Common Opponents - Stanford
Wednesday, December 2, 8:00 a.m. PST
In the eight days leading up to the Civil War, Duck Feed is serving up a comparison of how the Ducks and Beavers have fared against their eight common opponents this season. We've discussed WSU, Washington, Arizona State, UCLA, Arizona, California and USC - and we finish with Stanford.
Oregon State faced the Cardinal on Oct. 10, dealing Stanford its first Pac-10 loss of the season, 38-28, in Corvallis. The Ducks could not avoid the curse of beating USC - a fate which caused all three teams that won against the Trojans this year to fall the following week - losing in a shootout at Stanford, 51-42, on Nov. 7.
How it Went Down
OSU jumped out to a 21-0 lead on three Jacquizz Rodgers touchdown runs and by the time the Cardinal figured out what hit them, it was too late to recover. All told, the Rodgers brothers (James had one), accounted for all five Beaver TDs.
In a reverse script of the Oregon State/Stanford clash, the Cardinal jumped out to a big first-half lead and Oregon's comeback attempt came up short. Trailing by 20 in the fourth quarter, the Ducks cut the deficit to 48-42 with 2:38 to play, but were unable to execute a successful onside kick.
The game's opening play from scrimmage may have been a 14-point swing as Chris Owusu dropped what some observsers believed to be a sure touchdown pass. From there, things went downhill fast and OSU led 21-zip before Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck had recorded his first completion.
In the Oregon game, it's hard to pick out only one of Toby Gerhart's big runs, but let's go with his 17-yard touchdown run in the third quarter to put Stanford up 45-28. Almost every one of Oregon's defenders made contact with big No. 7 on his way to the goal line, but no one could impede his progress. I asked defensive coordinator Nick Aliotti if there is a way to stop Gerhart and his response was "use 12 men."
Quizz Rodgers had his best game of the year, rushing 33 times for a career-high 189 yards and four scores. He also had 82 receiving yards on five catches. Sean Canfield was a pinpoint 22-of-32 for 290 yards.
Jeremiah Masoli totaled 389 yards of offense (334 passing, 55 rushing) and four touchdowns (3 passing, 1 rushing). LaMichael James ran 18 times for 125 yards and a TD, and had career highs of four catches and 89 yards.
Both OSU and UO had 24 first downs. The Beavers out-gained the Cardinal by 88 yards (463-375) and the Ducks did so by 65 (570-505).
Oregon State held a +8:44 margin in time of possession. The Ducks margin against the Cardinal was -15:26. OSU had six Red Zone chances, Oregon two.
All three of these teams can score points and there is a reason why they represent the top three spots in the Pac-10 going into the season's final week.
What we learned from this eight-day exercise
That Oregon can run the ball on anyone and Oregon State can pass the ball on anyone. Both teams consistently put points on the board and when their defenses come to play they win.
What surprised me the most combing through each game was how important the play of Canfield has been to OSU's success. A season ago, Quizz Rodgers was the hands down MVP of the team, but this year I'd argue Canfield has been most responsible for the Beavers' return trip to a Rose Bowl qualifier. The Rodgers brothers get the headline ink, but it's Canfield that puts the ball in their hands to make plays.
His counterpart, Masoli, was equally important to his team and is the only other logical choice for all-conference honors at the position. The man who leads his team to victory in the Civil War for the roses will deserve any and all accolades he receives.