Friday, November 11, 2011
Did you know: Stanford vs. Oregon
By Kevin Gemmell
Some fun facts about Saturday's matchup between Stanford and Oregon.
Revenge will be on the minds of Stanford this week. The Ducks gave the Cardinal their only loss last season, a 52-31 walloping in Eugene. But since then, Stanford hasn't lost, winning 17 consecutive games, the longest active streak in FBS. The Ducks come in with an impressive eight-game win streak of their own since their only loss of the season to current top-ranked LSU in the opener.
Stanford can clinch the Pac-12 North with a victory in this game. The Cardinal have only one conference game remaining after this week (Nov. 19 against Cal) and finish the season Nov. 26 at home against Notre Dame. Stanford hasn’t won a conference championship since 1999.
With a victory, Oregon puts itself in the driver’s seat in the Pac-12 North and a third consecutive outright Pac-12 title is well within reach. How impressive would that be? USC (three times) is the only other school since the conference formed in 1959 to win three outright conference crowns in a row.
After a steady but unspectacular game against Oregon State last week, Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck has a chance to shine in the national spotlight Saturday night. Last year, Luck threw for a season-high 341 yards against Oregon, but was also picked off twice (tying his season high). Since that game, he has 45 touchdowns and only nine interceptions, and hasn't been picked off more than once in any game.
David Shaw is not a household name yet, but if the Stanford coach keeps winning, he will be. Shaw has started his college coaching career winning nine straight games.
Stanford will be without wide receiver Chris Owusu, second on the team in receptions with 35, due to a concussion suffered last week at Oregon State. Freshman Ty Montgomery will start in place of Owusu. He has seven career receptions, five of them coming against USC two weeks ago.
Oregon has owned the series of late, winning eight of the past nine meetings, but Stanford won the last meeting at home (51-42 in 2009).
Oregon has won 18 consecutive conference games, the second-longest active streak in the nation to TCU's 21. Stanford owns the third-longest streak at 14 games. The Ducks are 6-0 in conference play this year, the second year in a row they’ve done so and the third time since 2000. Prior to 2000, the Ducks hadn't been 6-0 to start a conference season since 1948 (7-0).
Unlike last week's LSU-Alabama defensive struggle, this game could be on the opposite end of the spectrum. Both teams rank in the top five in scoring offense and top 10 in total offense.
No team has been better than Stanford in the red zone this season. The Cardinal are a perfect 52-of-52 in the red zone, and 41 of those scores have been touchdowns. LSU has the second-best red zone percentage (41-of-42, 97.6 percent).
Stanford has been solid on the defensive side of the red zone issue as well. In fact, something will have to give in this game between Oregon’s fast-paced offense and Stanford’s stingy defense.
Oregon quarterback Darron Thomas has thrown at least one touchdown pass in 21 consecutive games.
With a win, Stanford will have the first back-to-back 10-win seasons in school history. Entering last season, Stanford had only three 10-win seasons ever. Stanford is 21-1 since the start of last season.
Stanford has scored at least 37 points in every game this season, while Oregon has scored at least 34 in every game except the loss to LSU (27).
Luck has 71 career touchdown passes and continues to move up the school charts. He’s currently six behind John Elway’s record and one behind Steve Stenstrom for second.