for this game

No. 6 Oregon hands No. 3 Stanford its first loss

Nov 13, 2011 - 7:12 AM Palo Alto, CA (Sports Network) - Oregon had more than luck Saturday night.

The sixth-ranked Ducks had speed, experience and a defense that caused five turnovers to hand No. 3 Stanford its first loss, 53-30, in rather convincing fashion to regain its usual spot atop the Pac-12 Conference.

Oregon (9-1, 7-0 Pac-12), which had never beaten a Top-5 team on the road, has won 19 straight conference tests and sits atop the North Division with home games against USC and Oregon State remaining.

The Ducks' backfield outplayed Stanford's Heisman front-runner, as LaMichael James ran for 146 yards and threes touchdowns and Darron Thomas threw for another three scores.

"It was a challenge, but we were up to it," James said.

Andrew Luck threw for 271 yards and three TDs, but was intercepted twice and lost a fumble for the Cardinal (9-1, 7-1), who had the nation's longest winning streak snapped at 17 games.

Luck came back for his senior season despite being regarded as the No. 1 NFL prospect for a shot at a national championship. Those hopes were ended by a team that lost the BCS title game last season and is now the favorite to win the inaugural Pac-12 crown.

"Disappointment? Yes, but life goes on," Luck said. "We can't hang our heads too long over this game. There are other games left."

The Cardinal simply couldn't keep pace with the Ducks, whose unmatched speed resulted in three touchdowns of 41 yards or more.

The last was a short toss from Thomas that Josh Huff turned into a 59-yard TD by shaking off an arm tackle and sprinting up the right sideline for a 29-16 lead 1:37 into the second half.

James fumbled a punt shortly thereafter at Oregon's 34-yard line, but Stanford moved the ball only four yards before Eric Whitaker missed wildly to the right on a 48-yard field goal try.

The Ducks punted after a rare three-and-out, and on the next snap Isaac Remington broke through the line of scrimmage and came up with a strip-sack of Luck.

Oregon recovered at the Stanford 12-yard line, and on 4th-and-2 from the four, James went off-tackle right and into the end zone for a 36-16 cushion.

Luck capped a 14-yard, 71-yard drive with a two-yard toss to Jeremy Stewart along the goal line, cutting into the deficit with 2 1/2 minutes left in the third.

A run-heavy march by the Ducks ended in James plowing in from a yard out a minute into the fourth quarter to regain Oregon's 20-point advantage.

Stewart's one-yard plunge with 9 1/2 minutes remaining gave Stanford a chance, and the Cardinal held Oregon to a 40-yard Alejandro Maldonado field goal with 5:09 left to keep it within two scores.

But Boseko Lokombo picked off a tipped pass on the next play and returned the interception 40 yards for a game-sealing touchdown.

The Ducks actually started with a pair of three-and-outs, but they came up with the first big play when Dewitt Stuckey intercepted a Luck pass at midfield and returned it 30 yards.

Lavasier Tuinei's four-yard grab in the right corner of the end zone gave Oregon the lead, and an unconventional two-point conversion saw linebacker Mike Garrity make a leaping catch in the back of the end zone.

Stanford embarked on a 13-play, 78-yard drive and matched Oregon's touchdown as Griff Whalen wound up on the receiving end of a 16-yard hookup with Luck, but Whitaker missed the extra point.

James, last year's Heisman runner-up, showed off his speed later in the second quarter when he took a handoff, made one cut to the left at the line of scrimmage and sprinted to daylight along the left hash marks for a 58-yard jaunt to paydirt.

The Cardinal turned a De'Anthony Thomas fumble into a 37-yard Whitaker field goal with five minutes to go before halftime, only to have Thomas take a screen pass on 4th-and-7 from the Stanford 41 and go untouched up the right sideline to the end zone.

Luck and Whalen connected for a 13-yard TD just before the half.

Game Notes

The Ducks have won nine of the last 10 meetings...Oregon's last conference loss was a 51-42 setback at Stanford in 2009...The Ducks have won by 14 or more points in every game since losing their season opener to LSU...Oregon's defense recorded three sacks. Luck had been sacked four times coming in...Darron Thomas threw for 155 yards on 11-of-17 attempts...Cardinal wideout Chris Owusu did not play after suffering a concussion last week...Luck moved past Steve Stenstrom into second place in Stanford history with 74 touchdown passes. John Elway has the record with 77...Whalen ended with 107 yards on nine receptions...Stanford's last loss came at Oregon on October 2, 2010...Stanford had a season-low 129 rushing yards.