STANFORD, Calif. — Before the season, we all knew Oregon’s depth at quarterback was awful.
We just didn’t know it would be this bad.
True freshman Braxton Burmeister started again Saturday and completed just 3 of 7 passes for 23 yards, no touchdowns and two interceptions.
That’s right, he completed just one more pass to his Oregon teammates than he did to Stanford defenders, and the Ducks lost 49-7.
BOX SCORE: No. 23 Stanford 49, Oregon 7
In the second half, Oregon coach Willie Taggart benched Burmeister and brought in senior Taylor Alie at quarterback, and it wasn’t much better.
Alie completed 2 of 5 passes for 10 yards, with no touchdowns and no interceptions.
Combined, Burmeister and Alie completed just 5 of 12 passes for 33 yards, no touchdowns and two interceptions.
The passing game was nonexistent.
As good as Oregon’s running game is — 276 yards against Stanford — the Ducks will not win without a functional passing game.
It’s difficult to see how they will get any consistency at the quarterback position with Burmeister and Alie.
The best thing Oregon can do is continue to throw Burmeister out there and let him grow. As much as fans don’t want to hear it, this is a rebuilding season for the Ducks.
When Justin Herbert went down with a broken collarbone, it forced Oregon’s hand, and now the No. 1 goal is to get Burmeister to a point where he can win Pac-12 games, because he’s far from that now.
The reality is that the Ducks have scored just 17 points combined in the past two games. The other painful reality for Oregon fans is that the Ducks cannot win until Herbert comes back.
FULL GAME STORY
Big game for Love leads No. 23 Stanford paset Oregon 49-7
By Josh Dubow, Associated Press
With Stanford getting another late-night start, Bryce Love made sure to impress any Heisman Trophy voters who were watching before the clock struck midnight on the East Coast.
Love needed less than five minutes to reach the 100-yard rushing mark for the ninth consecutive game as he used another big run to fuel No. 23 Stanford's 49-7 victory over Oregon on Saturday.
Love's 67-yard touchdown run just 4:23 in was his second touchdown of the game, and the nation's leading rusher finished with 147 yards on 17 carries to help the Cardinal (5-2, 4-1 Pac-12) win their fourth straight.
"You love to see it every time," center Jesse Burkett said. "It never gets old. It's so much fun playing in front of that guy."
Love has 1,387 yards through seven games despite carrying just once in the second half this week after getting banged up. Stanford coach David Shaw said there was no reason to put Love back in with the score so lopsided.
"As soon as he went down, with the score the way that it was, I never really considered putting him back in," Shaw said. "He already had played really well. He had already done what he does, which is break long runs."
Keller Chryst threw two of his three touchdown passes to JJ Arcega-Whiteside, and Brandon Simmons returned a blocked punt by Curtis Robinson for another touchdown as Stanford overpowered the Ducks (4-3, 1-3).
Royce Freeman ran for 143 yards for Oregon, but the Ducks had no passing game behind Braxton Burmeister and lost for the third time in four games. Oregon had its lowest-scoring game since getting shut out by UCLA on Nov. 24, 2007.
"We just came out here today and didn't execute like we needed to at the quarterback position," coach Willie Taggart said. "We needed to play a little better than what we did."
Love started his day by racing 34 yards on his first carry and capped the opening drive with a 5-yard score. He then took a pitch on the first play of the next drive and outran the Oregon defense for the long touchdown that gave him a run of at least 50 yards in a ninth straight game.
OREGON: The Ducks' offense took a big hit when quarterback Justin Herbert broke his collarbone two weeks ago against California. Oregon scored just 10 points last week and had no passing threat at all this week with Burmeister. Stanford caught more passes (two) from Burmeister than his own teammates (one) did in the first 39 minutes. Burmeister finished 3 of 8 for 23 yards with the two INTs before being replaced by Taylor Alie late in the third quarter.
STANFORD: Chryst was sharp for the Cardinal, teaming often with Arcega-Whiteside for big plays, starting with a 34-yarder on the opening drive. The two hooked up for a pair of TDs and almost had a third but a pass late in the first half deflected off Arcega-Whiteside's hands and went right to Deommodore Lenoir for an interception in the end zone. Chryst finished 15 of 21 for 181 yards.
Stanford had been waiting three weeks to try a trick play that finally paid off when receiver Jay Tyler threw a 16-yard pass to third-string quarterback Ryan Burns. That one play eclipsed Oregon's passing total through the first three quarters.
"They were at that point where they were starting to roll their eyes when I installed it, saying, 'Coach, you're never going to call it,'" Shaw said. "It's one of those things you work on week after week so you work out all the kinks."
RUN, RABBIT RUN
Perhaps the only thing tougher to contain than Love was a rabbit that got loose on the field in the first quarter, leading to a brief delay. The rabbit ran through the end zone before finally being caught on the Oregon sideline.
"For some, that might have been the highlight of the night," Shaw said. "I'm convinced that's the same jackrabbit I see about three times a week over by Maples (Pavilion). He just hangs out over there, doesn't seem to bother anybody. I guess he got lost. That was a nice diversion today."
The Cardinal could move up a bit in the poll after their fourth straight win.
OREGON: Visits UCLA on Saturday.
STANFORD: Visits Oregon State on Oct. 26.