Take a Knee - Herbert, Oregon Miss Pac-12 Opportunity

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TwinSpires Staff

September 25th, 2018

Stanford Tightens Stranglehold on PAC-12

Oregon Blows PAC-12 Battle Against Stanford - by Fairway Jay

In one of the wildest games of the season thus far, and on the precipice of blowing out Stanford, Oregon found a way to lose Saturday. The 38-31 overtime defeat has to be deflating for the Ducks and their fans, but especially brutal for bettors who had Oregon (+3). What a collapse by the Ducks. Both teams entered the key PAC-12 North contest undefeated (3-0), and Oregon opened a 1.5-point home favorite early in the week. But bettors started putting their cash on the Cardinal, and had the wrong side as the Ducks dominated early on their home field at Autzen Stadium.

Oregon was in complete control leading 24-7 at halftime. It looked like the game was out of reach when the Ducks were driving late in the 3rd quarter. But in a blink of an eye, the Cardinal got back in the contest inside of 3 minutes remaining in the 3rd quarter.

Oregon appeared to have a touchdown when Jaylon Redd scampered into the end zone from the 17 yard line. But he touched the pylon (which is technically viewed as both the goal line and out of bounds) before he carried the ball over the goal line and replay officials deemed him out of bounds.

An inch from being up 31-7, Stanford returns an Oregon fumble 80 yards for a Cardinal touchdown three plays later. Then in the closing seconds of the 3rd quarter following an Oregon 3-and-out, Bryce Love’s 22-yard touchdown run brought Stanford within a field goal, 24-21.

With less than 5 minutes remaining in the 4th quarter of this Pac-12 barn burner, Oregon extended its lead to 31-21 and Ducks bettors were breathing easy again.

Stanford quickly responded going 80 yards in 3 plays covering 90 seconds to cut the margin to 31-28. Ducks defense soft in prevent mode.

Key win probability moments for Oregon (via Go Might Card): 99.0%: 24-7, 1st and goal at 1 98.7%: 31-28, 1st down, 1:35.

Oregon then converted two first downs to get the ball to midfield with less than 2 minutes remaining, and Stanford held just one timeout. The Ducks could have taken a knee two times and punted the ball away to leave Stanford less than 15 seconds left on the clock with no timeouts remaining and needing at least 45 yards to get in field goal range. The Ducks ran another play instead, and their freshman running back was stripped and fumbled.

Stanford got the ball at its own 40 yard line, and on 3rd and 10 passed for 16 yards and then another 16 yards on the next pass play. Another completion to inside the Oregon 20, and Stanford was able to tie the game on a field goal as time expired in regulation.

At this point, the Ducks had out-gained Stanford, 524-398, and out-rushed the Cardinal, 178-71. Quarterback Justin Herbert was the best player on the field for either team, piecing together a historic night passing for 331 yards and one TD while completing 25 of 27 passes. He is making a strong case for being the best player in the Pac-12.

Stanford scored a TD to start overtime, and after Herbert completed a pass to set up first and goal at the Stanford 10, he threw three incompletions and then an interception on the Ducks final play.

Stanford wins 38-31 in overtime. Remarkable. They are now ranked No. 7 and are expected to strong-arm the Pac-12. The Cardinal are also +4000 to win the national title.