STANFORD, Calif. -- Instant analysis from Oregon's 53-30 win over Stanford.
How the game was won: Oregon was just better. Better on offense. Better on defense. Stanford’s tight ends couldn’t hold on to the ball. Andrew Luck looked tight and never got into a rhythm. And Oregon capitalized on the big play -- scoring touchdowns of 58, 41 and 59 yards. The five Stanford turnovers didn't help either.
Turning point: Luck was sacked for the second time in the third quarter and fumbled deep in his own territory. LaMichael James scored on a fourth-and-2 a few plays later and the Ducks went up 36-16. It was too big of a deficit for the Cardinal to overcome.
Player of the game: James was the best player on the field -- on either side of the ball. Whether he was running inside the tackles our bouncing to the outside, he was too fast and elusive for Stanford's defenders. He finished with 146 yards and three touchdowns on 20 carries.
Unsung hero of the game: Not often that we refer to Oregon quarterback Darron Thomas as an “unsung” hero, but he was quietly efficient with three touchdown passes. James stole the show, but Thomas quietly orchestrated an Oregon offense that Stanford could not stop.
What it means: Stanford’s national championship aspirations have expired. Oregon’s, however, seem to have been resuscitated. For Luck, his Heisman campaign suffers its first serious setback of the year. He threw two interceptions and fumbled. He looked sharp at times, average at others, and below average others. James, on the other hand, gave his Heisman hopes a nice shot in the arm.