EUGENE, Ore. -- Oregon center
"We'll run the same play seven times in a row," Holmes said. "It'll go for two, then two again, then two again. Then we'll pop one for 20. We'll just keep running the play, running the play. We'll just keep chipping away. That's how we roll."
To hear Oregon players tell it, they never experienced one iota of fear, not even when Stanford took an 18-point lead in the first quarter. That the Ducks turned the deficit into a 52-31 win didn't surprise anyone in green and yellow. At Oregon, players speak of the offense with a sense of inevitability. The tide will erode the beach sooner or later. Sooner or later, the Ducks will bust a huge play.
"That's what we are, in a nutshell," Holmes said. "We're explosive. It only takes one tiny hole to pop one and go for six."
"You just can't worry about the score," said James. "You've just got to play your game. This team right here is really buying into this system. We're down, but we know eventually something is going to break because of our tempo and our endurance."
So when Stanford capitalized on a fumbled kickoff return and a
Instead of panicking, the Ducks chipped. As the second quarter began, Oregon's repetition finally began to wear on the Cardinal. The Ducks ran a play. They sprinted to the line of scrimmage. They ran a play. They sprinted to the line of scrimmage. They ran a play. All that sprinting and play-running eventually discombobulates even the best-coached defenses. By the time quarterback
Speaking of Chips, Oregon coach
A few more chip, chip, chips and Oregon was in the end zone again. The Cardinal added another touchdown and a field goal to go into the half up 31-24, but by the time the teams hit the locker room, momentum had swung. The Ducks would keep chipping. Eventually, the Cardinal would crumble.
In the locker room, Oregon defensive coordinator
The Ducks held the Cardinal to 66 rushing yards in the second half after allowing 111 in the first. That forced Stanford quarterback
On Stanford's next possession, Oregon safety
By the time James blasted through a gap for a 76-yard exclamation point and Oregon's mascot fell in a quivering heap after banging out the final 52 of his 220 pushups, the party was in full swing.
So what happens now for the Ducks? With a national audience watching in prime time, they fell behind and then proceeded to demolish a top-10 team. But will they be regarded as national title contenders? It would be hard to walk into a bar in Birmingham and explain that a team that has allowed 1,115 yards in the past two weeks can hang with an Alabama club that crushed Florida on Saturday.
But things are different out here. Alabama, Ohio State and Boise State won't face a murderer's row of quarterbacks like Luck, Washington's
As good as the Pac-10 is, the Ducks' national title hopes should sort themselves out. Kelly is more concerned with how his players respond next week for a trip to Washington State. After Oregon lost to Boise State in Week 1 last year and was left for dead, Kelly didn't change his practice one bit. The Ducks reeled off seven consecutive wins, started feeling pretty good about themselves and then got popped for a 51-42 loss at Stanford. Kelly hopes he has instilled the correct attitude in his team, but he can't be sure.
"That's still a work in progress," he said. "These kids believe right now. But will they believe on Monday?"
Down 21-3 on Saturday, they believed. "Every team is going to have adversity," James said. "I think what matters is how you overcome adversity."