Tyler Gaffney, Oregon at Stanford

The high-flying Oregon Ducks landed with a thud in Palo Alto as they faced off against their PAC-12 rival, the Stanford Cardinal. Just as it did last year, Stanford used tough defense and a grind-it-out offense to ground the Ducks and ruin their chances of a National Championship. For Oregon, it was a heartbreaking loss — the Ducks only had the ball for 17:26 while the Cardinal bled the play clock on every snap playing “keep away” to the tune of 42:34 minutes of possession. Heisman candidate Marcus Mariota was unsettled for the entire game and Stanford took a 26-0 lead, then held on as Oregon made a comeback, but fell short and lost 26-20.

At the nexus of the Cardinal offense was senior tailback Tyler Gaffney, who toted the rock an incredible 45 times for 157 yards and a touchdown. As a team, Stanford had 66 rushing plays for 266 yards. And when the offense got into trouble, QB Kevin Hogan bailed them out with timely completions on third down or quick scrambles to keep drives alive. Oregon could not generate any rhythm or momentum during the brief times they had the ball and now will have to wait another year to try and make it to college football’s ultimate contest.

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