By Anne M. Peterson
The Associated Press
EUGENE, Ore. — Second-ranked Oregon and sixth-ranked Stanford get a break next weekend before a Thursday night clash in Palo Alto, Calif., that qualifies as one of the biggest games of the season.
But it sounds as if neither team will be doing a lot of resting.
“We’re hungry for that game,” Oregon linebacker Boseko Lokombo said.
The Ducks (8-0, 5-0 Pac-12) are coming off a 42-14 victory Saturday night over UCLA. The Bruins played tough in the first half, tying the game at 14 at the break, but Oregon pulled away with 28 unanswered points in the second half for the win.
Byron Marshall ran for 133 yards and three touchdowns and the Ducks racked up 555 yards in total offense while holding UCLA (5-2, 2-2) to 283 — the fewest for an Oregon opponent this season.
Oregon remained at No. 2 in the AP Top 25 released Sunday behind top-ranked Alabama. The Bruins fell from No. 12 to 17 following the loss.
“We’re going to use this week to get healthier, to get better, to improve and get a bunch of work for our young guys,” said coach Mark Helfrich, who became the first coach in Oregon history to win his first eight games.
Stanford (7-1, 5-1) popped up to No. 6 in the AP rankings, boosted by a physical 20-12 victory over Oregon State in Corvallis on Saturday night. The Cardinal defense held off a late comeback attempt by the Beavers and neither team was able to top 300 yards of offense.
The Beavers (6-2, 4-1) trailed 20-9 with less than 4 minutes remaining and nearly forced overtime. Down by eight, Oregon State drove to the Stanford 7 with 30 seconds remaining, but four consecutive incompletions stopped the rally and ended the Beavers’ six-game winning streak.
Afterward, coach David Shaw had already moved on to the Ducks, suggesting the Cardinal will have a busy bye.
“I’m already done thinking about Oregon State and the effort tonight, but it wasn’t good enough to beat Oregon or good enough to be in the game against Oregon,” Shaw said. “So, we have a bunch of stuff that we need to make sure we do in the next 12 to 14 days to play one of the best teams in the nation.”
Stanford remains a game back of the Ducks in the Pac-12 North standings after a 27-21 upset loss at Utah on Oct. 12.
Last season the Cardinal were ranked No. 14 when they came to Autzen Stadium and knocked off the top-ranked Ducks 17-14 in overtime. Jordan Williamson connected on a 37-yard field goal for the win.
Stanford quarterback Kevin Hogan threw for 211 yards and a game-tying fourth-quarter touchdown.
Marcus Mariota threw for 207 yards and a touchdown, and ran for 89 yards for Oregon.
The loss snapped a 13-game winning streak for the Ducks and all but derailed their shot at the BCS championship game. Stanford went on to claim the Pac-12 North and beat UCLA in the conference title game before defeating Wisconsin 20-14 in the Rose Bowl.
It was the season’s lone loss for the Ducks, who went on to beat Kansas State 35-17 in the Fiesta Bowl.
“It’s definitely a new year and they’re a different team,” said Oregon cornerback Avery Patterson, who had a momentum-shifting interception in the second half against the Bruins Saturday night. “It looks like they’re throwing downfield more. They’re different. It will be a different game.”
Said Lokombo: “Obviously we’re aware that they beat us last year, but that’s just going to feed us. That’s just going to motivate us.”