James' Long TD Sparks Green Win

Eugene -- Spring football games generally don't tell much of the story on what can be expected in the upcoming year. So many things change but today in Autzen Stadium, at least one thing was familiar and that was a 67-yard sprint for touchdown by junior LaMichael James for the green squad. The greens won 16-0 in front of a record crowd for an April contest of 43,600.

LaMichael James only had three carries for the day, which wasn't a surprise. No one thought the Doak Walker Award winner in 2010 would see many touches but as if to demonstrate he is ready to pick up where he left off, on his third and last carry he swept right, cut and outraced the defense to the endzone. James finished the day with a total of 78 yards.

However, it was the Oregon defense that may have had the most to brag about during the off-season. While the green team had advantage on the scoreboard, Oregon's defensive coordinator Nick Aliotti might have been the most elated. Alioti served as the coach for the greens while Offensive Coordinator headed the whites. James touchdown was the lone TD for the day and considering the Oregon offense showed signs of being alive an well, the production was limited to a total of 293 yards offense for the green and 164 yards for the white.

"We gave up one touchdown to a good football player, with one explosion play, we continued to get turnovers," smiled Aliotti. "The coup de grace was that I was fortunate to be on the winning team and we got a shut out so it is all good."

Junior Darron Thomas worked for the first half completing 15-for-21, 129 yards and giving up one interception. Redshirt freshman Bryan Bennett was 10-for-18 for 98 yards and also gave up an interception. Sophomore Dustin Haines, who had served a suspension for an off-field incident, was reinstated last week was the green quarterback in the second half while sophomore Dayrle Hawkins saw duty both as a quarterback and running back.

During the contest, Thomas and Bennett the likely starter and back up for the 2011 season wore red jerseys which prevented them from being tackled.

Hawkins was the leading rusher for the white squad with 38 yards on four carries while junior Kenjon Barner had three carries for 16 yards. Red shirt freshman Lache Seastrunk had 11 carries for 35 yards. Two walk on running backs had the most work on Saturday. Ayele Forde wound up with 46 net yards on 14 carries for the greens while Anthony Blake had 15 carries for a net of nine yards.

Senior Lavasier Tuinei was the leading receiver with six catches for 46 yards. Senior tight end David Paulson snagged four balls for 42 yards. True freshman Colt Lyerla pulled in three throws for 37 yards. Eric Dungy had two catches for 19 yards while Brian Teague and Hawkins both had two receptions.

"I thought Colt (Lyerla) did a decent job catching the ball, especially in traffic," said Oregon Head Coach Chip Kelly of the new tight end that enrolled early right out of high school. "That's a big thing for a tight end."

Oregon's defensive front four lost three to graduation but defensive tackle Wade Keliikipi had four solo tackles and was able to put a hand on Bennett and was given credit for a sack. Cornerback Brian Jackson, demonstrated the Oregon's secondary is still fast and ferocious was the game's leading tackler with a total of 10 (six solos). Terrance Mitchell picked off Bennett to go along with his five solo tackles. Erick Dargan picked Thomas off at the end of the first half.

Field goal kicker Robby Beard hit all three of his field goal attempts of 42, 39 and 21 yards.

The green had a 10-0 halftime lead. The first half was ran with a regular game clock, but the second half was a running clock so that the contest could end within a two hour limit.

Following last season's success the turnout for Saturday's scrimmage even surprised the Ducks.

"That was unbelievable," Kelly said of the 46,000 plus crowd in attendance. "That is a credit to our fans."

The game was held in honor of members of the Armed Forces and also to remember Eugene Police Officer Chris Kilcullen, who was killed in the line of duty on April 22nd.

"We learned a very stark lesson the other day about the ultimate sacrifice someone gave for us,' remarked Kelly of the fatal incident involving Officer Kilcullen. "I think it is a way for us to say we have feelings for you and we care."

The spring game marked the end of the 15-session practice schedule and now the coaches concentrate on recruiting, running summer camps, taking some time off and preparing for the 2011 season.

"The big thing is coming out of it healthy and we're relatively healthy," admitted Kelly.

The players now will workout voluntarily, with a nudge from leaders from within the squad. Kelly hopes that those leaders will do their job and at this point is confident they will. No serious injuries occurred during the game and while there were some dings from the practice sessions, no one is projected to be out for fall camp.

"We have a lot of work before we come back together on August 8th and that is I the hands of our players now," Kelly summed up. "Today is the last official time we can see them and talk to them."

Oregon opens its season on Sept. 3rd in Arlington, Texas against LSU.

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