Fourth-down conversions were completely nonexistent for the Ducks against the Cardinal. Oregon was 0-of-2 on the night.
There will be more about this later on, but fourth down has to yield some conversions if you're going to use it. Let's take a closer look at these fourth-down attempts and talk about what went wrong.
This attempt took place with less than five minutes to go in the first quarter. Neither team had found anything close to paydirt yet, and the Ducks were on the seven facing a fourth-and-two. Oregon ran a quarterback keeper for no gain.
Oregon isn't known for its size, and the speed thus far in the game was not an advantage. The Cardinal had not been worn down enough to create any real advantage for the Ducks, especially when it wasn't run as a fake anything. It was run as a straight-up play, which the Cardinal had been successful at stopping up to that point.
In the second quarter, the Ducks found themselves in two unfamiliar positions: trailing and scoreless in the second quarter. Oregon decided to go for it on fourth-and-four with a pass that fell incomplete. Now, what's interesting about that particular choice is that Colt Lyerla and De'Anthony Thomas had already been the entirety of that Oregon drive up to that point.
Lyerla had two receptions for 26 yards already on the drive, and Thomas had only failed to gain at least three yards once. (That run was for a loss of three yards.) The play that failed was an incomplete pass to Lyerla. So, essentially, the Ducks tried to go for it on fourth down by pitching a ball to one of the only two people on the field that Stanford would have been expecting.
If you're going to call a fourth-down play, you should really at least attempt to mask what's coming a little better than that. What's unsettling about this is that, if Chip Kelly were to face these same exact circumstances against another top-notch defense, he would do the same thing.
That's understandable if you have the execution to back it up, but Stanford pretty much had Oregon's number any time it mattered. There was one exception, but that will be covered later in the show.
We will cover Kelly's part in this in the next slide.