EUGENE, Ore. (AP) — As Stanford's game-winning field goal tumbled through the goal posts, Oregon running back Kenjon Barner fell to his knees in dejection. With a clear path to the BCS championship game, the speedy Ducks slipped up.
A 17-14 loss in overtime to the No. 14 Stanford denied top-ranked Oregon a chance to clinch the Pac-12 North's spot in the conference championship game. And it put a bid for a national championship nearly out of reach.
"I told those guys that it's tough, things aren't always going to go your way. That's life. That's football" coach Chip Kelly said after the game. "I don't fault them for their effort. It hurts so bad because they invested so much as a group. "
Stanford players rushed the field after Jordan Williamson's 37-yard field goal in overtime to win it.
If both Stanford and Oregon win in their final games next weekend, both will finish with one conference loss, which means Stanford will win the head-to-head matchup and go to the Pac-12 championship for a chance to play in the Rose Bowl.
After winning its fifth straight, Stanford (9-2, 7-1) will play its finale next weekend at No. 17 UCLA, which defeated No. 21 USC 38-28 earlier in the day to claim the Pac-12 South. Oregon (10-1, 7-1) will play Oregon State in the annual Civil War rivalry game in Corvallis.
"As I told our guys, we don't get a trophy for this game," Stanford coach David Shaw said. "All we did was put ourselves in a good position and no we have to go play a really good UCLA team next week."
If Stanford beats UCLA, the Cardinal and Bruins will play a week later in Northern California for the Pac-12 title. If UCLA wins and Oregon beats Oregon State, the Ducks will host UCLA on Nov. 30.
The loss snapped a 13-game winning streak for the Ducks, which was the longest in the nation coming into Saturday.
Oregon's loss, coupled with No. 2 Kansas State's 52-24 loss to Baylor, means third-ranked Notre Dame is now the lone unbeaten team in the race for the BCS title game. Kansas State and Oregon were the 1-2 teams in the BCS standings.
The Fighting Irish control their national championship run, with No. 4 Alabama and a couple of other Southeastern Conference teams also in the thick of it.
Oregon was the only Pac-12 team that Stanford hadn't defeated over the past two seasons.
Last year, Stanford was ranked No. 3 and looking toward its own national championship bid with quarterback Andrew Luck when then-No. 6 Oregon visited Palo Alto and emerged with a 53-30 victory. Running back LaMichael James, who would join Luck's NFL draft class in the spring, ran for 146 yards and three touchdowns.
The year before, Oregon defeated the Cardinal and Luck 52-31 in an early October hurdle en route to an undefeated regular season and an appearance in the BCS title game against Auburn.
"They beat us last year when we were knocking on the door. So it feels kind of good to get that feeling back," Stanford tight end Zach Ertz said.
In both seasons, Oregon went on to win the conference titles. The Ducks have won three straight Pac-12 championships.
"It hurts, it really does, but the guys in the locker room have done a good job of helping me keep my head up," Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota said. "It's not an easy one to swallow but there's another game on the horizon."