James' 227 Yards Equals "Worst Game Ever"

Saturday was a record-setting day for the 5th-ranked Oregon Ducks, as they made quick work of FCS-opponent Portland State. The game was particularly noteworthy for Oregon running back LaMichael James, who gashed the Vikings for a career high 227 yards rushing. Too bad it was his "worst game ever."

(PHOTO) LaMichael James (21) in action against Portland State on September 18, 2010 at Autzen Stadium in Eugene, Oregon against Portland State. Ducks won the game 69-0. (Photo by Chris Tschrigi).

In seemingly a blink of an eye, Oregon sophomore running back LaMichael James sprinted his way to a career high in rushing yards before the first half even ended. Much like sophomore running mate Kenjon Barner's performance to open the season against New Mexico, James' 227 rushing yards in the first half against Portland State on a rainy Saturday afternoon at Autzen Stadium was something to behold. In many ways, James can thank Barner for his career day, as Barner left the game in the first quarter with a strained groin which enabled James to receive the requisite carries necessary to pile up his gaudy yardage total. Shocking then it is to hear James and his coaches reflect upon the afternoon that the Texarkana, Tex. native had. In James' words, it was his worst day ever as a football player. Seriously.

"I feel like today was the worst game I ever played in my life," admitted James, who scored two touchdowns of 35 yards or more to go along with his career high rushing effort,

"I really was disappointed in the way that I played. I had a lot of yards, yeah, but I really didn't play that well. I've got to pick that up myself."

James wasn't downplaying his performance either. Oregon offensive coordinator Mark Helfrich echoed James' words, albeit in a much more constructive tone.

"I would say that this was actually an atypical day for LaMichael," said Helfrich. "I think he was trying to do a little bit too much at times instead of just hitting it, like on the first touchdown. He hit it right where it was designed to go and I don't think he got touched. Our guys did a great job of blocking that, but then he tried to get too -- I don't know what the word is -- 'playful', with some things that caused some things that shouldn't have been there."

Relatively harsh criticism considering that fact that James notched his 11th career 100-plus yard rushing game -- tying him for second all-time at Oregon behind Jonathan Stewart's 14. Additionally, his 227 yards this afternoon ranked 5th all-time in school history for rushing yards in a single game. However, for James, it was a matter of not playing with enough energy and passion that led to his "lackluster" day.

"I didn't play with a lot of enthusiasm and I really just didn't play that well," stated James,

"I think it was just me. I wouldn't say that I didn't take them very serious, but I didn't come out firing on all cylinders. I just wasn't the same guy that I was last week (against Tennessee) and I'm gonna fix that."

James set the tone for the Ducks' 69-0 romp over the Vikings from the first snap. The scoring rampage was kicked off 1:06 in to the game, as James compiled all 75 yards on Oregon's 3 play drive that concluded with James bolting 66 yards untouched to put the Ducks up 7-0. After the Ducks' climbed to a 21-0 to end the first stanza, James electrified the crowd a second time with a 35 yard touchdown run that put the Ducks up 28. James final touch of the day was a 52 yard scamper that flashed nearly every aspect of his tremendous athletic ability; spinning, darting, and cutting his way down the field before eventually being run out of bounds.

"You give that kid the slightest hole and he's going to make something happen," said Oregon center Jordan Holmes. "He's so elusive and he's so fast, that when he gets the smallest hole, he'll turn what should be a 2 yard gain in to a 50 yard gain."

"He's got outstanding speed and can hit home runs from anywhere on the field," said Oregon head coach Chip Kelly, who's offense rushed for a ridiculous 528 yards on Saturday afternoon -- shattering a school and stadium record before a 70th consecutive sellout at Autzen Stadium. "If he gets a crease and makes a decision not to dance around and just hit things like he did, then he's very dangerous."

Looking ahead, James insists he and his team have already put Portland State and his dismal showing in the rear view mirror; already focusing on Monday and the preparation that must be undertaken in order to defeat a game Arizona State Sun Devil bunch that put a scare in to the 11th ranked Wisconsin Badgers in Madison earlier in the day.

"You have to be perfect now," said James, "it's conference. Today we got away with a few gimmes and next week we're playing a great team like Arizona State and we probably won't be able to get away with that. For us as a team, as a whole, we need to really pick it up."


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