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  • COLLEGE FOOTBALL

    Oregon shifts its focus to Utah

    Dangerous Utes own upset over Stanford
  • Oregon was back on the football field for practice on Monday as it tried to shake off a loss to Stanford and prepare for a visit from Utah.
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  • Oregon was back on the football field for practice on Monday as it tried to shake off a loss to Stanford and prepare for a visit from Utah.
    "There's a little lingering sludge of the hangover from the loss," Oregon coach Mark Helfrich said. "I thought the guys as a group responded well and finished strong today. It is all systems Utah from here on out."
    Oregon started the season 8-0 and was in the mix for a trip to the BCS Championship game, but the 26-20 loss to Stanford severely hurt those hopes as Oregon fell from third to sixth in the BCS standings.
    "It's one game," sophomore quarterback Marcus Mariota said. "One game doesn't define our season. We will continue to keep chopping away and eventually pick our heads up in December and figure out where we are at."
    Junior running back De'Anthony Thomas said he had no worries about the Ducks moving past the disappointing loss.
    "It's not that hard," he said. "We still have a lot to play for."
    During Oregon's eight-game winning streak to begin his coaching tenure, Helfrich often talked about staying focused on the next game instead of thinking about what could happen down the road. That remains the plan after a loss.
    "Our guys believe 100 percent in our process," Helfrich said. "We got beat by a very good team. You look at what we did well, what we didn't and try to do more of the former than the latter and move on. The key to winning a bunch in a row or not losing a lot in a row is trusting the process."
    Utah is 4-5 overall and 1-5 in conference play, but that win came over Stanford. The Utes led South Division-leading Arizona State 19-7 in the fourth quarter before being outscored 13-0 in a 20-19 loss.
    "Utah is really good," Helfrich said. "They have been in a ton of close games and had a couple blowouts in their favor. They have had a couple really tight games including last week when they had Arizona State beat for 31/2 quarters."
    Loss to Stanfordbrings out doubters
    Oregon's second straight loss to Stanford, along with past losses to Southeastern Conference powers Auburn and LSU, has national pundits questioning whether Oregon is tough enough to beat physical teams.
    "I'm not in the national-perception business," Helfrich said. "We have to figure out how we can do our deal better.
    "That is a combination of everything. It's coaches, schemes, players, assignments, tackling. There are so many things that go into that and in a condensed game like that, everything gets magnified."
    Mariota said the Ducks weren't worried about the national noise.
    "It's people's opinions and we don't really care about what other people think," he said. "We will continue to fight and see where we are at in December."
    Thomas fine afterfirst full game back
    Thomas had six rushes for 30 yards and four catches for 45 yards against Stanford in his first full game in more than a month. He injured his ankle on the opening kickoff against California and missed three games before returning against UCLA, but he sat out the second half against the Bruins.
    "I'm feeling great," Thomas said on Monday.
    Thomas lined up more at slot receiver against Stanford than he did early in the season and had a season high in catches. He said he hopes to continue playing more at recevier, which he considers his best position at the professional level.
    "I love running routes, catching the ball, and I love making people miss in space," he said.
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