For the second year in a row, Stanford ended any hopes Oregon had of playing for a national college football championship.
The physical Cardinal defense manhandled the Ducks high-octane offense, which had averaged 55.6 points per game, holding Oregon scoreless for the first 50 minutes of the game.
Despite a furious rally, No. 5 Stanford defeated No. 3 Oregon, 26-20, in the Pacific 12 Conference game and earned selection as the Week 11 winner of the United States Sports Academy’s College Football Game of the Year contest.
The Cardinal beat Oregon, 17-14, in overtime last year and are the only team the Ducks, who have lost to in the past two seasons.
Stanford stuffed Oregon, allowing the Ducks just 62 yards on the ground. Oregon has been held under 200 rushing yards three times in the last two seasons, twice against Stanford. The Ducks failed to score a rushing touchdown against Stanford, which was the first time since the BCS National Championship Game against Auburn on Jan. 10, 2011.
Meanwhile, Stanford running back Tyler Gaffney carried the ball a school-record 45 times for 157 yards and a touchdown as the Cardinal ran 66 times total, rolling up 274 yards on the ground.
In addition, Stanford quarterback Kevin Hogan ran for a touchdown and played a mistake-free game as the Cardinal (8-1, 6-1 Pac-12) held the ball for 42 1/2 minutes.
Heisman Trophy contender Marcus Mariota, Oregon’s quarterback, was inaccurate and under pressure much of the game. He finished 20-of-34 for 250 yards with a fumble but threw two fourth-quarter touchdown passes, sandwiched around a blocked field goal return for a TD by Rodney Hardrick to pull the Ducks (8-1, 5-1) within 26-20 with 2:12 left in the game.
Oregon recovered one onside kick but failed to do it twice, as Stanford recovered an onside kick with 2:10 left to play and ran out the clock.
A national panel of experts selects the weekly winner of the Academy’s College Football Game of the Year Contest. Each week’s winner is considered for the award honoring the best College Football Game of the Year at the end of the season. Last season’s winner was Texas A&M’s 29-24 shocking upset of Alabama in a Southeastern Conference showdown.
This committee is currently chaired by Jack Lengyel, the former athletic director at the United States Naval Academy. Lengyel was also a college football coach best known for being the head coach who resurrected the Marshall University football program, as depicted in the 2006 film, “We Are Marshall.”
Daniel Moore, the American Sports Art Museum and Archives (ASAMA) 2005 Sport Artist of the Year, is commissioned by the Academy each year to create a painting honoring the selected College Football Game of the Year. The Academy, also known as America’s Sports University, donates the painting and $5,000 to the general scholarship fund of the annual winner.
The United States Sports Academy is an independent, non-profit, accredited, special mission sports university created to serve the nation and world with programs in instruction, research, and service. The role of the Academy is to prepare men and women for careers in the profession of sports. For more information about the Academy, call 251-626-3303 or visit www.ussa.edu.