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Jason says: Stanford could win the clock, but Ducks will win the game

It bears repeating, as No. 1 Oregon continues to face games it COULD lose against ranked teams — versus Stanford (5 p.m. Saturday, Autzen Stadium), at Oregon State on Nov. 24 and against USC or UCLA on Nov. 30 in the likely Pac-12 title game appearance: The Ducks have lost only to great teams in Chip Kelly's tenure.

The six teams that have beaten Oregon in the past 50 games — Boise State, Stanford and Ohio State in 2009, Auburn in 2010 and LSU and USC in 2011 — combined to go 70-10, and each was ranked top-6 at season's end except for Stanford, which finished 8-5 in 2009 but blew up the Ducks with QB Andrew Luck and running back Toby Gerhart.

Each of the six teams, as a matter of fact, included multiple NFL-caliber players — including QBs in Luck, Auburn's Cam Newton and USC's Matt Barkley.

What are other common threads in teams that have beaten Oregon?

Well, although Oregon rarely "wins" the time-of-possession statistic (only 24 percent of games under Kelly), all six teams that have beaten Oregon have combined an overwhelming "TOP" advantage — an average of more than 37 minutes to less than 23 minutes — with an effective running game, to the tune of a combined 49.7 rushes for 189.8 yards.

Meaning, they keep the ball, execute with great players and chew up clock with the run.

(Ok, maybe for short stretches, I don't have a life, but bear with me). In 44 wins under Kelly, only five losing teams have eclipsed the AVERAGE time-of-possession of teams that have beaten Oregon. And, only two losing teams have garnered MORE THAN 49.7 carries and five had MORE THAN 189.8 yards rushing against the Ducks.

In addition, the six victors used stellar front-seven defensive line play — mostly Boise State, Ohio State, Auburn and LSU — to contain UO's vaunted run game and quarterback play. USC's win last season came with Barkley and his receivers going wild, but the Trojans also ran the ball effectively.

Which takes us to the 2012 Stanford Cardinal, and its attempt to knock off the high-flying Ducks of the 54.8 points, 562.6 yards offense and 325.1 yards rushing per game.

The Cardinal have a semblance of a team that could beat Oregon, led by running back Stepfan Taylor (1,061 yards, 4.7 per carry), new mobile QB/redshirt freshman Kevin Hogan (22 of 29 for 254 yards, three TDs, 11 carries for 49 yards vs. Oregon State), good tight ends (Zach Ertz, Levine Toilolo), big offensive and defensive lines, standout linebackers in Chase Thomas and Shayne Skov and a defense that allows just 58.6 yards rushing per game (2.0 per carry).

If Oregon's defense had all its healthy defensive players, I'd say it'd be a flat-out rout. But the fact is the Ducks are hurting on defense, mostly on the defensive line and in the secondary (of course, definitively, we don't know who will play Saturday). They are vulnerable, defensively. That gives Stanford the opportunity to establish itself offensively, run the ball and control the clock for 40 minutes or so — a key in beating the Ducks.

So, worst-case scenario, if Oregon gets the ball for only 20 minutes or so, how much can the Ducks score?

Well ... a lot of points.

No way am I picking a Stanford upset. Watching the Ducks' pivotal player develop through the first 10 games, quarterback Marcus Mariota, I'm not sure Oregon loses any games. Fourteen-and-0. National champions. (Barring injury to Mariota, of course). He is a superb difference-maker, an accurate passer, a brilliant runner, a better decision-maker, a star already. Led by No. 8, the Ducks have looked unstoppable, with Mariota doing his thing and calling on the foursome of Kenjon Barner, De'Anthony Thomas, Josh Huff and Colt Lyerla to make big-time plays.

In retrospect, Oregon could be averaging 65 points a game, if the Ducks wanted to put the sledgehammer down in previous routs.

Stanford won't have the speed to contend with Oregon's offense, and UO's prolific scoring will continue Saturday night. Stanford's only chance: Keep the ball away and convert, make a few stops defensively and try to outscore the Ducks.

But, only great teams beat Oregon.

The Ducks move to 11-0.

THE PICK: Oregon 51, Stanford 31