History never technically repeats itself. Results can be similar, but every scenario is different.
While the Oregon Ducks had their season ruined by the Stanford Cardinal the last two years, those were merely opportunities to learn and become better this season.
The Ducks have taken what they’ve learned and finally converted it into a positive outcome…at least through two quarters of play. The No. 5 Ducks hold a 24-13 lead over Stanford at halftime.
This game is particularly important for Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota.
The redshirt junior already has 214 yards of total offense. Mariota is 11-of-20 passing for 132 yards and a touchdown. He is also the game’s leading rusher with 78 yards on the ground.
While Mariota excelled, it was the overall play of the offense which looked much improved against a stingy Stanford defense. After the Cardinal exploited Oregon’s spread offense the last two years, Mark Helfrich‘s offense already managed 312 total yards.
Stanford, meanwhile, hasn’t been able to gain much on the ground. The Cardinal’s vaunted rushing attack produced only 43 yards. Quarterback Kevin Hogan was able to find some holes in Oregon’s secondary with 171 passing yards.
But Stanford can’t trade field goals for touchdowns. The Cardinal was able to move the ball but only came up with six points during the initial two drives. The offensive finally found the end zone with 1:01 remaining before the half courtesy of a one-yard touchdown plunge from Patrick Skov.
The Ducks can’t let up in the second half. This is a statement game for the program and Mariota. If the offense becomes stagnant, it will allow Stanford to crawl back into the game. If the Ducks allow that to happen, their dreams of a berth in the College Football Playoff will go up in smoke.