Oregon Ducks Fail to Dig Themselves Out of First-Half Hole

Bleacher ReportAnalyst INovember 7, 2009

PALO ALTO, CA - NOVEMBER 07:  Oregon Ducks head coach Chip Kelly wipes his face during the first half of their game agains the the Stanford Cardinal at Stanford Stadium on November 7, 2009 in Palo Alto, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

The picture above can summarize what transpired earlier today in Palo Alto, CA.

That's right, there are now no longer any unbeaten teams in Pac-10 play.

The Stanford Cardinal came out firing early, and dominated the first quarter of play.

That hole would prove too deep for the Ducks to climb out of. However let's not discredit the valiant effort displayed by this Oregon Ducks team.

Even though the Ducks' first drive went three-and-out, even though Stanford running back Toby Gerhart seemingly couldn't be stopped, this Oregon Ducks football team never gave in, never quit, never gave up.

True, it would have been nice for Oregon to have won this game. All Oregon fans would have liked to go undefeated in the Pac-10, en route to a Rose Bowl berth.

But let's look at the bright side. Oregon is still ranked first in the Pac-10, tied with Arizona, one of the most surprising teams in the Pac-10 this season.

Oregon still has three games left to play, two of which are at home. The only away game is the Ducks' match-up with Arizona, and considering if both teams are tied when game time comes, this game will decide the Pac-10.

One other thing that could be overlooked about this game is that there were two penalties that were wrongly called. Two pass interference calls to be exact, that went against the Ducks' freshman cornerback Javes Lewis.

Lewis was nowhere near the receiver on one call. The other call, the Stanford receiver pushed off of Lewis.

Both of these calls, coincidentally, were made on failed third-down conversions, giving the Cardinal free first downs. Both of these calls led to Stanford touchdowns. Take away the blatant incompetency of the officiating, and Oregon would have won by four points.

But even though the Ducks lost, there should not be any reason for concern. Oregon still controlls their destiny in the Pac-10.

Arizona has a tough road ahead of them, as three of their final four games of the season are on the road; at USC, at Cal, and at Arizona State.

And I know that Arizona State has not played well this year, but teams almost always bring out their "A" game for rivalry games.

To win the Pac-10 title outright, the Ducks will have to beat Arizona on the road, and either Arizona State or Oregon State at home.

All three games are winnable, and if the aftermath of Oregon's season-opening loss to Boise State is any indication of how Oregon can rebound after losing a game, then the sky is the limit for the Oregon Ducks.

The season is far from over, and Oregon still remains in the driver's seat for the Rose Bowl.

Let's continue to cheer on our Ducks, and congratulate them on representing their university well, even in defeat.