Ducks Shut Stanford Out in Second Half

Just when panic was about to set in for the Oregon fans, the Ducks found a way to revive and come surging back. While they fell behind 21-3 early, Oregon clawed its way back to a 31-24 deficit at halftime, and then in the second half, blew the Cardinal out to win 52-31. All in a day's work.

(PHOTO) The Oregon defense swarms to the ball against a Stanford runner on Saturday night at Autzen Stadium Oregon won the game 52-31 in front of 59,818 in attendance. (Photo by Chris Wilson)

"We played really hard tonights," said Oregon Head Coach Chip Kelly. "We can't take anything away from how Stanford competed against us. That is a great team who put us down early. We did a great job overcoming adversity tonight.

The Ducks relied on the most solid game to date for quarterback Darron Thomas, throwing for 238 yards and three touchdowns, plus running for 117 yards and another touchdown.

"He did a tremendous job," Kelly said of his sophomore signal caller. "He doesn't get rattled. He can run the ball. We can put those rumors to bed that he can't run a football."

Thomas had great control over the offense and shows skills not seen since Dennis Dixon wore No. 10 a few years ago. Thomas had help of course, namely from sophomore running back LaMichael James, who blasted Stanford for 257 yards and three touchdowns, including his last carry of 76 yards and a score.

"I felt that I hit on all cylinders tonight," evaluated James of his own performance. "I played with a lot more energy than I did the last couple games."

Thomas spread the ball around to five receivers. Drew Davis had six catches for 64 yards and his first touchdown of the year on a sweet 25-yarder from Thomas. Josh Huff got into the scoring column too when one of his five catches (64 yards) found him open and in the end zone after covering 41 yards. Lavasier Tuinei also have five catches for 47 yards and Jeffery Maehl scored on one of his three catches. David Paulson also pulled one pass in for 13 yards.

"He is a leader every week," observed James of Thomas. "He leads our team every day. When he throws a pick, he bounces back. Darron made great reads and keyed a lot of things for the offense with his running today. The thing about him is that he is happier when someone else scores a touchdown than when he does."

Stanford's Andrew Luck was everything promised as he threw for 341 yards on 29-of-46, two touchdowns but gave up two interceptions. That maybe the real story of the game -- the Oregon defense.

The Ducks looked very vulnerable in the first half, after giving up a long run for touchdown by Stepfan Taylor. Yet the Ducks kept their composure and continued to put pressure on Luck. Oregon trailed at halftime 31-24. In the second half Oregon stiffened up on the Stanford's first possession and caused Stanford to punt. A kick catching interference call placed the ball on Oregon's 32 and the Duck offense took care of the rest to tie the game at 31. On Stanford's next possession, the Ducks recovered a fumble by Chris Owusu after a ferocious hit by Javes Lewis. Safety Eddie Pleasant picked up the fumble and raced back toward the Stanford goal line, but step out of bounds on the Stanford 3. The game was halted for a few minutes as Stanford team trainers tended to Owusu lay motionless on the ground. He eventually was able to walk off the field under his own power, but did not return to the game.

From the Stanford 3, the UO offense scored when James plowed his way into the end zone. The Ducks never looked back. Stanford's next possession ended with a Cliff Harris interception. Though the Oregon drive stalled, Stanford was unable to take advantage of and punted after just three plays including a five-yard sack of Luck by Kenny Rowe. Just before the end of the third quarter ended Thomas hit D.J. Davis for a score and the rout was on.

"We are always confident as a group that if we continue to do what we do, it will pay off for us," said senior defensive tackle Brandon Bair of the Duck defense. "We moved fast to the ball today."

Stanford made an impressive drive that went all the way to the Oregon 2-yard line but Luck mishandled the ball and fumbled. Luck recovered the ball on the Oregon 6 and with fourth and goal, trailing by 14 the Cardinal went for it, but Luck's pass to Zack Ertz was batted away by Anthony Gildon falling harmlessly onto the turf.

Harris made up for a fumble of kickoff in the first quarter that led to a score by picking off Luck for a second time with only 2:14 left in the game. The Ducks rammed into the Stanford defense two more times until James broke off a 76-yard to paydirt.

"He just had a good hit on me and it came out," Harris said of the first quarter fumble. "I couldn't dwell on it. Short term memory, I forgot it happened and just moved on."

Talmadge Jackson III led Oregon tacklers with 11 tackles (three solos. Pleasant had 10 tackles (two solos). Casey Matthews had nine tackles (two solos) and in fact no Duck defender had more than four solo tackles (recorded by Spencer Paysinger) and 23 players were involved in tackling.

Rob Beard kicked a field goal of 22 yards, seven point afters, and one huge on-side kick recovery. Punter Jackson Rice was only used twice with a long of 43.

Oregon finished the game with 626 yards of offense (388 rushing, s38 passing). Stanford had 518 yards total offense (177/341). Oregon was penalized five times and Stanford was flagged nine times. Stanford had the ball for nearly 33 and half minutes while the Ducks had the ball just over 26 and half minutes. Both teams turned the ball over twice on interceptions and both lost one fumble.

The Ducks have defeated the most imposing figure of a team on the schedule. They are ranked No. 4 in the country and could very well move up after this impressive victory. Kelly isn't having any of it though. The coach was asked several questions about standings and upcoming opponents. He wasn't aware that Washington had beaten USC 32-31 at the LA Coliseum. Upon hearing the news Kelly said, "that's interesting but we don't play them next week, we play WSU."

After all, it is one game at a time. Day-to-day. At least for Saturday night, the Ducks can enjoy the fact they are 5-0, 2-0 in the Pac-10. Tomorrow the Ducks full attention will be on Washington State.

Notes: • James' 257 yards is a career high as were the 31 carries he is also in the top-10 moving into tenth on UO's career rushing list with 2,258 yards. He has eclipsed 200-yards in two of four games this season.
• James' 76-yard TD run in the fourth quarter was a career-long and his second score of 70 or more yards this season.
• James has scored at least one touchdown in all four games he's played in this season and has 21 in 17 career games.
• Thomas rushed for a career-high 117 yards and a touchdown
• With three catches, Maehl now has 122 for his career, tying Terry Obee (1986-89) for 10th all-time at Oregon.
• Maehl has made at least one catch in 26 straight games.
• Oregon trailed at the half for the first time in 2010.
• Davis had career-highs of six catches and 64 yards while adding a 25-yard touchdown.
• UO's 283 points to date are the most for a five-game stretch in school history, besting the 253 over the first five games of the 1998 season.
• The Ducks did not allow a point after halftime and have not allowed a point in the fourth quarter of any game this season. UO has surrendered only seven second-half points this season.
• After a touchdown brought UO within 21-10, the Ducks successfully executed an onside kick for the first time since a 2006 home win vs. Oklahoma.
• The victory for UO was its tenth straight against a Pac-10 team at Autzen Stadium. The last conference loss came in the 2007 Civil War.
• Overall, the Ducks have won 13 consecutive home games in Eugene.
• Stanford has lost eight of its last nine games against Oregon, including five straight at Autzen.
• Oregon is 5-0 for the first time since 2002.
• The Ducks have nine scoring plays of 60-yards or longer this season.
• JR TE David Paulson now has 21 career receptions, 19 resulting in either a first down or a touchdown.
• The Ducks improved to 8-0 when scoring first in the Chip Kelly era.

Official Statistics

eDuck Top Stories