Tyler Gaffney ran for 157 yards and Stanford hammered Oregon for three quarters last night, then held off a furious final kick by the Ducks for a 26-20 win to severely damage Oregon’s national championship hopes.
Kevin Hogan ran for a touchdown and played a mistake-free game for Stanford (8-1, 6-1 Pac-12), ranked fifth in the Bowl Championship Series. The Cardinal put on a clinic in how to play keep-away from a team that had been averaging 55.6 points. Stanford ran for 274 yards and held the ball for 421/2 minutes.
Heisman Trophy contender Marcus Mariota was inaccurate and under pressure much of the night, but he threw two fourth-quarter touchdown passes, sandwiched around Rodney Hardrick’s touchdown return of a blocked field goal, to pull the Ducks (8-1, 5-1) to 26-20 with 2:12 left.
Oregon couldn’t recover a second onside kick, and Stanford ran out the clock.
The loss by Oregon, ranked third in the BCS, enhances the title hopes of Ohio State (9-0), which has been ranked No. 4 for the past three weeks.
The biggest winner of all? Florida State. The Seminoles (8-0) don’t have to worry about Oregon nudging them out of second place in the BCS standings.
The Seminoles were in danger of slipping to third in the BCS if Oregon could have registered a big road victory against a quality opponent. Now, Florida State faces a manageable remaining schedule with a good chance to win its way to the national championship game at the Rose Bowl in January. Florida State will play Wake Forest (4-5) on Saturday.
No. 1 Alabama (8-0) faces a tough Southeastern Conference test on Saturday when it plays host to No. 13 LSU (7-2), which has beaten the Crimson Tide in two of their past three meetings.
Baylor 41, Oklahoma 12: Bryce Petty threw for three touchdowns and ran for two more, Shock Linwood ran for 182 yards, and host Baylor passed its first big test with a rout of Oklahoma.
Baylor (8-0, 5-0 Big 12), ranked sixth in the BCS, scored twice in the final minute before halftime and stretched its school-record winning streak to 12 games.
“We’re just talented, man. We’re committed. I think that’s all you can say about it,” Petty said. “It’s a very special team.”
Even though Baylor came in leading the nation in scoring (64 points per game) and total offense (718 yards per game), there were questions about how good the Bears were after getting into November without playing a ranked opponent. They have now, and they responded with an impressive victory against a team that used to routinely overwhelm them.
Oklahoma (7-2, 4-2), 10th in the BCS standings, has a 21-2 lead in the series, but both losses have come in its last two trips to Floyd Casey Stadium for prime-time games.
Running backs Lache Seastrunk and Glasco Martin got banged up in the game, so Linwood ran 23 times. The Bears also were missing top receiver Tevin Reese, who was without a catch before suffering a dislocated right wrist. He spent the second half on the sideline with his arm in a sling. Coach Art Briles said he hopes Reese can be back for a bowl game.