Huskies Win! Failed Fourth-Down Gambles Lead to Loss for Ducks


Seattle, WA – In a highly anticipated matchup, the Oregon Ducks faced off against their long-time rivals, the Washington Huskies, in what was the final game for both teams within the Pac-12 Conference. The game was a rollercoaster of emotions for both teams and their passionate fan bases. Despite having several opportunities to put points on the board, the Ducks' decision to go for it on fourth down not once, but twice, ultimately proved costly. These gambles left the team and its supporters in shock as they watched a hard-fought game slip away.

The game started with high expectations for the Ducks, who entered the contest as underdogs by 3.5 points. They displayed flashes of brilliance, with their dynamic offense showcasing their talents, and they demonstrated strong offensive line strength and a powerful running game led by Bucky Irving and Jordan James. However, what looked like a promising day quickly turned into a nail-biting affair. The Ducks found themselves in crucial fourth-down situations, and it's the decisions they made in those moments that will be dissected and analyzed for days, weeks, and months to come.

The Huskies opened strong with a 26-yard touchdown pass from Michael Penix, Jr. to Giles Jackson. The extra point by Grady Gross would make it 7-0 Huskies. Oregon would follow with a rushing TD by Irving from 12 yards out. Rather than tie the game at 7, the Ducks chose to go for 2 and converted, going up 8-7, after tight end Patrick Herbert ran the ball in.

The game would go back and forth from there until Oregon, down 18-22 with under a minute remaining in the first half, put together a brilliant drive all the way down to the Washington 3-yard line. However, rather than kick a field goal, take 3 points, and make the score 21-22 at the half, the Ducks tried to go for it on fourth down and failed.

Washington would extend their lead in the third quarter, making the score 29-18. Oregon would march back strong, but once again face a fourth down in the red zone. This time at the Washington 8-yard line, the Ducks would again choose not to kick a field goal for 3 points and would fail to convert.

On the drives that followed, the Ducks defense would stop the Huskies, and the offense would score. They would again go for 2, and they were successful. Washington’s lead was narrowed to 26-29, but Oregon should have been up 32-29 at this point. They would stop the Huskies again on the next drive, and they would score on their own offensive possession. The lead changed, and it was 33-29 Oregon, but it should have been 39-29.

Now late in the fourth quarter, the Huskies needed only one score to regain the lead and win. Oregon should have had a 10-point lead and breathing room. Penix did his job and led the Huskies to a late score despite wincing in pain and reaching for his ribs and abdomen after multiple hits. The score went to 36-33 Washington as the lead changed back to the home team.

At this point, the Ducks were scrambling. They did manage to get downfield. They had a chance once more, but failed to convert for what would have surely been a game-winning touchdown. Instead, they settled for a last-second field goal attempt, one that would have sent the game into overtime. This time, however, the attempt was missed. The game was over. The Huskies won. Final score: 36-33.

Conventional wisdom in football would typically dictate a field goal attempt in situations where a team faces fourth down in the red zone. Unfortunately, Head Coach Dan Lanning, and his Offensive Coordinator, Will Stein, chose to roll the dice and go for it – twice! The Oregon offense, filled with confidence, lined up to execute the plays each time. The result, on both occasions, was heartbreaking for the Ducks.

The loss left the Oregon Ducks and their fans in a state of shock and disappointment. While fourth-down gambles can sometimes be the right call, the decision to forgo field goal attempts in two critical situations cost them the game. Hindsight is often 20/20, and the debate surrounding these decisions will likely linger for a very long time.

This loss serves as a reminder of the fine line between bold and reckless decisions in football. The Ducks showed immense confidence in their ability to convert on fourth down, but it came at the expense of crucial points. As the season continues, they must learn from this experience and strive to make more calculated decisions in critical moments.

In the world of college football, there's always another game, another opportunity for redemption. For the Oregon Ducks, this loss will sting for a long while, but on the field, they must regroup, learn from their mistakes, and come back even stronger. The rivalry with the Washington Huskies remains as intense as ever, and Ducks fans can rest assured that their team will be back, hungrier than ever, in the battles to come.

Next up for the Ducks is a return home to face the Washington State Cougars. That game will be televised on ABC and will begin at 12:30 PM Pacific on October 21. The Huskies, meanwhile, will face the Arizona State Sundevils. That game will be televised on Fox Sports 1, and it will begin at 7:30 PM Pacific on October 21.

Ahsan Awan has been covering sports for nearly two decades, and has been covering NCAA football, including various Pacific-12 Conference member institutions, since 2007. Images taken by Truong Nguyen are ©2023 Truong Nguyen made available to American Presswire subject to unlimited use under license unless otherwise noted. Ahsan Awan can be found on X as @quackarazzi and on Instagram as @quackarazzi. Truong Nguyen can be found on X as @TruongWin and on Instagram as @truongwin_.

Oregon Ducks Soar Past Stanford Cardinal in Dominant Display

Palo Alto, CA – Flashback two weeks - in an always-thrilling clash between teams that have produced many memorable moments over the years, the Oregon Ducks dominated the Stanford Cardinal on September 30, 2023. In what is the final season of Pac-12 Conference play, this victory showcased the unwavering determination and coaching prowess of Ducks Head Coach Dan Lanning, while Stanford Head Coach Troy Taylor found his team facing yet another setback. Last weekend was a bye for both the Ducks and the Cardinal.

Just one week prior to their encounter with the Ducks, the Cardinal had put up an impressive fight against the Arizona Wildcats, narrowly losing by a heartbreaking single point, 21-20. That same Arizona Wildcat team improved enough to take USC all the way to triple overtime at the Los Angeles Coliseum last weekend. Unfortunately, they lost that game 43-41. Still, for the Cardinal, for a team that had suffered an embarrassing loss to the FCS's Big Sky Conference Sacramento State Hornets earlier in the season, this near-victory against a fellow FBS and Pac-12 Conference opponent hinted at a potential turnaround. Unfortunately for Stanford, the momentum gained from that close contest quickly dissipated when they faced the high-flying Ducks.

Under the stewardship of Coach Lanning, the Ducks have been nothing short of outstanding this season. Their performance on the grass in Palo Alto was no exception. Oregon quarterback Bo Nix continued to shine, delivering another outstanding performance that left spectators in awe. Nix's impressive display included precise passes and smart decision-making, highlighting his maturity as a quarterback. He orchestrated the Ducks' offense with precision, keeping the Stanford defense on their toes throughout the game. Nix's ability to read the field and exploit weaknesses in the Cardinal defense was a testament to his growth as a leader on the field. Indeed, he looked every bit the Heisman candidate he surely is at this point in the season.

Oregon's punishing defense was equally impressive. Led by Coach Lanning's tactical brilliance, the Ducks defensive unit executed its game plan flawlessly. Characterized by its relentless pursuit of excellence, and perhaps more reminiscent of the iconic Gang Green defense of the 1990s, the Ducks' defense was stingy and simply refused to offer Stanford any opportunity to advance the ball. They stifled Stanford's offensive plays, shut down rushing lanes and applied relentless pressure on every member of the Cardinal offense. Stanford's offensive line struggled to contain the relentless pass rush, resulting in multiple sacks and hurried throws that often missed their mark. The Cardinal just couldn’t get anything going.

With this resounding victory, the Oregon Ducks improved their season record to a pristine 5-0, remaining undefeated in their pursuit of a championship in this final season of Pac-12 football. Their dominance on both sides of the ball has established them as a formidable force in the college football landscape, and as a viable playoff contender.

On the other side of the field, the Stanford Cardinal find themselves in a challenging position, falling to a disappointing 1-4 record for the season. As they prepare to transition to the Atlantic Coast Conference next year, Stanford can only hope to rectify their course and climb up from the bottom of the standings. Coach Taylor and his staff will need to regroup, make necessary adjustments, recruit exceptionally well, and continue developing talent to be competitive in the future.

In the world of college football, every game is a chapter in a team's journey, and the Ducks are penning an impressive story this season. Their victory over Stanford not only showcases their talent but also serves as a testament to Dan Lanning's exceptional coaching ability. While the Ducks look ahead to more challenges in their quest for greatness, the Cardinal must focus on rebuilding and finding their footing.

Oregon now exits the priceless bye week that gave them additional time to prepare for what very well may be their toughest game, a trip to Seattle to face the equally undefeated Washington Huskies on Saturday, October 14. By now, the team has arrived. Make no mistake, the Huskies will be ready. They had a bye as well. The Cardinal head to Colorado to face Coach Deion Sanders and the Buffaloes in a primetime matchup at Folsom Field in Boulder. That game will be on ESPN on the evening of Friday, October 13. Exciting as that may be, all eyes are surely on the action in Montlake. Fans have the Ducks versus the Huskies on the field at 12 PM PST on Saturday, October 14, and ESPN College Gameday on campus as well.

It's wild in Seattle right now. There's a lot on the line for both teams. The winner likely marches on toward a Pac-12 Conference championship game berth, and has the potential to be selected to play in the College Football Playoff. The loser could still end up in a bowl game in January, but they might end up playing a less marketable opponent, and they certainly wouldn't be expected to compete for a national championship. The score doesn't matter at the end of the day. Winning is all that matters. That's the only path forward right now.

Ahsan Awan has been covering sports for nearly two decades, and has been covering NCAA football, including various Pacific-12 Conference member institutions, since 2007. Images taken by Jason Reed for American Presswire and ©2023 Jason Reed for American Presswire subject to unlimited use under license unless otherwise noted. Images taken by Ahsan Awan for American Presswire ©2023 Ahsan Awan for American Presswire subject to unlimited use under license unless otherwise noted. Ahsan Awan can be found on X as @quackarazzi and on Instagram as @quackarazzi. Jason Reed can be found on X as @FieldofDD and on Instagram as @fieldofdaydreams.

Stanford Suffers Shocking Loss to Sac State as Troy Taylor Faces Familiar Foe

Palo Alto, CA - In a stunning turn of events, the Stanford Cardinal football team suffered a 30-23 defeat at the hands of Sacramento State, a lower division FCS Big Sky Conference member, on Saturday, September 16, 2023. The loss marked a disappointing start to the tenure of Head Coach Troy Taylor, who was hired from Sac State late last year.

Coach Taylor's return to the field to face a team he once called his turned out to be a bitter one as the Hornets, led by their quarterback Kaiden Bennett, handed Stanford their first loss to an FCS program since 2005. Bennett's heroics included a game-winning 49-yard touchdown pass with just 1:32 left on the clock, leaving the Cardinal stunned and their fans in disbelief.

The matchup was eagerly anticipated as it pitted Taylor against many of the players he had recruited and developed during his time in Sacramento. However, it was the Hornets who emerged victorious, causing concern for Stanford's prospects going forward in the 2023 season.

Stanford's schedule offers no respite, with all but one of their remaining opponents ranked in the Top 25. Their only hope for a reprieve seems to lie in the traditional "Big Game" against Cal, who currently remains unranked. However, as the old adage goes, "anything can happen in a rivalry game."

One of the glaring issues for Stanford in this loss was their performance on both sides of the ball. On offense, the quarterback position remains unsettled, the offensive line has yet to find its rhythm, and the running back depth chart is a cause for concern. On the defensive side, the secondary looked inexperienced and potentially sluggish, the linebackers struggled in both the flats and zone coverage, and the Cardinal defense appeared helpless against dual-threat quarterbacks like Bennett.

Talent and depth are emerging as critical concerns for the Cardinal as they navigate a challenging schedule. Coach Taylor will need to address these issues swiftly if Stanford hopes to remain competitive in the coming weeks.

Beyond the struggles on the field, Stanford faces a significant shift in its football future as the university prepares to exit the Pac-12 conference and join the ACC next year. Conference realignment and membership changes loom large on the horizon, adding another layer of complexity to the challenges facing the Cardinal.

The loss to the Hornets serves as a wake-up call for Stanford and their faithful fanbase, of which it seemed perhaps only half were on hand on Saturday. Attendance was listed as 23,848, or 47% capacity. Coach Taylor and his team have their work cut out for them as they aim to rebound from this early-season setback and prove they can compete in a formidable football landscape.

As the 2023 season unfolds, all eyes will be on Stanford, watching closely to see how they respond to adversity and what the future holds for this storied program.

Ahsan Awan has been covering sports for over a decade, and has been covering NCAA football, including various Pacific-12 Conference member institutions, since 2007. All images taken by Jason Reed for American Presswire and ©2023 Jason Reed for American Presswire subject to unlimited use under license unless otherwise noted. Ahsan Awan can be found on X as @quackarazzi and on Instagram as @quackarazzi. Jason Reed can be found on X as @FieldofDD and on Instagram as @fieldofdaydreams.

Bears Stage Remarkable Comeback, Beat Vandals 31-17

Berkeley, CA – High on the hill inside California Memorial Stadium on Saturday, September 16, 2023, the University of California Golden Bears football team displayed determination and resilience as they overcame a 17-point deficit to secure a 31-17 victory over the University of Idaho Vandals. The game marked the first meeting between the two schools in nearly 90 years, and the Bears continued their undefeated streak, now standing at 5-0 against the Vandals.

The Bears entered this contest seeking redemption following a disappointing 14-10 loss at home to Auburn just one week earlier. The memory of that mistake-filled defeat seemed to linger in the air as they took the field once again. Compounding their challenges, they were without their star running back, Jaydn Ott, who remained sidelined due to an injury sustained in the game against Auburn.

Early on, it appeared that California might be in for another frustrating outing. The Vandals surged to a 17-0 lead in the first 18 minutes of play, and at one point, they held a 200-47 advantage in total yards. However, the Bears refused to back down, showcasing their character and resilience.

One of the standout performances of the game came from running back Isaiah Ifanse. The Montana State transfer carried the ball 22 times for an impressive 137 yards and contributed a crucial touchdown. It marked Ifanse's first career 100-yard game at Cal and the 18th of his college career. Ashton Stredick also played a pivotal role in anchoring the Bears' ground game, accumulating 77 yards on 11 carries and helping the team average an impressive 6.0 yards per carry while outgaining the Vandals on the ground by a margin of 256-108.

Quarterback Sam Jackson V was another key contributor, both through the air and on the ground. Jackson passed for 108 yards and two touchdowns, showcasing his ability to lead the Bears' offense effectively. He also rushed for 41 yards and added another touchdown, despite being forced out of the game following a hard hit. Jackson's performance played a crucial role in the Bears' comeback.

The turning point of the game came in the second half when the Bears staged an incredible comeback, scoring 31 unanswered points, with 17 of those points coming in the second half alone. This remarkable resurgence not only showcased the team's physical prowess but also their mental toughness and ability to adapt to challenging situations.

The Bears' defense continued to be a bright spot, forcing three more turnovers during the game, bringing their season total to 10 turnovers forced. Cal entered the day leading the Pac-12 in turnovers forced, demonstrating their ability to disrupt opposing offenses.

Cal coach Justin Wilcox acknowledged that while he expected a better start from his team, he was proud of their ability to rally and secure the victory. With this hard-fought win, the Golden Bears are looking ahead to their final season in the Pac-12, and they will face a tough test next Saturday night on the road in Seattle against No. 8 Washington. The lessons learned from their comeback victory over Idaho will undoubtedly serve them well as they prepare for the upcoming challenge. Whether the experience versus Idaho was the wakeup call remains to be seen. Cal plays Washington at 7:30 PM on Saturday, September 23. The game will be broadcast live on ESPN.

Ahsan Awan has been covering sports for over a decade, and has been covering NCAA football, including various Pacific-12 Conference member institutions, since 2007. All images taken by Jason Reed for American Presswire and ©2023 Jason Reed for American Presswire subject to unlimited use under license unless otherwise noted. Ahsan Awan can be found on X as @quackarazzi and on Instagram as @quackarazzi. Jason Reed can be found on X as @FieldofDD and on Instagram as @fieldofdaydreams.

Cardinal Ready to Soar in 2023 Home Opener vs Sac State Hornets

Palo Alto, CA - The excitement is building as the Stanford University Cardinal football team gears up for their highly anticipated 2023 home opener, set to take place on September 16th, as they face off against the Sacramento State University Hornets. The Cardinal, with a rich football tradition and a commitment to excellence, are ready to kick off their season in style at Stanford Stadium.

Stanford has a storied history when it comes to football. The Cardinal football program has consistently been a highly capable and dangerous force in college football, boasting a long list of achievements on and off the field. With a legacy of producing NFL talent and a commitment to both academic and athletic excellence, Stanford is a name synonymous with success in collegiate sports.

While the Cardinal are certainly the favorites, it's important not to underestimate their opponents. The Hornets may not have the same national recognition as Stanford, and play in the lower Football Championship Subdivision tier, they bring their own strengths and determination to the field.

The Hornets have been steadily improving their football program over the years and have been competitive in their conference. In recent seasons, they have made notable strides, and their offense can be explosive, capable of putting up points in a hurry. The Cardinal defense will need to be on high alert to prevent any potential upsets.

Cardinal Head Coach Troy Taylor coached the Hornets on their way toward contending for a 2022 FCS National Championship, and his awareness of their weapons and capabilities is certainly offset by their knowledge of his style and schemes now on display at Stanford.

After soundly defeating the University of Hawai’I on the road in Honolulu 37-24 on September 1, the Cardinal suffered a road loss to the now #5 ranked University of Southern California Trojans by a score of 56-10 in Los Angeles on September 9. What that loss means regarding the Cardinal’s prospects in the Pac-12 conference remains to be seen. Their September 23 game versus the Arizona Wildcats will reveal a lot more about how good they can be under their new coach. After all, the next six games are all in-conference, and they’re all versus currently ranked opponents: #13 Oregon, at #18 Colorado, #24 UCLA, #8 Washington, at #23 Washington State, and at #16 Oregon State. Then the play at home against a Cal team that just narrowly lost to Auburn, and they wrap up the season at home versus #9 Notre Dame. This is absolutely one of the toughest schedules in all of college football this season.

While the season ahead may be difficult, the fact remains that the atmosphere at Stanford Stadium during a home game is something special. Fans from all over the Bay Area and beyond come together to support the team. Tailgating, school spirit, and a sea of cardinal and white create an unforgettable game day experience.

Stanford Stadium, with its modern amenities and scenic backdrop of the Stanford campus, provides the perfect setting for a thrilling evening of college football. Whether you're a passionate alum, a local fan, or just someone looking for a great time, attending a Stanford Cardinal game is a special experience.

Ahsan Awan has been covering sports for over a decade, and has been covering NCAA football, including various Pacific-12 Conference member institutions, since 2007. All images taken by Ahsan Awan for American Presswire and ©2023 Ahsan Awan for American Presswire subject to unlimited use under license unless otherwise noted. He can be found on Twitter as @quackarazzi and on Instagram as @quackarazzi.


Cal Golden Bears Narrowly Miss Home Opening Victory vs Auburn Tigers

BERKELEY, CA - In a thrilling Saturday night matchup at Memorial Stadium, the University of California Golden Bears football team came tantalizingly close to upsetting the Auburn Tigers. In fact, they led for a significant time during the game. Despite beating the spread (ESPN reported Auburn -4.5 at kickoff), the Golden Bears fell short, unable to capitalize on multiple opportunities that could have secured a remarkable win. The final score, 14-10 in favor of the Tigers, left Cal fans on the edge of their seats until the very end.

From the outset, it was evident that Cal had the strength and depth needed to win the game. The defense held its ground for the most part, with standout moments throughout the game. However, a pivotal moment came during a sustained Auburn drive that shifted the momentum significantly. Surprisingly, neither Head Coach Justin Wilcox nor Defensive Coordinator Peter Sirmon called a timeout to regroup while the defense struggled to regain their composure.

At that point, the score had been 10-7 favoring Cal. The third quarter was scoreless on both sides. Cal had the edge. Things didn’t give up the lead until the final quarter. The Golden Bears' defense showed promise, but they were unable to make the crucial stop that could have swung the game in their favor.

Cal's defense really was exceptional. They forced an incredible four turnovers, the last of which was a forced fumble with under five minutes left on the clock. The Bears recovered the ball in Auburn territory. They needed a touchdown to take the lead because they were trailing by four points. That’s because, on the offensive side of the ball, Cal's kicking game left so much to be desired. The team's kicker missed an astonishing three field goals, and the offense suffered a turnover in the redzone, all of which denied the Bears critical points that could have secured a victory despite the defensive breakdown that ultimately led to Auburn’s go-ahead touchdown in the fourth quarter. The missed opportunities loomed large as Cal fought to close the gap in the final minutes of the game, but they just couldn’t get it done.

"Our defense did a really good job for most of the night," said Bears Head Coach Justin Wilcox. And yes, save for that one fourth quarter drive, they did a fantastic job. With three timeouts available during that drive, the error was on the coaches.

Despite the loss, the Bears demonstrated that they are a stronger team than many had expected. Looking ahead to their next matchup against the Idaho Vandals this weekend (September 16), the team is poised to bounce back and secure a win. Everyone expects that. However, the true test will come on September 23, when they face the Washington Huskies in Seattle. The close contest against Auburn showed that the Bears can put up a fierce fight, and they are eager to make their final year in the Pacific-12 Conference a memorable one.

Next year, Cal will be competing in the Atlantic Coast Conference, and that will present a new set of challenges. As they bid farewell to the PAC-12, the Golden Bears aim to depart on a high note, leaving their mark on the conference before embarking on a new football frontier. Cal fans can only hope that the team's determination and resilience will carry them to victory in the games to come and leave them eligible for a postseason bowl game.

Ahsan Awan has been covering sports for over a decade, and has been covering NCAA football, including various Pacific-12 Conference member institutions, since 2007. All images taken by Ahsan Awan for American Presswire and ©2023 Ahsan Awan for American Presswire subject to unlimited use under license unless otherwise noted. He can be found on Twitter as @quackarazzi and on Instagram as @quackarazzi.

Early Inflection Point for Oregon, Pac-12

The Oregon Ducks find themselves at an important inflection point. Sitting at 2-1, and entering conference play on the road, this very well could be a defining moment for both the season and for new Head Coach Dan Lanning. Suffice it to say, the season opener was shocking for most college football fans. Losing 49-3 on the road to the defending national champion Georgia Bulldogs in what was both their season opener as well as the high profile beginning of the 2022 college football season looked bad.

To the casual fan, the Ducks were completely dominated and never capable of doing anything. To the more well-versed fan, it was clear the Ducks weren’t so much incapable of quality performance as much as they appeared physically overmatched by the talent on the Georgia roster. To the experienced analyst, the take was different.

Experienced analysts on the field said the Ducks looked as one would expect of a team that was just introduced to their new playbooks 6-8 weeks prior. Some said they needed 2-3 more weeks of practice to get their schemes down, and they pointed to the miscues and confusion both at the line of scrimmage and in the backfield.

However, there’s another take on the matter worthy of mention. An analyst on the sideline in Atlanta suggested the Oregon Athletic Director lost the game. That’s right. Call it a bold take, but let’s examine the history. The Georgia Bulldogs have been a great team for many years. Leading up to their 2015 campaign, they were under the direction of head coach Mark Richt. They were high performing, posted 10+ win seasons, and back in 2006, they had agreed to a home-and-home series with Oregon.

In 2014, the Oregon Ducks performed well, won the college football playoff semifinal, and went to the 2015 national championship game where they lost to the Ohio State Buckeyes. Meanwhile, the Georgia Bulldogs lost Mark Richt to the University of Miami. Georgia’s athletic director called the Oregon athletic director and cancelled the home-and-home series. While citing travel distance as a concern, Georgia knew they were going to have a new head coach, and they certainly did not want to be embarrassed on the road. In fact, Kirby Smart, who became the new head coach after being the defensive coordinator at the University of Alabama, struggled in his first year and led the Bulldogs to an underwhelming 8-5 record. Would they have lost on the road at Oregon? that is difficult to say. However, the risk was real, perhaps too real to realize.

Fast forward to Oregon in 2021. The Ducks had recruited well under then Head Coach Mario Cristobal. They understood their offensive and defensive systems, and they had At least half a decade of experience with their existing playbook. When Cristobal announced that he was leaving, Oregon’s athletic director should have called the athletic director at Georgia and canceled the game. Weather he cited travel distance, the expense, or something else, is neither here nor there. The bottom line is that it was Georgia coming off a national championship game performance, one that they were successful in, and it was the Ducks who had a new head coach and a new system to install. Ironically, Oregon lost their head coach to the University of Miami, the same place Georgia had lost its previous coach.

Thus, one can make the argument that it was not in fact the athletes on the field, nor the coaches on the sideline, who lost the game against Georgia, but that it was in fact the responsibility of the athletic director, and that he set the program up to face extremely difficult, if not insurmountable odds playing on the road in Atlanta. A fair leadership advisory would probably include a note to accept responsibility and move on.

Coming off that trip, the Ducks were 0-1. Many mocked them as the laughingstock of college football, but the truth is that this team may very well have been much more talented than the product that appeared on the field in Atlanta. In week two, Oregon faced a completely overmatched FCS opponent, Eastern Washington. The Eagles were defeated as expected, and the ducks appeared to be getting back on track. Week 3 cemented that after the ducks delivered a decisive win over a highly ranked BYU team.

Now, the ducks are headed to Pullman, Washington, to play the Washington State Cougars. Always a tricky opponent, and entering the game with a record of 3-0, that includes a significant road win at then ranked Wisconsin, and a decisive home win over Colorado State, it is clear the WSU Cougars are dangerous. A road win in the Palouse will not only further add to the story that Oregon is in fact a good team this season, but it will also help the team keep pace in a very competitive Pac-12 conference race.

That is where things get particularly interesting. USC currently sits atop the Pac-12 South standings, and while that may be consistent with popular predictions, it certainly is not consistent with the new head coach and playbook distinction asserted as an issue in Oregon’s opening loss. Then again, USC opened the season against it completely overmatched Rice, and then on the road at unranked Stanford, followed by a return home against unranked Fresno State. Nevertheless, they’re 3-0 and 1-0 in the conference. That has them at the top of the standings. UCLA sits behind USC, followed by 2-1 Arizona and 2-1 Utah, who remains highly ranked despite an opening road loss to the Florida Gators. The Pac-12 south will shake out over time as these teams play each other, of course.

The same is true for the Pac-12 north. Things will sort themselves out over time. As mentioned, Oregon begins that mission this weekend in Pullman. However, it is currently 3-0 Oregon State who sits atop the north standings, and the ranked 3-0 Washington Huskies who sit right behind them. WSU, also 3-0, sits right behind them. Call that a formality as none have played a conference opponent yet, and all are undefeated. That will change this weekend. Oregon State hosts USC, Washington hosts Stanford, and as previously mentioned, WSU hosts Oregon. In another interesting game perhaps slightly under the radar, Cal hosts Arizona, and the winner of that game will be 3-1, 1-1 Pac-12. Beware of dark horses.

Perhaps it’s too early for predictions. The transfer portal, those graduate transfer students, the pandemic and its extra year of eligibility, conference realignment – whatever the issues are, there are a few things that are true: (1) it is difficult to win in the Palouse; (2) it is difficult to win at Husky Stadium; (3) no ranked opponent has won in Corvallis in over a decade, nearly two! What is also true is that the weather is changing fast. From the high heat of summer and the fire smoke that filled the air during the segue to Fall, things have changed in a hurry. It’s getting chilly at night. There’s rain in some forecasts. It’s football season, and over the next couple of months we’ll find out how good the Ducks and the rest of the Pac-12 conference really are.

Back in Atlanta, Georgia fans had nothing bad to say about Oregon. On the contrary, several said “we’ll see you in the playoffs.” Whether that happens this year or not remains to be seen. There are a lot of moving parts this year and going forward. All a team can do is take it one week at a time.

Ahsan Awan has been covering NCAA sports for over a decade, and has been covering college football, including the Oregon Ducks and the Pacific 12 Conference, since 2008. All images taken by Ahsan Awan for American Presswire. ©2022 Ahsan Awan for American Presswire, subject to unlimited use under license unless otherwise noted. He can be found on Twitter as @quackarazzi and on Instagram as @quackarazzi.

Bruins take care of business on the farm

PALO ALTO – The UCLA Bruins, led by future hall of fame Head Coach Chip Kelly, marched into Stanford Stadium with one mission: Win The Day. Kelly’s old motto from his time at the helm of the Oregon Ducks was on full display. This time dressed in brand Jordan apparel, swapping blue for his old green, but flanked my many familiar faces from his time in Eugene, Kelly donned his classic visor and was all business.

A narrow loss the previous week to the Fresno State Bulldogs was a thing of the past. As has always been Kelly’s style, the past is in the past and today is all there is, right now. Indeed, UCLA played like last week never happened. Quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson led the Bruins to two early touchdowns and a 14-0 lead. Not to be outshined, the Bruins’ defense held the Cardinal to no fewer than five three-and-outs. The game seemed to be one score away from slipping out of reach for the home team.

However, Kelly wasn’t the only future hall of famer in the house. Stanford Head Coach David Shaw is equally fantastic. His mastery of leadership led to sudden adjustments that got the Cardinal back in the game. A solid drive led to a score, and the game was within reach. However, Kelly and company would not be denied.

Before the first half ended, the Bruins would score again. At 21-7, the Cardinal marched down the field, but were held out of the endzone. A final attempt at a field goal bounced off the crossbar and seemed to sap whatever energy was left.

It wasn’t over though. By early in the fourth quarter, the game was tied at 21. The Cardinal had come back. Shaw’s adjustments were working. Kelly made his own adjustments though, and the Bruins exploded. Despite a field goal that got the Cardinal to 24, Thompson-Robinson stayed focused and delivered. First, a 75-yard bomb for a touchdown, then the defense held the Cardinal to 3. Then the Bruins engineered another drive for a score that put the game away. Kelly did indeed win the day.

Just like that, UCLA went to 3-1 and climbed ever so slightly in the rankings. UCLA dropped to 2-2 and remains a dangerous and underrated opponent.

UCLA returns home to Rose Bowl Stadium in Pasadena, California to host the Arizona State University Sun Devils on Saturday at 7:30pm. The game will be broadcast by Fox Sports 1.

Ahsan Awan has been covering sports for over a decade, including NCAA football since 2007. Image taken by Ahsan Awan for American Presswire. Ahsan Awan can be found on Twitter as @quackarazzi and on Instagram as @quackarazzi.

Cardinal impress in 24-35 loss to UCLA

PALO ALTO – The Stanford Cardinal may be the most underrated 2-2 team in college football. Saturday’s loss to UCLA was a blip on the radar for a future hall of fame coach, many legitimate future NFL prospects, and a fan base that understands that while winning is fun, football is just a game. When asked about the outcome, one fan who didn’t provide his name said it best, “it doesn’t matter who won the game, the real winners are those who go on to have a great life.”

There’s no question every Cardinal player has the opportunity to have a great life. Perhaps that’s one of the things that makes Stanford different. No matter what happens on the scoreboard, the growth and development obtained through participation, combined with the strength of the institution and the support of the community, is central to the creation of the highest percentage of successful leaders per capita in all of college football.

Stanford is special. From the professionalism of the staff to the quality of the facilities, there’s no place like it. That special feeling was in the air on Saturday when the Cardinal took to the field. Head Coach David Shaw didn’t look a day older. The man literally hasn’t aged in at least half a decade. On the other side of the field was another future hall of fame head coach, UCLA’s Chip Kelly.

Shaw is no stranger to Kelly, and vice versa. Shaw began his coaching tenure at Stanford in 2007. Kelly began his tenure at the University of Oregon at the same time. These two have met on the field many times. There are no surprises. Saturday’s meeting was just two of the greatest coaches in the game doing what they do best, causing one of the most exciting games in football. While Stanford won this meeting 35-24, students, fans and everyone in attendance were treated to the pageantry, magic and gridiron battle that makes college football so great.

The game started slowly for the Cardinal. After 5 three-and-out series, the Cardinal trailed 14-0. Being the future hall of famer that he is, Shaw made adjustments and the Cardinal responded. A solid drive ending in a touchdown many wouldn’t make on Sundays – in air, spun around, over the opponent’s shoulder pad; the perfect grab for 6! It was a thing of beauty, and it seemed like a momentum-turner.

For a moment, it seemed like Stanford found its stride and UCLA didn’t have an answer. They even tied the game at 21 heading into the fourth quarter. However, Bruins quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson was not to be denied. At 18-29 for 251 yards, 2 touchdowns and zero interceptions, he looked great. The thing is, Stanford quarterback Tanner McKee was 19-32 for 293 yards, 3 touchdowns and zero interceptions, so he was right there in lock step; in fact, he was better.

The truth is these teams aren’t that far apart. As one UCLA coach explained, “Stanford Stadium is the least hostile in the Pac-12, maybe in the nation.” Don’t blame the 12th man. Stanford students showed up in force. In fact, this may have been a fan attendance record. Someone should’ve kept count.

UCLA hosts Arizona State University on Saturday. Stanford hosts #3 Oregon. The Ducks struggled through the first half against the Arizona Wildcats in Eugene. That was in front of a home crowd. Sure, Stanford Stadium may not be hostile on Saturday, but it’s different. For one thing, it’s real grass. The Ducks are used to playing on artificial turf. More importantly, however, it’s Stanford. It’s David Shaw. It’s the jumbo line and an offense capable of putting points on the board. Last but not least, it’s the pageantry, magic, and poise founded in the knowledge that football is just a game.

No pressure. The Stanford Cardinal host the #3 Oregon Ducks at 12:30pm PST. The game will be televised on ABC.

Ahsan Awan has been covering sports for over a decade, including NCAA football since 2007. Image taken by Ahsan Awan for American Presswire. Ahsan Awan can be found on Twitter as @quackarazzi and on Instagram as @quackarazzi.

Stanford, Shaw ready to host Kelly, UCLA

PALO ALTO – Life on The Farm is nothing to complain about. Along with being one of the world’s premier academic institutions and an unrivaled incubator of innovation and entrepreneurialism, Stanford University also boasts some of the finest athletic facilities in the world. Whether you’re playing water polo or football, you can’t go wrong choosing to be part of the Cardinal family.

David Shaw knows this. The former Cardinal wide receiver (1991-1994) has been a Stanford football coach since 2007. He’s been the head coach since 2011. He has a 92-37 win/loss record, three Pac-12 conference championship titles and five Pac-12 north division titles. Say what you may about the Cardinal, but there’s no question the 49-year-old Shaw remains one of the best in the business. A lot more can be said about Coach Shaw. Maybe it’ll find its way into the lead up to his Hall of Fame induction speech one day.

Most experts and pundits agreed that Stanford was entering a rebuilding year. Talent turnover and new blood at critical positions was labeled a strike against the Cardinal’s prospects. A disappointing opening loss to Kansas State seemed to prove them all right. Then came then #14 USC. Through total domination of the Trojans, Coach Shaw and his players engineered and executed one of the most compelling statements of the season: the Cardinal are a force to be reckoned with. They reiterated that the following week with an even more convincing thrashing of SEC member Vanderbilt University.

At 2-1 with a pair of convincing road wins, including one over a top-15 ranked conference opponent, Stanford should be ranked.  Chip Kelly’s UCLA Bruins remain ranked after a loss to an unranked Fresno State team, and the Bruins’ two previous wins were over unranked NP5 University of Hawai’i from the Mountain West Conference, and unranked Louisiana State University from the SEC. With the Bruins heading up to Palo Alto this weekend, Coach Shaw’s Cardinal has the advantage of playing at home. Stanford Stadium can hardly be called hostile, but home is home, and that matters.

129 games into his time at the helm of the Cardinal, David Shaw has amassed 92 wins. He has won more than 71% of the time. He has gone up against Chip Kelly many times over the past decade, and throughout his time as a Stanford coach in any capacity. There should be no surprises, just two very good football coaches leading two very talented teams.

The Stanford Cardinal host the #24 UCLA Bruins on Saturday, September 25 at Stanford Stadium in Palo Alto, CA. Kickoff is currently scheduled for 3:00pm PST, and the game will be televised on the Pac-12 Network. Following that, the Cardinal host the #3 Oregon Ducks at 12:30pm PST. That game will be televised on ABC.

Ahsan Awan has been covering sports for over a decade, including NCAA football since 2007. Image taken by Ahsan Awan for American Presswire. Ahsan Awan can be found on Twitter as @quackarazzi and on Instagram as @quackarazzi.