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Oregon players moving on after first loss

The SportsXchange

EUGENE, Ore. -- Stanford likely ended Oregon's hopes at playing in the BCS Championship game for the second year in a row, but the Ducks say there is still plenty of season left to play.

"It's one game and one game doesn't define our season," sophomore quarterback Marcus Mariota said. "We will continue to chop away and eventually pick our heads up in December and figure out where we are at."

Oregon would likely have moved up to No. 2 in the BCS Standings with a win over Stanford and the Ducks may have remained there if they won their final three games, but instead a 26-20 loss at Stanford knocked Oregon down to sixth in the standings at 8-1. The loss also likely cost Oregon a shot at winning the Pac-12 title as the Cardinal now lead the North Division and hold the tiebreaker over the Ducks.

"It's not that hard to get over the loss," Oregon junior running back De'Anthony Thomas said. "We still have a lot to play for."

Oregon will still likely get invited to a BCS bowl for the fifth year in a row if it wins its final three games and the Ducks will be favored in each game.

Oregon had a little extra time to get over the loss after playing on a Thursday night against Stanford. The Ducks returned to practice Monday to prepare for a home game against Utah on Saturday.

"There's a little lingering sludge of the hangover from the loss," Oregon coach Mark Helfrich said after Monday's practice. "I thought our guys as a group responded well and finished strong. It is all-systems Utah from here on out."

Helfrich said that win or lose, Oregon prepares each week in the same manner.

"Our guys believe 100 percent in our process," Helfrich said. "We got beat by a very good team and we will 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 of games in a row or not losing a lot in a row is trusting your process."

NOTES, QUOTES, PLAYERS TO WATCH

--QB Marcus Mariota played his first full game with a knee brace against Stanford and was held to minus-16 rushing yards as his left knee seemed to limit his running. He had 493 rushing yards on 49 carries in his first seven games and had at least one rushing touchdown in each game, but has gained yardage on only one rush since putting on the knee brace at halftime against Utah on Oct. 26.

"I'm not going to use that as an excuse," Mariota said. "My knee is what it is, it is not an excuse and I am not going to let it be an excuse."

--RB De'Anthony Thomas had a season-high four catches for 45 yards against Stanford after leading Oregon in receptions last year. Thomas was used as a slot receiver often last year, but began this season as the starting running back before Byron Marshall had five straight 100-yard games.

Thomas said he hopes to play more receiver this season.

"I love running routes, catching the ball, and love making people miss in space," he said.

--RB Byron Marshall ran for at least 100 yards in the first five conference games, but struggled against Stanford. He finished with 11 carries for 46 yards. With Thomas now playing more at receiver, Marshall looks like Oregon's feature back.

--S Brian Jackson had a career-high 14 tackles against Stanford. The senior had six solo tackles after not having more than six total tackles in any game this season. His previous career high in tackles was 10.
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