STANFORD

  • Result: Won at Oregon 17-14 (OT)

  • Grade: A+

  • Comment: The signature victory of David Shaw's young career. He's now 4-2 against USC, Notre Dame and Oregon, if you're scoring at home.

  • A masterful game plan by defensive coordinator Derek Mason (and that might be an understatement).

    The Cardinal seemed to know what was coming every play, a feat unto itself against the Quack Attack.

    It was disciplined with assignments and sure-handed with its tackling -- two fundamental aspects of the game that are so difficult to execute against the Ducks.

  • The perimeter (DEs, OLBs) contained Mariota and Shayne Skov wasn't half bad up the middle: 10 tackles, seven solo, and a reminder of just how much Stanford missed him last season against the Ducks.

  • Stat of the game: Oregon was 4 of 17 on third down.

    (That's partly because Stanford was so good on second down: Timer and time again, it stuffed Kenjon Barner on second-and-six/seven/eight.)

  • Gaffe of the game: De'Anthony Thomas' inexplicable failure to block Stanford safety Devon Carrington on Mariota's long first-quarter run.

    It was a terrific hustle play by Carrington, who pushed Mariota out of bounds on the 15. (Stanford DBs of years gone by wouldn't have been able to chase him down.)


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    But let's be honest: All Thomas had to do as put a body -- heck, put half a body -- on Carrington, and Mariota would have scored.

    It ended up costing the Ducks a touchdown that they could have used.

  • Tight end Zach Ertz was fabulous, with 11 receptions (44 percent of Stanford's total) for 106 yards (50.2 percent of Stanford's total) and the game-tying touchdown with 1:35 left.

    More than anything, Ertz's presence (and sure hands) provided a comfort zone for freshman quarterback Kevin Hogan. Without Ertz, Hogan -- and Stanford -- would have been lost offensively.

  • Next up: at UCLA

  • The matchup: Difficult.

    The Bruins have one of the most potent offenses in the conference.

    It's a variant of Oregon's spread option, with more downfield passing and a different style of runner: Johnathan Franklin is more power -- and has a lower center of gravity -- than Oregon's Barner.

  • UCLA's defense is hardly stout (25 ppg allowed). But it's fast and well-stocked with playmakers, including linebacker Anthony Barr, who just might be the Pac-12 defensive player of the year.

  • I'm most intrigued by the psychological challenge both teams are facing following emotional victories.

    Stanford is usually even keeled -- it's a savvy, mature group -- but the victory in Eugene was different (i.e., bigger, more emotional) than any it has recorded the past three seasons.

  • The Bruins are in the same position after taking down archrival USC, although I have to think that Senior Day will help them get focused.

  • UCLA opened as a 1.5-point favorite, but the line has swung: Stanford's now a slight favorite.