EUGENE, Ore. (AP)—Jonathan Stewart promised he’d have a big season, and the Oregon running back got off to a good start against Stanford.
Stewart ran for 168 yards and two touchdowns, then left with a right ankle injury, as the 21st-ranked Ducks beat the Cardinal 48-10 in a Pac-10 game Saturday.
“I got the rock and did whatever I did to win,” Stewart said.
Oregon coach Mike Bellotti said Stewart has a lateral sprain, but would be ready for next week’s game at Fresno State. The sophomore was wearing a boot to protect the ankle—injured late in the third quarter—after the game.
“I’ll be fine,” Stewart said. “I was cutting to the left for a first down and someone landed on me.”
Stewart rushed for 188 yards in 10 games last season, and vowed he’d return with a breakout season.
Against Stanford, he had plenty of help. Dennis Dixon threw for a score and ran for another, completing 21-of-30 passes for 236 yards.
“We got a whole lot of people here, and a whole lot of weapons,” Dixon said. “But there’s only one ball to go around.”
Stanford’s Trent Edwards completed 20-of-34 passes for 224 yards and a touchdown. Mark Bradford had nine catches for 108 yards.
“This was a real humbling experience. We need to go back to the drawing board,” Bradford said. “I expect more out of this offense.”
Stewart scored from a yard out to make it 10-3 for the Ducks early in the second quarter. Dixon’s 15-yard scoring pass to Jaison Williams upped the lead.
Stanford answered with Edwards’ 26-yard TD pass to Bradford.
Stewart scored again on a 3-yard run and Paul Martinez added a 24-yard field goal to make it 27-10 at halftime.
Dixon’s 2-yard keeper put Oregon up 34-10 midway through the third quarter.
Aaron Zagory missed a 32-yard field goal attempt that would have narrowed it, before the Ducks scored on Jeremiah Johnson’s 2-yard run.
Finally, Oregon blocked Zagory’s 37-yard field goal attempt in the fourth quarter and it was scooped up by linebacker A.J. Tutele, who ran it back 72 yards for the score.
“That hurts, it makes it look worse,” Stanford coach Walt Harris said.
The game was originally scheduled for October, but the Pac-10 instituted a full round-robin conference schedule, forcing Stanford to chose between 12 straight games or the opener at Oregon.
Later, the Big Game against California was rescheduled for Dec. 2, giving the Cardinal a late bye.
Oregon had not opened against a conference opponent since 1997. Stanford opened against Washington State in 2000.
Oregon finished 10-2 last season, its best record since 2001. The Ducks were second in the Pac-10 behind Southern California with a 7-1 mark and suffered their only regular season loss to the Trojans. The Ducks lost 17-14 to Oklahoma in the Holiday Bowl.
Oregon got a big game on defense from the player replacing All-American defensive tackle Haloti Ngata. Juco transfer Jeremy Gibbs recorded a sack, a blocked kick and caused a fumble.
The crowd of 58,450 at Autzen was a record for an opener and the fourth-largest ever.