STANFORD — Stanford crushed Oregon's national championship hopes again. Florida State might want to send the Cardinal a thank you card.
Tyler Gaffney ran for 157 yards and No. 6 Stanford hammered No. 2 Oregon for three quarters, then held off a furious rally by the Ducks to beat them for a second straight season, 26-20 on Thursday night.
Kevin Hogan ran for a touchdown and played a mistake-free game for Stanford (8-1, 6-1 Pac-12). The Cardinal put on a clinic in how to play keep away from a team that was averaging 55.6 points.
Stanford ran 66 times for 274 yards — sometimes behind as many as nine offensive linemen — and held the ball for 42 minutes.
Heisman Trophy contender Marcus Mariota was inaccurate and under pressure much of the night, but he threw two fourth-quarter touchdown passes, sandwiched around a blocked field goal return for a score by Rodney Hardrick, to pull the Ducks (8-1, 5-1) to 26-20 with 2:12 left.
Oregon couldn't recover a second onside kick and Stanford ran out the clock.
And the biggest winner of all? No. 3 Florida State. The Seminoles don't have to worry about the Ducks nudging them out of second place in the BCS standings.
FSU was in danger of slipping to third in the BCS if Oregon could have registered a big road victory against a quality opponent. Now, the Seminoles face a manageable remaining schedule with a good chance to win their way to the BCS championship game at the Rose Bowl in January.
Unbeaten Baylor and Ohio State have to be happy, too, with one less hurdle to clear.
As for Stanford, it gets first place in the Pac-12 North and the inside track to another league title game. And maybe if things get really weird, the Cardinal can get back in the title hunt.