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It started with an inspirational performance from Stanford and ended like everyone thought it would — with a 35-14 blowout win for Oregon.
The No. 12 Ducks were facing a Cardinal team that was without starting quarterback David Mills and wide receiver Connor Wedington due to COVID-19 testing and contract tracing. But playing with guts and pride, the Cardinal trailed just 14-7 at halftime.
That had to be scary for anyone who put some dough on Oregon, a 9.5-point favorite.
Then came the third quarter, and everything returned to normal.
New starting QB Tyler Shough and the Ducks offense suddenly took off, with Shough doing most of the damage via foot. Those are some big feet, too. The redshirt-sophomore stands 6-foot-5 and weighs in at 221 pounds, making him a tough man to bring down.
He rushed for 39 yards in the third quarter, putting a stamp on that number with a nine-yard touchdown run. His 85 rushing yards for the game (on 11 carries) were the most by a first-time Oregon starting QB in five years.
Shough also passed for 227 yards (17-of-26, one TD, one interception), helping make Ducks fans feel a little better about the loss of 2020 Rose Bowl MVP Justin Herbert, now of the Los Angeles Chargers.
Still, Shough’s most impressive feat came with his feet, when he scrambled 15 yards to to the Stanford 22. Two plays later he scored, Oregon led 28-7, and this particular PAC-12 opener was pretty much history.
Of course, anyone who knows Oregon football knows the ground game is where it’s at, and the running backs also stayed true to the cause. CJ Vardell rushed 20 times for 105 yards and a score, and Travis Dye added 78 yards and a TD on six carries.
Austin Jones rushed for 100 yards and both touchdowns for Stanford, which was forced into a QB-by-committee situation on short notice. Jack West (13-of-19, 154 yards) and Tanner McKee (3-of-7, 62 yards) did an admirable job of filling in for Mills.