Verdell ended the quarter with some nice runs, bucking defenders off of him. Devon Williams also had two nice catches for first downs on that same drive. 

Stanford led 10-0 at the end of the first quarter.

Second quarter

Brown scored on a quarterback keeper to start the quarter, and it felt like this was a score the Ducks desperately needed. 

Stanford starting wide receiver Brycen Tremayne would exit the game with a gruesome lower leg injury and was carted off the field. The Cardinal offense wouldn't slow down though, as they continued to pound the rock and the defense struggled to get off the field on third down. 

The Ducks looked like they might hold up on that drive, but Stanford continued to pound away and brought in Isaiah Sanders at quarterback, who would run it in from two yards out for the touchdown with about 8:00 left.

The Ducks' offense would struggle on the ensuing drive and punt after a nice catch from Kris Huston on the drive. Stanford would punt again, and Oregon would drive all the way to the Stanford one-yard line before Brown was stuffed trying to run up the middle on fourth down.

Oregon trailed 17-7 going into the half.

Third quarter

The Ducks got the ball to start the second half and promptly burned a timeout less than a minute into the half before going three-and-out and punting the ball back to Stanford. The two teams would trade punts to start the half, and Oregon would get the ball back with a short field before going 48 yards on eight plays in three minutes and 48 seconds, capped off by Verdell pounding it into the end zone with a little over 8:00 remaining.

The Ducks got the ball inside the 10-yard line and looked set up to pound in another touchdown, but Verdell would go down after a run in noticeable pain, punching the ground and kicking his right foot. He would come off the field with help from Seven McGee and medical staff before being carted to the locker room. The offense wouldn't be able to punch it in and they'd have to settle for a field goal and tie the game at 17 heading into the fourth quarter.

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Fourth Quarter

The Ducks got the ball back and proceeded to drive 80 yards, with 66 of them coming on a massive catch and run by Mycah Pittman, who got a great assist from Devon Williams blocking.

Brown would finish the drive off himself by running it in to put the Ducks ahead 24-17 with 9:32 left in the fourth.

The defense would force another punt thanks in part to a huge sack by Noah Sewell, who was banged up for most of the game. The Ducks would put together a nearly five-minute drive, but couldn't get any points from it.

Tanner McKee would lead the Cardinal on an 11-play, 87-yard touchdown drive, with a 25-yard pitch and catch to John Humphreys. The Ducks were called for three penalties on the final drive of regulation, the most crucial one being a targeting call on Kayvon Thibodeaux, who was subsequently ejected. 

A holding call on Mykael Wright later in the drive moved the ball to the two-yard line, and McKee would lob a pass to Elijah Higgins to tie the game as the clock struck zero.

Overtime

Stanford got the ball first and swiftly moved the ball, getting plays from big targets Humphreys and Higgins. McKee hooked up with Higgins, who muscled his way into the end zone to go ahead 31-24. 

Oregon got its turn and Brown completed a short pass to Jaylon Redd. Brown ran the ball for three yards himself, and found Redd again, but for negative yards. Brown would scramble out of the pocket on the last play of the game and try to sync up with Mycah Pittman on fourth down, but the pass was ruled incomplete, as Pittman came down with it out of bouds.

Stanford won the game 31-24. 

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CJ Verdell exits Stanford game with injury


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