No. 20 Oregon led No. 7 Stanford just about all Saturday night in Eugene. The Ducks scored a game-opening TD six and a half minutes in, and they kept building their lead for a while. It was 24-7 at halftime, and even when Stanford chiseled away in the second half, the Ducks had no apparent reason to worry. With inside a minute to play, they had the ball at Stanford’s 42, facing a second-and-2, leading by a field goal. That’s fine!
Except it was very much not fine. Reaching for a first down that would’ve sealed the game with about 51 seconds left, CJ Verdell fumbled. The Cardinal recovered, and after being inches from losing a game they were supposed to lose all along, they were in business.
K.J. Costello then led Stanford 46 yards in six plays. Jet Toner split the uprights with a 36-yard field goal to tie the score at 31 as regulation ran out. Oregon was forced into an overtime period despite having the ball for 36 minutes and leading for solidly more than 50 minutes of clock time. Stanford found a $100 bill in its back pocket with Verdell’s fumble.
The Ducks didn’t have to run the ball at all, but Mario Cristobal’s team did anyway.
Here’s what would have happened if Oregon kneeled.— Patrick Netherton (@PTNetherton) September 23, 2018
1st down kneel at 1:41. Timeout. Let’s say 1:39.
2nd down kneel runs clock to :59
3rd down kneel runs clock to :19.
Punt runs clock to under :10 and Stanford has no timeouts to go length of field
And Stanford then sealed the game in overtime.
Stanford scored on its first possession on a 23-yard pass from Costello to Colby Parkinson, who caught it in the end zone off a tip to himself.
THIS GAME IS DRUNJ pic.twitter.com/REJZ8I9EO0— Yahoo Sports College Football (@YahooSportsCFB) September 23, 2018
On the Ducks’ counter-possession, they picked up a first down but ran into trouble as they got close to the goal line. On a decisive fourth-and-10, Justin Herbert’s throw to the end zone was tipped and intercepted by Alameen Murphy, ending things.
It’s not just that Oregon fumbled the game away while killing clock. So much other stuff was terrible about the way they lost.
College GameDay was in town. The game was massive, with obvious Pac-12 North stakes. It’s now really difficult to see the Ducks finishing ahead of Stanford and Washington.
Oregon had a TD wiped out after a guy kicked a pylon on his way into the end zone.
Not long after that, Stanford scored on an 80-yard fumble recovery runback.