Thursday night NCAA football stanford cardinals oregon ducks oklahoma sooners baylor bears

I have traditionally ignored Thursday night football. Usually it seems like they match up two mid-major teams that I’ve never heard of and play on a what looks like a Texas high school football field field, but with less fans in the bleachers. However, last night, that was not the case. Last night featured undefeated #3 Oregon at #5 Stanford in a face off that not only decided the north division of the PAC-12, but also has potential BCS National Championship implications. We also watched undefeated #6 Baylor hosting #10 Oklahoma in a battle of Big 12 powers. Let’s talk football.

#3 Oregon @ #5 Stanford, Final score: 20-26

The night was all about Stanford running through Oregon's defensive (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

The night was all about Stanford running through Oregon’s defensive (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

Stanford had Oregon’s number again this year. From the start of the game, the Ducks had obvious problems. Early on, Stanford asserted itself using it’s power running game to pick up third downs. Stanford running back Tyler Gaffney ended the night with 157 yards in 45 attempts. Quarterback Kevin Hogan was able to hit a few long strikes and picked up a few first downs on his feet as well. Ducks Heisman Trophy candidate Marcus Mariota had a rough night, getting dinged and just looking like his timing was off until the 4th quarter.

Stanford was able to shut out the Ducks for the three quarters of the game while steadily stacking up 26 points. The first glimpse of sunshine for the Ducks shown midway through the 4th quarter when Marcus Mariota connected with receiver Daryle Hawkins for a 23 yard TD. After stalling Stanford’s next drive, the Ducks blocked a Cardinal field goal and ran it back for another score. After a missed two point conversion, the score was 26-13 when the Ducks took a gamble and won when they recovered an onside kick. To cap an eight minute drive, Mariota found the end zone again, this time with receiver Pharaoh Brown. With the score 26-20, the Ducks tried their luck again, but failed to recover their onside kick attempt. Stanford was able to run down the final two minutes of game clock and finish the night with a victory over the Ducks.

The Ducks are going to fall out of the top 3 in the BCS rankings and out of the conversation for a bid in the National Championship game. Stanford has moved to the top of the North division. Provided the Cardinals don’t stumble, they have a direct route to the PAC 12 championship and eventually to the Rose Bowl. Unless Stanford loses, the Ducks have an outside hope for a BCS at-large bid, but may have to settle for the PAC-12 tie-in Alamo Bowl or Holiday Bowl.

#10 Oklahoma @ #6 Baylor: Final score 12-41

The night was all about Bryce Petty who scored 5 TDs (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

The night was all about Bryce Petty who scored 5 TDs (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

Early in the 2nd quarter, it felt like Baylor already had the game. The first quarter was basically a wash of punts and missed opportunities during which Baylor got a single field goal. Even though they gave up a safety, Baylor’s defense stopped Oklahoma on the 1 yard line at the beginning of the 2nd quarter. Oklahoma’s next drive resulting in a field goal, putting the Sooners up 5-3. This would be the last time they would have the lead. After a pair of missed field goals, Baylor gets the ball back and scores when QB Bryce Petty rushes for 5 yards. Baylor holds Oklahoma to a punt the next drive and Bryce Petty caps a 93 yard drive with another rushing touchdown. Oklahoma gets the kick off, only for QB Blake Bell to be intercepted, which leads to a third touch down by Baylor in the 2nd quarter, now Baylor leads 24-5. The second half was all Baylor as they outscored the Sooners 17-7, finishing the game 41-12.

Oklahoma is the first ranked opponent Baylor has faced all year, and started a 3 game series of ranked teams, comprising of Texas Tech and OK State. This victory puts Baylor at the top of the Big 12 and leaves them in the driver seat for the Big 12 championship and possible BCS Bowl invite. Oklahoma, with OK State as their only remaining ranked opponent is probably on the outside of the BCS looking in after this loss.