EUGENE, Ore. – Marcus Mariota finally beat Stanford.
Now on to the rest of the season and perhaps a shot at the playoffs after fifth-ranked Oregon snapped a two-game losing streak to the Cardinal with a 45-16 victory Saturday night.
“To get this win was huge. It will build a lot of momentum heading into the rest of the year,” Mariota said. “It was one of those things – good to get it under your belt and bury the hatchet a little.”
Mariota, who celebrated his 21st birthday this week, threw for 258 yards and two touchdowns and ran for two more scores for Oregon (8-1, 5-1 Pac-12). Thomas Tyner returned from an injury to run for two touchdowns.
For the past two seasons Oregon has looked to have a good shot at a national championship berth, and both times Stanford derailed the Ducks’ season.
Stanford’s defense had not allowed an opponent more than 30 points in a string of 31 games, the longest streak in the nation. The Cardinal (5-4, 3-3) had allowed just four total rushing touchdowns through the season’s first eight games; Oregon finished with four.
“The bottom line is we played against one of the best teams in the nation tonight and we fought them as hard as we could,” Stanford coach David Shaw said. “We tried to stay close and we got within a score in the second half. We had to play a near-perfect second half and we didn’t do that.”
The Cardinal had allowed opponents an average of just 250.6 yards a game. Opponents were only averaging 12.5 points. Oregon had 525 yards in total offense.
The Ducks efficiently marched down the field on their first series, scoring on Mariota’s 6-yard scoring pass to true freshman Charles Nelson. Stanford narrowed it on its opening possession with Jordan Williamson’s 47-yard field goal.
Mariota faked a handoff and instead ran untouched for 22 yards into the end zone to give the Ducks a 14-3 lead. Stanford countered with Williamson’s 43-yard field goal.
Thomas Tyner, who sat out Oregon’s 59-41 victory over Cal last weekend with an undisclosed injury, muscled his way into the end zone for a 1-yard scoring run to make it 21-6.
After Aidan Schneider kicked a 40-yard field goal for the Ducks, Stanford’s Patrick Skov got into the end zone on a 1-yard touchdown run to make it 24-13 at halftime.
Tyner got into the end zone again, this one with a spin move to elude defenders on a 21-yard scoring run to close out the third quarter. Mariota added a 7-yard keeper early in the fourth after Oregon recovered a Hogan fumble forced by Dargan, then found Darren Carrington with a 25-yard scoring pass to make it 45-16.
“We ran into a buzz saw today,” Shaw said.
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