Call it a blue print or a formula for success, whatever it was Stanford had found a way to slow down Oregon the past two seasons as no other team to face the Ducks.
Without the power running to control the clock and unable to bully the Oregon offense up front, the Cardinal ended up like so many other teams to come to Autzen Stadium — left in the dust by the Ducks.
Marcus Mariota threw for 258 yards and two touchdowns and ran for two more scores in fifth-ranked Oregon's 45-16 victory Saturday night.
Thomas Tyner returned from an injury to run for two touchdowns to help the Ducks (8-1, 5-1 Pac-12, No. 5 CFP) snap a two-game losing streak to the Cardinal.
Consecutive victories against the Ducks had paved the way for consecutive Pac-12 titles for the Cardinal (5-4, 3-3). Their chances of a third straight are gone now.
"We ran into a buzz saw today," Stanford coach David Shaw.
In the previous two games against Oregon, Stanford had allowed a total of 34 points. The Ducks had 24 at the half Saturday.
Stanford's stout defense had not allowed an opponent more than 30 points in a string of 31 games, the longest streak in the nation. The Cardinal (5-4, 3-3) had allowed just four total rushing touchdowns through the season's first eight games; Oregon finished with four.
"We just couldn't get that momentum changed, get that stop that we needed to get," linebacker Blake Martinez said.
Stanford's offense hasn't packed the same punch this season, so it has shifted to a more spread out style, relying on Kevin Hogan's arm and legs. The Cardinal moved the ball well at times, but as has been the case most of the season drive stalled in plus territory.
They get touchdowns and you get field goals, it becomes a pretty simple game of math," Shaw said. "You can't keep up. For us, we had opportunities we just didn't convert down in the red zone on third down."
Hogan threw for 237 yards and was Stanford's leading rusher with 42 yards, but he was intercepted deep in Ducks' territory in the third quarter and lost a fumble while scrambling early in the fourth quarter when the Cardinal were down 31-16. Mariota quickly converted that turnover into a 7-yard touchdown run and that was pretty much it for the Cardinal.
All of Stanford's losses have come to teams that were ranked at the time.
The Cardinal defense had allowed opponents an average of just 250.6 yards a game. Opponents were only averaging 12.5 points. Playing without starting safety Zach Hoffpauir, Stanford allowed 525 yards in total offense.
The Ducks efficiently marched down the field on their first series, scoring on Mariota's 6-yard scoring pass to true freshman Charles Nelson. Stanford narrowed it on its opening possession with Jordan Williamson's 47-yard field goal.
Mariota faked a handoff and instead ran untouched for 22 yards into the end zone to give the Ducks a 14-3 lead. Stanford countered with Williamson's 43-yard field goal.
Tyner muscled his way into the end zone for a 1-yard scoring run to put the Ducks up 21-6.
After Aidan Schneider kicked a 40-yard field goal for the Ducks, Stanford's Patrick Skov got into the end zone on a 1-yard touchdown run to make it 24-13 at halftime.
Stanford was driving early in the third quarter when Erick Dargan intercepted Kevin Hogan's pass at the 1. Stanford's Alex Carter intercepted Mariota's was on Oregon's ensuing series and the Cardinal went on to score on Williamson's 25-yard field goal to narrow it to 24-16.
In 2012, Oregon was ranked No. 1 when the 14th-ranked Cardinal came to Autzen and shocked the Ducks 17-14 on Williamson's 37-yard field goal in overtime.
Last season, the stakes were high on both sides, when the No. 5 Cardinal piled up a 26-0 lead after three quarters then held off a frenzied fourth-quarter rally by the No. 3 Ducks to escape with a 26-20 victory. It was later revealed that Mariota was playing injured, and Oregon would go on to drop another game to Arizona and miss out on a BCS bowl for the first time in four seasons.
With Mariota 100 percent this time, Stanford couldn't come up with the right combination.
"I told Marcus after the game that he's just phenomenal," Shaw said. "You put pressure on him and he doesn't feel it. He escapes the pocket, throws the ball down the field. He's special."
AP Sports Writer Anne M. Peterson contributed to this report.(backslash)