EUGENE — Down goes the Cardinal.
EUGENE — Down goes the Cardinal.
Utah spoiled everyone's projected Pac-12 game of the year — Oregon at Stanford on Nov. 7 — by upsetting the fifth-ranked Cardinal 27-21 on Saturday in Salt Lake City.
Stanford dropped to No. 13 in the Associated Press poll released Sunday.
Coach Mark Helfrich will use the surprising score as a reminder for the No. 2 Ducks as they prepare for Washington State this week.
"It doesn't change our mentality at all," said Helfrich, whose team is currently tied with Oregon State atop the North Division standings at 3-0. "If anything, it just reinforces the fact that you have to handle your business. "» We get to prepare to play our best, regardless of who is playing, and you cannot worry about anybody else but yourself."
If the Ducks (6-0 overall) and South Division-leading UCLA (5-0, 2-0) handle their business this weekend, then fans will still get a top-10 Pac-12 matchup on Oct. 26 at Autzen Stadium. No. 9 UCLA plays an angry Cardinal squad on the road this Saturday.
"We had a good week of practice; we knew this would be a hornets' nest,'' Stanford coach David Shaw told reporters after the Utes severely damaged his team's national title hopes. "Everybody in the conference knows this is one of the toughest places to play. They got us. They outplayed us. They out-coached us."
Oregon remained No. 2 in the USA Today coaches poll and is also No. 2 in the Harris Interactive poll, which made its season debut on Sunday. Unlike the AP rankings, these two polls factor into the BCS formula to determine which two teams will participate in the national championship game.
The first BCS standings come out next Sunday.
Ohio State is third in the coaches poll, ahead of Clemson, with the two teams flip-flopped in the Harris poll. The Tigers host No. 5 Florida State this Saturday.
"We know we're going to get everybody's best shot and how that all happens, but we're having a lot of fun," Helfrich said. "And the biggest thing is our guys still have an ability and a desire to get better. That's rare and fun."
NOT PERFECT: Marcus Mariota appears to be a lock for a trip to New York for the Heisman Trophy presentation ceremony, and the sophomore quarterback might be the frontrunner for the award after accounting for 454 yards and four touchdowns during Oregon's 45-24 victory at No. 16 Washington on Saturday at Husky Stadium.
But after watching film of the Ducks' 10th consecutive win over the Huskies, Helfrich said there will be corrections for Mariota to make this week in practice.
"Believe it or not, Marcus can make a mistake," Helfrich said. "Kind of like Halley's comet, it doesn't happen too often."
Mariota has 17 touchdown passes, eight rushing touchdowns and no turnovers this season.
LET'S GET PHYSICAL: Although several Ducks, most notably second-half hero Josh Huff, limped or were carted off the field at Husky Stadium, Helfrich was pleased with how his team stood up to the home team's best haymakers.
"It was definitely a physical game," Helfrich said. "I thought as the game wore on, and it was something we talked about, it would come to our advantage to keep playing and stay in it and hopefully pull away toward the end."
Oregon outscored Washington 14-0 in the fourth quarter. Helfrich said the offensive line played its most physical game collectively and defensive tackle Wade Keliikipi was "a stud" in leading the defensive line with 11/2 sacks and 21/2 tackles for loss.
MALDONADO'S TURN: Oregon is still rotating the place-kicking duties between senior Alejandro Maldonado and freshman Matt Wogan. Both of them went three-for-three on extra points against Washington.
With the Ducks leading 28-17 late in the third quarter, Maldonado made a 34-yard field goal.
"He was the guy at that time and you know, he didn't hesitate," Helfrich said. "He's been doing a really nice job in practice and went out there and got us some big points right when we needed it."