Oregon at Stanford
November 6, 2013
By Joe Nelson
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After a couple of weeks of mediocre Thursday night action, this week’s schedule rivals Saturday’s with two of the biggest games of the weekend. The national landscape will feel a heavy impact with the Thursday night results just as last season two later evening games on Nov. 17 involving three of these teams changed everything with No. 2 Kansas State blown out at Baylor and Stanford upsetting No. 1 Oregon in overtime.
Oregon at Stanford
Matchup: Oregon Ducks at Stanford Cardinal
Venue: Stanford Stadium in Stanford, California (grass)
Time/TV: 9:00 p.m. ET - ESPN
Line: Oregon -10, Over/Under 61½
Last Meeting: 2012 at Oregon, Stanford (+20½) 17-14.
Last season everyone wanted to see Oregon in the BCS championship game as the Ducks had cruised to a 10-0 start with dominant numbers, out-scoring foes by an average of 55-22 with only one relatively close game with an 11-point win at USC. #2 in the BCS rankings was a pesky Kansas State team that kept putting together quality wins. Just a week after Alabama had opened the door for everyone else with a stunning loss at home to Texas A&M, Kansas State went down to Baylor and then a few hours later Stanford sealed a stunning 17-14 overtime win over Oregon to completely shake up the picture again.
There was certainly controversy is last year’s game as Stanford was granted a touchdown on a replay reversal with less than two minutes to go in the game, creating the need for overtime. In overtime Oregon kicker Alejandro Maldonado missed a 41-yard field goal while Stanford counterpart Jordan Williamson was able to connect on a 37-yard kick. It was the second time in the last four games that Stanford has defeated Oregon and the Cardinal are one of the few teams that have slowed the Ducks down as the 14-point effort was the lowest score since the opening game of the 2009 season for Oregon, the first game for Chip Kelly.
Oregon has scored at least 45 points in every game this season and the Ducks are in the top three nationally in total offense, scoring offense, and yards per play. The Ducks pass for over 300 yards per game and rush for over 331 yards per game. While Oregon is not known for defense they have allowed just 17 points per game with good numbers in terms of yardage allowed and some of that yardage has come against reserves late in games. Sophomore quarterback Marcus Mariota is a Heisman contender with 2,281 yards passing and 511 yards rushing, already accounting for 29 touchdowns and he has not thrown an interception.
Stanford did suffer an upset loss at Utah this season but they remain the highest ranked one-loss team in the BCS standings and a win this week would put them in good position to still be a national contender if there are more upsets at the top. Stanford has not had the same dominant defense as last season however as the Cardinal have allowed over 19 points per game this season and over 354 yards per game on 4.7 yards per play. Oregon has actually been superior on defense on a yards per play basis and the Cardinal have allowed 27 or more points three times already this season after allowing 24 or fewer points in all but one game last season.
Kevin Hogan has thrown five interceptions this season for Stanford after having just three last season and he is completing just 61 percent of his passes compared with 71 percent last season. While some of the numbers look less impressive for Stanford and there have been some close calls, the overall picture actually looks pretty similar to last season. Last year Stanford had two losses early in the season, falling to Washington and controversially against Notre Dame. They also had close calls against San Jose State, USC, Washington State, and Oregon State as this was rarely a team that dominated in blowout wins. Stanford had to hold on in narrow wins against Washington and Oregon State this season but they have lost just once with a number a quality wins. Stanford is scoring more points than they averaged last season and they are also rushing for more yards per game and per carry despite losing Stepfan Taylor.
The question of this game is whether Stanford can somehow slow this game down and stop Oregon. If this turns out to be a high scoring game the Cardinal likely won’t be able to keep up. This will be the best run defense that Oregon has faced as Stanford allows just 104 yards per game on the ground on just 3.3 yards per carry. Stanford has also proven impressive against passing teams in holding Arizona State to just 28 points and Oregon State to just 12 points. Oregon scored 42, 52, and 53 in the three prior meetings against Stanford before last season and we’ll find out if last year’s game was a one game success for the Cardinal or if this is the team that can give the Ducks problems.
Last Meeting: Despite the low scoring both teams had over 400 yards in the game last season as there were missed opportunities on both sides. After a scoreless first quarter Stanford struck first but Oregon pulled ahead late in the third quarter before Stanford tied the game late on the infamous touchdown catch for Zach Ertz. Oregon had to punt eight times in the game and both teams missed field goals in regulation. Stanford had three turnovers in the game compared to just one for Oregon and both teams failed going for it on fourth down plays deep in the red zone in the first half.
Series History: Oregon and Stanford are knotted at 14-14 in the last 28 games of this series going back to 1980 but Oregon has won eight of the last 10 and has a 7-3 ATS edge in that span. Oregon has won and covered in three of the last four road meetings.
Line Movement: This line opened at -10 for the road favorite and it sits there still after a brief leap to -10½ at some outlets. The total has climbed from 60 to 61½.
Oregon Historical Trends: Oregon has covered in 10 consecutive road games going back to the start of the 2011 season and the Ducks have not lost S/U on the road since losing at Stanford in 2009, winning 17 road games in a row as the Ducks have lost a home game each of the last two years. Since 2010 Oregon is 20-17-2 ATS as a favorite of at least 10 points, though they are 6-2 ATS this season under Coach Helfrich.
Stanford Historical Trends: Stanford has covered in six games in a row as a home underdog going back to December of 2007. They were a double-digit home underdog once last season in the upset over USC. Stanford is just 3-5 ATS in the last eight home games, going 2-2 ATS this season at home with 28 points allowed in two of those home games. Since 2008 Stanford is 33-2 S/U at home with a 23-12 ATS record.