Coming into Week 11, Stanford had two chances to clinch the Pac-12 North and a spot in the conference championship game. Exiting it, they’re down to one chance — and, in all likelihood, none when it comes to the playoffs.
In a back and forth affair that featured seven lead changes, Oregon took a 12-point lead late in the third and held on in the fourth for a 38-36 win. Following a Kevin Hogan touchdown pass with :10 remaining in the fourth, the Cardinal had a chance to tie the game and send it into overtime, but the two-point conversion failed.
The Cardinal outgained the Ducks 506-438, with Heisman candidate Christian McCaffrey accounting for 244 all-purpose yards — 147 rushing, 42 receiving, 60 on kick returns and minus-five on a punt return. Hogan threw for 304 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
Vernon Adams Jr., who is finally healthy after struggling with an injury in the first half of the season, attempted just 12 passes — he completed 10 — but still passed for 205 yards and two touchdowns. The Ducks also averaged 6.7 yards per carry and scored three touchdowns on the ground against a stiff Cardinal defense.
Stanford can still win the Pac-12 North by dumping Cal in the Big Game next weekend. However, if Stanford loses, and Oregon can beat USC and Oregon State — both in Eugene — the next two weeks, the Ducks would represent the North in the Pac-12 championship game the first weekend of December.
Just as importantly, the second loss of the season effectively knocks the Cardinal out of contention for a spot in the College Football Playoff. As such, 8-1 Utah, No. 10 in the most recent rankings, is seemingly the Pac-12’s lone hope for a seat at the playoff table as every other Pac-12 team aside from Stanford has at least three losses
In another foreboding development, Utah currently trails Arizona 17-7 midway through the second quarter.