Upon the Pac-10 expanding to become the Pac-12 and adding a conference championship game, Stanford and Oregon combined to win the first five titles. For the first four years, the winner of the annual meeting between the teams went on to claim the crown.
On this day 10 years ago, the programs met in Eugene in what was an absolute thriller. A late touchdown and a field goal in overtime was ultimately the difference as Stanford stunned Oregon, 17-14.
Setting the Stage
Oregon was ranked No. 1 in the AP Poll and No. 2 in the BCS standings as it arrived at Autzen Stadium on Nov. 17, 2012. One of the highest scoring teams in the country, the Ducks averaged close to 50 points per game for the season. At 10-0, Oregon had not played a game decided by fewer than 11 points.
Ranked No. 13 in the BCS and No. 14 in the AP Poll, Stanford was no stranger to close games. After a 3-2 start, the Cardinal had won four straight games, including a 27-23 contest over a top-15 Oregon State team the week before.
Stanford Finds a Way
Stanford found a way to hold a high-flying Oregon offense to just 14 points, but as the clock ticked under two minutes, it was behind 14-7. Facing 4th-and-1 from the Oregon 12-yard-line, Ryan Hewit powered for a first down to keep the drive alive for Stanford. One play later, Kevin Hogan found tight end Zach Ertz for the game-tying touchdown with 1:35 left.
As it had all game, the Stanford defense remained stiff. After thwarting a potential game-winning march at the end of regulation, the Cardinal held Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota to two runs for one yard and an incomplete pass to start overtime.
After missing from 42 yards out late in the third quarter, Oregon kicker Alejandro Maldonado’s 41-yard attempt in overtime hit the upright. It was no good. Stanford needed just a field goal to win.
The Cardinal kept the ball on the ground, but dodged a bullet. On a second-down run, quarterback Kevin Hogan fumbled, but the Cardinal were able to recover in the pile. After a second run by Stepfan Taylor, Jordan Williamson ended the game by making a 37-yard field goal.
Stanford claimed victory despite turning the ball over three times. Hogan passed for 211 yards in the win and rushed for the game’s first touchdown. Taylor finished with a game-high 166 yards on the ground.
Mariota finished with 296 yards and a touchdown pass for the Ducks. De’Anthony Thomas scored Oregon’s only rushing touchdown.
Box score and recap:
Stanford followed up the win with consecutive victories over UCLA, including the latter in the Pac-12 Championship. The Cardinal closed the year with a 20-14 win over Wisconsin in the Rose Bowl to finish 12-2 and No. 7 in the AP Poll.
Oregon also won out. The Ducks topped Oregon State before rolling over Kansas State in the Fiesta Bowl, 35-17.
At 12-1, Oregon finished behind only national champion Alabama in the polls. Its lone loss came in overtime and on this day a decade ago.
Featured image courtesy of Stanford photo
Mike Ferguson is the managing editor for Fifth Quarter. Be sure to follow Mike on Twitter at @MikeWFerguson. Follow all of Mike’s work by liking his Facebook page.