Ducks Continue Winning Streak

Eugene -- It took a while, but when the No. 1 ranked Oregon Ducks (9-0, 6-0) warmed up it was lights out, by beating arch-rival Washington Huskies, 53-16. The Ducks relied on stout defense, plus a timely re-awakening of a potent offense and an outstanding special teams performance to cancel any hopes the Huskies had of pulling off an upset.

(PHOTO) Quarterback Darron Thomas (1) in action against Washington during Oregon's 53-16 win. (Photo by Chris Wilson)

"You got to play a full game and we played a full 60-minutes," said Oregon Head Coach Chip Kelly. "I give Sark (Washington Head Coach Steve Sarkisian) a lot of credit. He had that team up and ready to play. I think eventually we wore them down, we have a little more depth than they do."

The win in front of a record crowd of 60,017 is Oregon's seventh straight win over Washington. The Huskies are now 3-6 for the season and 2-4 in Pac-10 play.

Oregon's offense sputtered through a scoreless first quarter but scored 18 in the second quarter highlighted by quarterback Darron Thomas' 34-yard touchdown run. Thomas seemed to have trouble a touch in hitting receivers, but after the touchdown gallop, he settled in and had a game in which he has shown growth as a player. Oregon scored 35 points in the second half.

"He missed a couple and he knew he wanted them back.," Kelly said of his star quarterback. "That's the great thing about Darron, he bounces back."

Thomas finished the day throwing for 243 yards on 24-for-33 with one touchdown to Jeffery Maehl and rushing for 89 net yards. Thomas would have broken 100-yards rushing for the second time of the year had it not been for two sacks that took away 13 yards.

Maehl ended with seven catches for 71 yards and a touchdown. Maehl has caught a touchdown for the seven straight game and extended his string of games with at least one reception to 30. Junior Lavasier Tuinei also had seven catches for 47 yards. Junior tight end had three grabs for 41 yards and Drew Davis had 57 yards on two catches.

"I don't know, maybe because I'm having a good little streak with touchdowns," said Maehl when asked about teammates calling him ‘moneyman' in the post-game lockerroom. "I'm just happy to come out with a win. We didn't play very well, made a lot of mistakes and penalties in the first half, but everybody picked up and played well in the second half."

LaMichael James had his eighth straight 100-yard rushing game this season (16th in his career) when he turned in a 121-yard performance scoring three times. Thomas may have led the team with the plays he was making but James' exuberance for the game seemed contagious. The more James got excited on the field the better his teammates played. James' highlight came in the 3rd quarter when James swept wide to the right. As he ran he pointed blocks out to his teammates, and ultimately kicked in his afterburners to out run the Husky defenders before he finally dove across the goal line for the touchdowns.

"I'm a pretty intense guy," James said of the play. "My teammates play off of that."

Sophomore running back Kenjon Barner made his first game appearance since he was knocked out against Washington State a month ago. Barner carried the ball nine times and gained 60 net yards including a 30-yard touchdown run. Senior Remene Alston also contributed 24 yards on six carries.

"It was a great feeling after not being able to touch the ball for three weeks," said Barner about making his first game appearance and scoring a touchdown.

The Duck offense looked like a machine in the second half while rolling up 522 yards including 279 yards on the ground. However, in the first half Oregon just could not get the engine to roll over as drives were stopped with costly penalties (10-107 yards), dropped passes and two lost fumbles. Fortunately for the Duck offense, the Duck defense had the Husky offense pretty well contained. Freshman quarterback Keith Price looked promising in his first start of his career, but too often the harassing Ducks put him into difficult positions.

"I was impressed," Kelly said of Price. "He's an athletic kid that keeps some drives alive with his feet."

Price had 127 yards on 14-of-28 and touchdown. He also scrambled and ran for 36 yards, but was sacked five times and lost 32 against his total rushing yards to net him four yards. Chris Polk was the Huskies leading rusher with 77 yards. Washington's sole touchdown was on a pass from Price to D'Andre Goodwin for 17 yards.

"I thought he battled and competed," said Sarkisian. "For his first start, on the road, in Autzen Stadium against the number-one team in the country - I'll take his effort."

Defensively, Oregon was led in tackling by senior cornerback Talmadge Jackson III and senior linebacker Casey Matthews, but with eight total tackles. Six tackles for loss were racked up with five of those being sacks. Red shirt freshman defensive tackle Taylor Hart, sophomore defense end Dion Jordan, junor linebacker Josh Kaddu, senior defense end Kenny Rowe and junior defensive end Terrell Turner all had a sack. Spencer Paysinger accounted for the sixth TFL of the game for the Ducks.

"We put them (the defense) on a short field," Kelly admitted. "They responded."

As has been the case in all games this season, except the UCLA game, the Ducks shut out an opponent in the fourth quarter. In fact the Huskies could only garner up 20 yards of offense in the final quarter, and that was against the Ducks' reserves.

Special teams had a big day with Cliff Harris and Josh Huff providing plenty of fire works with returns that put the Oregon offense in great scoring position. Harris had four total returns with a long of 79 yards that looked as if Harris would score upon, but he ran out of gas on the Washington 16. After Washington's touchdown, freshman Josh Huff took the ensuing kickoff 80 yards to Washington's 6. After both Harris and Huff's plays the Ducks scored touchdowns. Place kicker Robby Beard booted a 29-yard field goal and also ran a 2-point conversion into the endzone when the ball was snapped to holder Nathan Costa, who in turn handed off to Beard.

It was something we were practicing all week. It is something we prepare for," said Beard about the successful 2-point conversion. "There was an opening and they handed me the ball and ran up the middle."

Costa would later take a hard hit out of bounds after a snap on a field goal got away from him. Costa was able to secure the ball and was attempting to make a play when Desmond Trufant tackled him out of bounds. Costa had to be helped off the field and later taken to the lockerroom on a cart. The Oregon football program has not released any information on Costa's condition.

The Ducks today proved that despite playing a bit sloppy that have the talent, depth and will to overcome obstacles with strong performances. The Ducks must keep that asset if they want to continue on the season and reach the heights they obviously are capable of.

Notes:

James moved into third place on Oregon's career rushing list with 2,877 yards after his 26-carry. He also now has 30 career TDs, tying him with Jeremiah Johnson (2005-08) for second all-time at Oregon.
Maehl broke into the top 10 list for career receiving yards and ranks ninth all-time at UO with 1,981.
Harris, made his third consecutive start at cornerback had a 47-yard kickoff return that was the longest for Oregon this season until Huff's 80-yard return.
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).
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 a season-highs with six rushing touchdowns and five quarterback sacks.
The 10 penalties against Oregon is also a season high.
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 Stadium, which dates to 1999.
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.
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 USC, the Ducks scored the final 28 vs. UW.
Oregon 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.

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