Oregon must regroup for second time this season

November, 7, 2009
11/07/09
11:11
PM ET
Posted by ESPN.com's Ted Miller

STANFORD, Calif. -- A week after being nearly perfect, Oregon crashed back to earth at Stanford.
 
 Kyle Terada/US Presswire
 Ducks coach Chip Kelly will have to rally his team after a tough loss.

At least the Ducks already know they can bounce back. Their 51-42 loss to the Cardinal probably won't feel nearly as stunning as the season-opening defeat at Boise State did, particularly without any notable post-game complications.

"The guys' reaction in the locker room is we've been here before," tight end Ed Dickson said. "It all starts with practice on Monday. We've got to win the day. And we didn't win today."

That's for sure. Stanford led by 17 points at halftime and pushed its lead to 20 points in the fourth quarter before the Ducks made a last, desperate and abortive rally.

While a team loses as a team, Dickson and all the other Ducks know what went wrong against the Cardinal.

"We can't allow them to score on every single drive," he said.

The Oregon offense wasn't nearly its finely tuned self for much of the game, at least not the version that piled up 613 yards and looked unstoppable against USC. But it did end up scoring 42 points and rolling up 570 yards.

The problem was Stanford had 505 of its own, and it was evenly spread throughout the game, as well as between running back Toby Gerhart (223 yards rushing, three touchdowns) and quarterback Andrew Luck (251 yards, two TDs).

"We had a real hard time stopping them," Ducks coach Chip Kelly said.

The Ducks entered the game ranked 20th in the nation in total defense (301 yards per game) and 19th in scoring defense (17.13). They had surrendered just 58 points in their first five Pac-10 games.

Gerhart and Luck didn't seem impressed. If the Ducks ganged up to stop Gerhart, Luck beat them downfield. If they dropped into coverage, Gerhart bowled them over.

Stanford also seemed to consistently get the upper hand at the line of scrimmage, and defensive tackle Brandon Bair said the Cardinal confused them with formations that gave them extra blockers at the point of attack.

"It was something we needed to adjust to and it took us too long to do it," he said. "We didn't give it the attention we should have."

As for why the Ducks failed to pressure Luck?

"We needed to keep guys back in coverage and we didn't have a chance to get as much blitzes as we normally wanted," Bair said.

The Ducks were sloppy at times on both sides of the ball, despite not committing any turnovers. They were flagged for nine penalties for 89 yards -- a number of which came at inconvenient times -- and dropped a handful of passes.

Kelly took note of those, but he wouldn't blame them on a hangover from the USC victory.

"We got beat by a better team," he said. "If you say we were looking behind or ahead, it takes away from Stanford. Stanford is a heck of a football team."

Oregon (7-2, 5-1) and Arizona (6-2, 4-1) are the only Pac-10 teams that control their own destiny. They play in Tucson on Nov. 21.

Thus Kelly's message in his locker room after the game

"The same thing I told them after the Boise game: One game doesn't define you," he said.

The Ducks will start their second push for redemption Saturday at home against Arizona State.video

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