Palo Alto, CA –The No. 16 Oregon Ducks (3-1) opened their Pac-12 season in the win column, taking down the Stanford Cardinal (1-3) 21-6 at Stanford Stadium on Saturday, September 21st, 2019, giving Oregon its first win in a conference opener since 2014.
The Ducks, led by senior quarterback Justin Herbert (10), were effective and efficient through the air offensively, but it was the stout play of the defense that allowed the Ducks to remain in complete control of the game past the opening drive, in which the Cardinal gained their only lead of the day with one of two successful field goals on the day to go up 3-0.
Coming into the game, the Ducks defense was one of just seven units in the FBS that had not given up a first-half touchdown in 2019. The Ducks held Stanford without a touchdown all day in this one, having now held their last three opponents out of the endzone and prevented touchdowns on their last 38 consecutive drives.
Oregon sliced through the Cardinal defensive through the air in the first half with Herbert completing 10-of-12 for 155 yards and two touchdowns, finding receiver Jaylon Redd (30) and tight end Jacob Breeland (27) to put the Ducks up 14-3 heading into the half.
Despite being held out of the endzone, the Cardinal still managed to gain yardage with a balanced offensive attack, totaling 120 yards through the air and 114 on the ground.
Running back Cameron Scarlett (22) carried the load for Stanford with 19 rushing attempts for a total of 97 yards and a long of 23.
Stanford quarterback K.J. Costello (3) completed 16-of-30 passing attempts but was also sacked five times for -23 yards on the night.
The Ducks capped the win with a third passing touchdown in the second half with Herbert finding Breeland on a wide-open streak.
Herbert tallied 19-of-24 attempts for 259 yards on the day and eclipsed 8,000 yards passing over his collegiate career in the process.
The future first-round pick also maintained each of his impressive active streaks, having now finished 32 consecutive games with a touchdown pass and completed 174 pass attempts without an interception.
Defensively, Oregon has now secured an interception in 11 of their last 13 games dating back to last season.
For head coach David Shaw and Stanford, the losing streak continues, having dropped each of their last three games after defeating Northwestern at home in the season opener.
“Three weeks in a row, we were evenly matched, but we make a few errors against really good football teams that lead to points,” coach Shaw said after the game. “It starts with me, finding a way to get us to play better.”
The Cardinal are now 5-1 in games coming off back-to-back losses during the Shaw era.
Oregon, on the other hand, is still unbeaten since they dropped their season opener in Arlington, Texas, to the Auburn Tigers.
Head coach Mario Cristobal said he was proud of the physicality his team displayed in their first game away from Eugene since that opening-week loss and believes his team is on its way to executing at the high level they expect.
“We felt that we could be a really good road team and took a step in that direction today,” he said. “We have the pieces. We have the makeup. We have the DNA. We’ve got to put it together and let actions speak louder than words.”
Both teams head into bye weeks before continuing Pac-12 play on Saturday, October 5th.
The Oregon Ducks will play host to the California Golden Bears, who are fresh off a road win at Ole Miss, in a match-up of two of the conference’s top-performing defenses. The Cardinal will look to right the ship at home against the Washington Huskies.