Eugene, OR –After looking destined to upset Stanford in the first half,Oregon came crashing down in the second,eventually falling to the Cardinal in overtime 38-31.
With Stanford only having one time out, Oregon had a chance to run the clock down as they found their way inside Stanford territory with only 51 seconds left. Instead of taking a knee Cristobal decided to run on 2nd down, resulting in another costly fumble by redshirt freshman CJ Verdell. Stanford recovered and quickly moved into field goal range where they would force the game into overtime.
Heading into their first conference matchup of the season, the 20th ranked Oregon Ducks and the 7th ranked Stanford Cardinal both had a lot to prove. Despite being ranked in the top 20 and being undefeated, neither team had been tested this season.
Oregon quarterback Justin Herbert did not waste any time in the spotlight, quickly reminding everyone watching why he should be considered a legit contender for the Heisman Trophy this season, displaying not only his arm strength but also impressing on the ground.
Herbert led the Ducks on scoring drives every time they had the ball in the first half, completing 12/13 passes and closing out the half with a comfortable 24-7 lead.
At the front of Herbert’s success was Junior wide receiver Dillon Mitchell, who hauled in 14 receptions for 239 yards, the second most in Oregon history. Mitchell stated that Herbert played “[like] the first player in the NFL draft.”
Early in second half Oregon appeared to extend their lead to 31-7 as Jaylon Redd scored on a 17-yard reverse however, he was controversially ruled out at the one as he stepped on the pylon prior to entering the end zone.
Immediately after the ruling Oregon started to shoot themselves in the foot, fumbling twice in three plays. The first was recovered by Justin Herbert for a loss of 9 but, the second was taken back 80 yards by Stanford for a score, bringing the game within 10 at 24-14.
After taking all of the momentum away from Oregon, Stanford forced the Ducks to punt on their next drive, and a relatively quiet Bryce Love finally broke free with a 22-yard TD run bringing the game within 3.
By the time overtime started, the energy had been sucked out of Autzen Stadium as it seemed everyone knew they were about to witness an all too familiar scene. On the second play of overtime, TE Colby Parkinson caught a 23-yard touchdown pass that would go on to be the winning touchdown.
Although it didn’t translate to a victory on the field, Oregon truly passed their first test under Mario Cristobal with flying colors.
Cristobal has thrown around the name “Oregon Football 2.0” this season, alluding to the new era of a national prominence Oregon dynasty under his staff. Although they may not be there yet, this loss proves to relatively young team that they can compete at a high level. In time they’ll learn how to close these games out.
Jordon Scott stated after the game, “the rebound is not going to be easy.”, but the rebound is what’s going to define their season. With an early loss and the conference schedule in front of them, Oregon very well could make a run for the Pac 12 Championship but, it will take strong leadership and maturation from their young leaders.