Ducks Extend Run over Huskies to Seven

EUGENE, Ore. ( – Running back LaMichael James felt it, and so did the rest of the top-ranked Ducks.

There was something inexplicably amiss at the start of Oregon’s 53-16 victory over northwest rival Washington on Saturday. Something completely out of character for the nation’s most prolific offense.

“I don’t know, it was something. We weren’t really playing up to standards the first two quarters,’‘ said James. “Our tempo wasn’t good, I was having some mishaps and other players were having some mishaps. Sometimes you’re going to have those games.’‘

The Ducks (9-0, 6-0 Pac-10) were held scoreless in the first quarter for the first time this season. Their first points came on a 29-yard field goal early in the second quarter.

Of course they went on to thoroughly recover, outscoring Washington 35-10 in the second half. James ran for 121 yards and three touchdowns, while Darron Thomas threw for a score and ran for two more.

Oregon offensive coordinator Mark Helfrich described the start as “weird.’‘

“I don’t know what to attribute that to,’‘ he said.

Redshirt freshman Keith Price made his first career start for Washington (3-6, 2-4) in place of Jake Locker, who watched from the sidelines with a broken rib. Price held his own, completing 14 of 28 passes for 127 yards and a touchdown.

He had only completed five of nine attempts going into the game. He threw a touchdown pass on his only play from scrimmage in a 32-31 victory on the road against on Oct. 2.

“I think I played OK,’‘ Price said. “There were a lot of balls I normally make that I didn’t make. That was me being too anxious and excited. I needed to settle down a little bit.’‘

There were questions about how Price would handle the noisy Autzen Stadium crowd, which on Saturday was announced at 60,017 – the largest in the stadium’s history.

The yellow-clad throng was not treated to Oregon’s usual offensive intensity at the start.

After Oregon opened the scoring with Rob Beard’s field goal, Erik Folk’s 52-yard attempt for Washington went wide left. But Folk made another 52-yarder later in the quarter to tie the game at 3.

James finally got a touchdown for the Ducks midway through the second quarter with a 1-yard run. Beard ran in the 2-point conversion.

“I know everyone was just expecting us to come out (fast),’‘ Thomas said. “I was just trying to tell them ‘Just calm down,’ because even the team was ‘What’s going on, man, what’s going on,’ and I was like, ‘It’s going to be all right.’‘’

Before halftime Thomas ran 34 yards for a score to make it 18-3. Washington appeared to narrow it with less than a minute left with Price’s 16-yard scoring pass to Devin Aguilar, but it was called back by a penalty, and the Huskies settled for a Folk’s 27-yard field goal to make it 18-6 at the break.

“We are human,’‘ James said. “Everybody might not think we are because we score so many points, but you’re going to have adversity when you’re playing football. You just have to overcome that.’‘

Oregon did overcome it in the second half.

After Price threw a 17-yard scoring pass to D’Andre Goodwin to make it 18-13 at the start of the second half, the Ducks answered with Thomas’ 6-yard scoring pass to Jeff Maehl.

Oregon attempted a 26-field goal but Nate Costa bobbled the hold and tried to run it. Costa, Thomas’ backup at quarterback, was knocked out of bounds near Washington’s bench and appeared to injure his right knee. He left the field on a cart.

There was no immediate word on Costa’s condition after the game.

James ran 13 yards for a touchdown before Thomas scored on a 7-yard dash to close out the third quarter. James added a 1-yard scoring run early in the fourth.

James, a sophomore and the nation’s rushing leader, has run for 30 TDs at Oregon. He has 16 games with at least 100 yards.

Kenjon Barner, who had missed the past two games after sustaining a concussion against Washington State, ran 30 yards for a touchdown with 4:34 left.

Oregon, as usual, wore the Huskies out.

“We were exhausted,’‘ coach Steve Sarkisian said. “We didn’t help (our guys) offensively. We didn’t sustain drives on offense to give our defense a rest. The game got in their control where they like it so they can go fast and wear you out.’‘

Thomas completed 24 of 33 passes for 243 yards. He ran for 89 yards.

Oregon coach Chip Kelly brushed off the first-half issues.

“You don’t get a trophy after halftime. You don’t get a trophy after the third quarter. … We don’t look at the scoreboard until the end of the game,’‘ Kelly said.

Washington has lost four of their last five games.

The Huskies lead the series against Oregon 58-40-5, but the Ducks have won the last seven games, all by 20 or more points. Last season Oregon won 43-19 at Husky Stadium.

Washington had not faced a top-ranked team since 2007, when it lost to 27-24.

Oregon visits California next Saturday, before wrapping up the season against Arizona and at Oregon State.

The Huskies host then finish on the road against Cal and Washington State.

Game Notes

No. 1 Oregon vs. Washington • Nov. 6, 2010 • Eugene, Ore. (Autzen Stadium)

• SO RB LaMichael James moved into third place on Oregon’s career rushing list with 2,877 yards after his 26-carry, 121-yard performance. The 100-yard effort was his seventh of the season and extended his school record with the 16th of his career.
• SR WR Jeff Maehl broke into the top 10 list for career receiving yards and ranks ninth all-time at UO with 1,981. Maehl caught a touchdown for the seventh straight game and extended his string of games with at least one reception to 30, finishing with game-highs of seven catches for 71 yards.
• SO Cliff Harris, making his third consecutive start at cornerback had a 79-yard punt return and 47-yard kickoff return, both personal bests. The kickoff return was UO’s longest of the season until FR WR Josh Huff returned one for 80 yards early in the third quarter, setting up the Ducks’ third TD of the day.
• With three rushing scores, James has 31 career touchdowns running the ball, surpassing Jeremiah Johnson (30, 2005-08) for second all-time at Oregon.
• James has scored a touchdown in all eight games he’s played this season.
• Oregon increased its record winning streak against UW to seven straight – all by 20 or more points – dating to 2004.
• UO’s senior class equaled the school record for most wins by any class in history (38, 1998-2001).
• The Ducks are 9-0 to start the year for the first time in 115 seasons. The nine-win streak is tied for the fourth longest in team history (1932-33).
• SO K Rob Beard scored the first non-kicking points of his career, running in a 2-point after UO’s first TD.
• SO QB Darron Thomas set a new career mark for completions with 24 and equaled his career mark for attempts with 33. He had 332 yards of total offense (243 pass, 89 rush).
• As a team, the Ducks set season-highs with six rushing touchdowns and five quarterback sacks.
• UO also had season-highs of 10 penalties for 107 yards.
• Oregon set a new Autzen Stadium and State of Oregon attendance record with a crowd of 60,017, marking the team’s 73rd consecutive sellout, which dates to 1999.
• SO RB Kenjon Barner, who returned to action after missing two games due to injury, scored his first rushing touchdown since running for four in the season opener vs. New Mexico.
• Thomas tied a career-high with two rushing scores.
• The Ducks led a game in time of possession for the second time this year and first since the opener vs. New Mexico.
• Oregon has led for every minute of the 4th quarter this season with the smallest lead being 7 points for a total of five seconds at the beginning of the period vs. Stanford.
• With another 4th-quarter shutout, Oregon has outscored the opposition 87-7 in nine games this season.
• UO has scored 50 or more points for the third straight game and sixth time on the year.
• The Ducks were held scoreless in the 1st quarter for the first time this season.
• UO failed to force a turnover for the first time this season.
• Oregon’s four fumbles (two lost) were a season-high.
• The Ducks had four touchdown drives of five plays or fewer, giving them 29 such drives out of 58 TD drives on the season.
• Oregon allowed only its fourth sack of the season.
• With 492 points through nine games, the Ducks have already set a new 11-game scoring mark (previously 459 in 2008).
• After scoring the final 24 points of last week’s game at , the Ducks scored the final 28 vs. UW.
• Oregon improved to 21-3 in Pac-10 play since the start of the 2008 season.
• UO has won 15 straight games at Autzen.
• The Ducks are now 14-0 when leading at the half and 18-0 when leading after three quarters under Chip Kelly.

Updated 11-07-2010

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