Football predictions: Stanford vs. Oregon

No. 5 Stanford (7-1, 5-1 Pac-12) vs. No. 3 Oregon (8-0, 5-0)

(NATALIE CHENG/The Stanford Daily)

(NATALIE CHENG/The Stanford Daily)

George Chen: Stanford 17, Oregon 35

I just don’t see Stanford beating Oregon today. Yes, the Cardinal defense took big steps by returning to its dominant 2012 form in its last two games, but the offense has taken just as many steps backwards. Ty Montgomery should prove to be a good challenge for the elite Ducks secondary, but name one other player that provides matchup problems for the Ducks defense. Montgomery alone won’t be enough to prevent the Ducks from keying on stopping the Cardinal’s running game. Expect Stanford’s defense to hold Oregon to 14 points in the first half, but a couple Cardinal turnovers after halftime will allow the Ducks to pull away. Marcus Mariota is too good, and I just have this feeling that this is Oregon’s year. After being thwarted by the Cardinal last season, the Ducks won’t let their national title hopes slip away again.

Sam Fisher: Stanford 31, Oregon 28

When I first sat down to write this pick, I took the Ducks by 11. Stanford’s offense just hasn’t looked good enough to beat the Ducks over the past few weeks, and fifth-year senior defensive end Ben Gardner’s injury is going to be very hard to overcome. But then I watched highlights from Stanford’s win at Autzen last season. So many of the key players from that victory will be on the field tonight, including Shayne Skov, A.J. Tarpley, Henry Anderson, Trent Murphy and Kevin Hogan. It’s going to be extremely difficult to replace the production Zach Ertz ‘13 provided in last year’s win, but I have a funny feeling someone is going to step up. In a game eerily reminiscent of 2012, but with a little more scoring, Stanford wins on a late field goal and shocks the nation again.

Vihan Lakshman: Stanford 24, Oregon 28:

My heart says Stanford, but my gut says to go with the Ducks. Despite the defense playing a nearly perfect game last year in Autzen Stadium, the Cardinal still needed a few huge strokes of good fortune to pull out the win. This time around, I don’t expect the football gods to grant the Card as many fortuitous bounces. While I believe the Stanford offense will start off with a bang and take an early lead as it opens up the full playbook, this game will come down to Kevin Hogan being able to convert on third-and-long to keep Mariota and company off the field; Ifo Ekpre-Olomu and the rest of the Ducks’ secondary, however, will not allow that to happen. Stanford will lose on a late Oregon touchdown in a game that will live up to its billing as one of the best of the year.

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  • hokieduck

    Oregon by 3 TDs.

    Last year it took Stanford playing a perfect game (and yes it was a thing of beauty) to hold off a Duck squad who was not mentally ready for the game. Stanford out-everythinged Oregon. Intensity, focus, execution. All Stanford. The same will not occur tonight.

    I love your teams. Smart kids with great athleticism. Love it. But this Oregon team is very special. Finally, the recruiting is catching up to the coaching and no longer is the defense a porous screen. The Ducks D gets panned nationally because the casual fan (and media guy) does not watch the games much; they look at the stats. The total defense stats of Oregon are weak because of the TOP differential. Of course, the total D stats will be paltry when the D is playing 12 more minutes than other defenses. The per play averages present an entirely different picture, however. Oregon’s defense is solid. It should make for a good test tonight against one of the greatest O lines in all of football.

    Good luck, Cardinal. No injuries to either team. Go Ducks. WTD.

  • Ralph

    You are the first Oregon writer that I have seen to acknowledge that Stanford actually played an exceptional game last year, though you too insist that Oregon was “not mentally ready.” Last year both defenses prevailed, and our best hope is that happens again.
    I read this on VegasInsider.com, and thought it states the issue realy well: “The question of this game is
    whether Stanford can somehow slow this game down and stop Oregon. If this turns
    out to be a high scoring game the Cardinal likely won’t be able to keep up. This
    will be the best run defense that Oregon has faced as Stanford allows just 104
    yards per game on the ground on just 3.3 yards per carry. Stanford has also
    proven impressive against passing teams in holding Arizona State to just 28
    points and Oregon State to just 12 points. Oregon scored 42, 52, and 53 in the
    three prior meetings against Stanford before last season and we’ll find out if
    last year’s game was a one game success for the Cardinal or if this is the team
    that can give the Ducks problems.”

  • dunkonyerhed

    The fact is that Oregon is much more multi dimensional on offense this year, are far superior in 2 of the 3 areas of defense (line, secondary) than they were last year, are not dinged up nearly as much as they were last year and have a huge motivation to win. Oregon’s D is actually ranked ahead of the Cardinal and the offense isn’t close. Stanford is also missing their defensive leader as well as several of their top play makers from last year.

    All respect to Stanford, but I just don’t see them hanging with the Ducks this year. Oregon wins by at least 2 TDs.

  • hokieduck

    Hey Ralph. Happened to be online when your disqus hit came through. Stanford played a great game. Tackled in space, made Mariota hesitate, no errors. They played the perfect game.

    Your Vegas Insider states it pretty well. If it is a slugfest, Stanford has a better chance of upsetting the Ducks, although this year’s Duck defensive front is not starting three true freshmen and the secondary hasn’t lost the top two players like last year due to injuries. If anything, Stanford is the team who is snakebit by injuries this year. I know that Henry Anderson is back but (a) will his knee hold up to game torque, and (b) will his conditioning after a 7 week hiatus from playing be enough to allow his athleticism to even be a factor?

    Can’t wait for 6pm. Good luck. No injuries. GDWTD.

  • hokieduck

    Hey dunk. I think three TDs; I just don’t see Stanford’s battered D being able to put fingers in the the dam everywhere that will be necessary (3 explosive RBs, 2 game changing WRs, a young but excellent TE and finally MM by arm or by leg).

    Can you believe it takes two Ducks fans to even make the comment section look remotely respectable on game day in Palo Alto? I know this school is all about the cerebrum, but you would think they would appreciate the cerebellum just a little on one of the greatest days of college football this year.

  • JEARBEAR

    I see Stanford shutting out the Ducks easily…. nobody has been paying attention this season

  • hokieduck

    Your Cardinal are playing a perfect game. Props. This is me eating crow.

  • JEARBEAR

    I’m a SEC fan from Alabama but I love watching PAC 12 and Big 10…. some games are fantastic :)

  • hokieduck

    Marcus Mariota has an MCL partial tear apparently. No injury reports let out but he has been hampered the last few weeks and he is non existent tonight. Without his ability to zone read and take off, the Ducks are gutted.

    But Stanford has looked fabulous tonight. No penalties and tough as nails. Smart kids. Playing sports. Love it.

  • JEARBEAR

    I agree… Mariota is the backbone… wish he was at 100% :(

  • ESPNsucks

    Run it up ducks! Oh shit wrong team.

  • hokieduck

    CArdinal playing a perfect game. This is me eating crow. Gulp.