Punchless Cardinal falls at home to Oregon, 21-6

September 24, 2019

By Matthew E. Milliken
Sept. 24, 2019

A fierce defensive effort came to nought Saturday evening as the Stanford football team fell at home to Oregon, 21-6, giving the Cardinal its first three-game losing winning streak under head coach David Shaw.

After surrendering back-to-back 45-point games, the Cardinal defense held the prolific Ducks offense to just three touchdowns while receiving virtually zero scoring or special-teams support. While Oregon senior quarterback Justin Herbert was magnificent, completing 19 of 24 passes for 259 yards and three touchdowns, the Stanford defense recorded four sacks and seven tackles-for-loss in limiting the Ducks to 61 yards on 31 carries.

Stanford (1-3, 0-2 Pac-12) drove 61 yards on 12 plays on its opening drive but had to settle for a 32-yard Jet Toner field goal after gaining first down at the Ducks 17-yard line.

Following an exchange of punts, Oregon (3-1, 1-0) needed just two snaps to get on the board. Herbert connected with junior receiver Jaylon Redd for a 36-yard touchdown with 4:13 remaining in the first quarter.

Neither team was able to generate additional points until Oregon mounted a second-quarter series that covered 80 yards on 10 plays. Herbert completed five of six pass attempts for 76 yards; the capper came on a 16-yarder to senior tight end Jacob Breeland with 5:58 on the clock.

The squads played to a stalemate in the third quarter, but Oregon would seal the game with a sequence early in the final period. On third and 10, senior linebacker Bryson Young deflected a throw by senior quarterback K.J. Costello that was intercepted by sophomore safety Jevon Holland. Costello finished the night 16 for 30 for a woeful 120 yards.

The Ducks, starting at midfield, lost two yards on their initial play, a rush by sophomore C.J. Verdell (24 carries, 82 yards). Herbert then completed two throws to redshirt freshman wideout Bryan Addison for a total of 16 yards, one to Redd for 12 yards and a 24-yard touchdown to Breeland.

There were still 10 minutes and 40 seconds to play, but given the ineffective play by Stanford’s offense, the home team seemed to be staring up from the bottom of a deep, dark hole.

Even so, the Cardinal jerseys managed to spark a bit of hope in the fan base in the aftermath of Oregon’s third touchdown. Two plays after junior receiver Connor Wedington returned the kickoff 40 yards, sophomore receiver Michael Wilson recorded a 14-yard reception. After Costello was sacked for a three-yard loss on third and 13, Toner nailed a 38-yarder to cut the deficit to 21-6. (Stanford converted just five of 16 third downs on the night.)

A weak Toner kickoff enabled Oregon to start at midfield. When Herbert was unable to connect with Breeland on third and two at the home 9, freshman kicker Camden Lewis whiffed on a 27-yard field-goal try after his holder double-pumped while setting the ball on the ground.

Stanford had used all three of its timeouts during that fruitless Oregon possession, giving the team about five and a half minutes to score 15 points.

But the offense, which is averaging two touchdowns per contest, once again failed to rise to the occasion. Costello threw incomplete on fourth down to conclude a five-play series that gained 21 yards. The Cardinal got the ball back with 80 seconds remaining but went backwards. Perhaps fittingly, the game ended on a six-yard sack of Costello.

The Cardinal will now head to Corvallis, Ore., to take on a 1-2 Oregon State team. This has long been considered one of the weak spots on Stanford’s daunting schedule, but if Shaw’s offense plays as ineffectively as it did against the Ducks, a painful September will likely only get worse.

Helpful links

Oregon-Stanford team statistics — ESPN
Oregon-Stanford box score
Oregon-Stanford play-by-play
Oregon-Stanford interactive box score — GoStanford.com
Oregon-Stanford statistics (PDF) — GoStanford.com
Stanford 2019–20 football roster
Oregon 2019–20 football roster
Game (and some other) tweets — @memomoment

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