Anybody following college football close enough — that would be y’all — knows that teams contending for a BCS championship this late in the season are going to get every opponent’s best shot. It just so happens there were two knockout punches tonight.
No. 2 Kansas State got throttled by Baylor earlier this evening 52-24. Not long after, No. 14 Stanford shocked No. 1 Oregon 17-14 in overtime. Oregon kicker Alejandro Maldonado missed a 41-yard field goal (his second miss of the night) before Jordan Williamson nailed a 37-yarder to give the Cardinal the win.
But it wasn’t just that the Ducks lost, it’s that Stanford’s defense was able to contain the likes of Marcus Mariota, Kenjon Barner and De’Anthony Thomas for an entire game. Even more impressive is that Stanford actually lost the turnover battle three to one. One of the most dangerous things about the Ducks is that they make opponents pay for their mistakes.
Not tonight. Oregon only got one touchdown off a turnover — and that was a turnover on downs. In fact, on Stanford’s three real turnovers, the Ducks threw an interception, missed a field goal and punted. In all, Oregon got just 11 plays for 26 yards off those turnovers. Stanford’s defense, which had been torched in the second half the past two seasons against UO, held strong the entire game, even when it was put in tough spots.
But Stanford’s defense was best at harassing Mariota, who was under duress the entire night.
Also impressive was Cardinal quarterback Kevin Hogan, who made is road debut as a starter. He threw for 211 yards, a touchdown and an interception. He’ll need to have another big game next on the road against UCLA. The Bruins knocked off USC earlier this afternoon and secured their spot in the Pac-12 championship game. Depending on what happens next week between the Bruins and the Cardinal, the Pac-12 championship game could be a rematch. Stanford is tied with Oregon at 7-1 in the conference and needs a win over UCLA and/or a loss by Oregon to Oregon State. to secure a Pac-12 North title.
But what does Stanford’s win tonight mean on the national scale? We take you live to Chip Diller, CFT’s BCS analyst.