STANFORD, Calif. —Toby Gerhart bowled over the Oregon defense to make the Cardinal bowl eligible for the first time in eight years.
Gerhart ran for a school-record 223 yards and three scores, Andrew Luck threw for two touchdowns and Stanford held on to beat No. 7 Oregon 51-42 Saturday for its all-important sixth win of the season.
The loss by Oregon (7-2, 5-1 Pac-10) just a week after beating Southern California 47-20 opened up the conference race and cost the Ducks any shot at a berth in the Bowl Championship Series title game.
Oregon rallied with two late touchdowns to cut a 20-point lead down to six, but Stanford (6-3, 5-2) recovered an onside kick with 2:38 to go and tacked on Nate Whitaker's third field goal with 11 seconds left. The students rushed the field as the game ended.
The Cardinal snapped a seven-game losing streak against Oregon with perhaps its most meaningful win in coach Jim Harbaugh's three seasons on The Farm. Stanford had lost in its past five games with a chance to become eligible for a bowl and now are in position to play a postseason game for the first time since Tyrone Willingham's final year in 2001.
Marecic was out of position on Oregon's first touchdown as James burst up the middle untouched for a 60-yard score. The Ducks got their other first-half score on a 29-yard pass from Masoli to Jeff Maehl one play after Gerhart lost a fumble.