"I think our guys focused on the task at hand and these are situations that I think sometimes can be difficult and that's what the problem with some teams are, is that they overlook opponents," said Oregon Head Coach Chip Kelly."I thought our guys had a great week of preparation, they understood what the deal was. We only had one game this week, and it was Missouri State and they got our full attention. We made mistakes, and you are always going to make mistakes, no one's going to play a perfect game, but I was proud of our guys effort today. That's the big thing we are looking for, every single Saturday we go out it's how hard do we play."
Oregon's offense looked near mid-season form with Darron Thomas fully in control of the offense. The Ducks managed to put on an offensive display and found themselves up 35-7 at halftime, remarkably while only having possession of the ball for just over six and half minutes in the first half. Oregon scored on every possession in the first half, save the last drive but quickly tagged on two more scores in the third quarter to make it 49-7 when it was time for Thomas to take a seat on the sidelines.
"Real nice job by him," Kelly said of Thomas' day. "I was really impressed with his two deep balls he threw back to back, making great decisions on it. I think when we can throw the ball vertically down the field, that's obviously going to add a little bit more to our offense, that you can't gang up on the run game."
The stats sheet was all Ducks. Oregon rolled up 681 yards of total offense to MOSU's 289 yards. Oregon's rushed for 416 yards including LaMichael James effort of 206 yards on 12 carries and three touchdowns. James had a modern-era record run of 90 yards for a score and he followed that up with a 50-yard scamper. Those two scores plus the James' first touchdown of 1-yard gave him a him a total of three touchdowns for the day.
"It was a great block by Justin Hoffman, but it really starts up front," James said of his 90-yard touchdown run. "The offensive line did a great job for me to get into the open field. Our receivers block really well down field, Justin did a great job blocking for me."
Thomas had a pretty healthy day of it too. The junior quarterback was 11-for-15, 206 yards and three touchdowns, hitting Lavasair Tuinei twice for scores and Colt Lyerla once. Thomas had great control of his passes hitting at leat four passes that went for more than 20 yards. Tuinei was the leading receiver with four catches for 90 yards including a 40-yard touchdown reception. Rahsaan Vaughn hauled in two passes for 64 yards including one for 46. Lyerla also had two receptions for 33 yards and two touchdowns. Lyerla caught one from Thomas and later in the game showed his physical abilities by pulling one in from Bryan Bennett.
Bennett, with his second game with extended playing time was 5-for-6 for 59 yards and two touchdowns. Along with Lyerla's TD catch from Bennett, Eric Dungy got into the act for his first career touchdown on a 19-yard play.
The Duck running game led by James answered any questions anyone might have had about depth and James' speed. If there was any doubt about the Duck running game and if James could be the model for the rushing game, then DeAnthony Thomas is sure to please. Thomas not only ran for 67 yards on 10 carries, he also had two punt returns for 54 yards with a long of 45. Electric might be the best adjective to describe the combination of James and Thomas.
Tra Carson had extended time and responded with 82 net yards on nine carries. Ayele Forde and Athony Blake saw time too with Forde gaining 32 net yards and Blake chipping in 16 yards on three carries.
"I'm happy some of the younger men got to play in the game today," commented James. "They practice just like we do and I'm really excited to see some of those guys play, like Tra (Carson) and Ayele (Forde) and some of the other athletes we have on the team."
Defensively, at the start of the game some eyebrows might have been raised because of how easy the Bears moved the ball on their first drive for a score. Through most of the second quarter MOSU still ran the ball well and executed its offense. As the game wore on though the Ducks started to find a rhythm and settled in to hold the Bear rushing game to a total of 185 net yards. So far his year the Duck defensive line has had fewer tackles for loss and perhaps this is an area the Ducks want to work on.
"Last year at this time we were probably further ahead than we are right now," said Oregon Defensive Coordinator Nick Aliotti of the defensive line aggressiveness. "I know nobody might want to hear that particularly the kids, but overall we were just further along."
The Ducks had a total of eight tackles for loss today.
Avery Patterson was the leading tackler for the game with eight tackles (six solos). Kiko Alonso, who made his first start of the year, had seven tackles (two solos). Jennings Stewart and Rodney Hardrick both had two tackles for loss while Brandon Hanna had one with Alonso and Boseko Lokombo sharing one TFL.
No field goals were kicked attempted by either team today. Jackson Rice had two punts averaging 49 yards and both landed inside WOSU's 20.
Next week the Ducks travel to Arizona for the Oregon's first Pac-12 game and defense of the first step in the defense of the conference championship.
"You really clean it up as you get into Pac-12 play, with the two new teams in it, the championship game, and it's going to be an exciting season," observed Kelly. "I really don't know how it's going to play itself out. By and large the Pac-12 season opens up next week for everybody, and we got to be ready to go."
- JR RB LaMichael James ripped off the longest run in Autzen Stadium history and second-longest scamper in UO history with a 90-yard touchdown in the second quarter.
- James finished with 204 rushing yards on 12 carries, marking the 19th 100-yard game of his career – extending his UO record – and fourth 200-yard effort, tying Reuben Droughns for the most in Ducks' history.
- James has scored a rushing touchdown in all three games this season, finishing with a career-high three scores for a sixth time. He tied Derek Loville's (1986-89) school mark for overall touchdowns with 45 and now has 40 rushing TDs for his career, one behind Loville's record of 41.
- James moved into sixth place on the career all-purpose yards list with 4,238 yards, moving past Keenan Howry (1999-02). Next up on the list is Terrence Whitehead with 4,335.
- James became the first Oregon player to score multiple rushing touchdowns of 50 yards or more in the modern era.
- FR RB De'Anthony Thomas exceeded 100 all-purpose yards for the third straight game, finishing with 169 (67 rush, 13 rec, 35 kr and 54 pr). His first four touches, all different plays (kr, pr, rec. rush), resulted in 102 all-purpose yards.
- FR TE Colt Lyerla had two catches, both for touchdowns, and has found the end zone on all three receptions he's made this season.
- SR WR Lavasier Tuinei had career highs of 90 receiving yards and two touchdown catches.
- As a team, UO held its opponent under 300 yards of total offense for the second time (vs. LSU) in three games this season.
- On the flip side, the Oregon offense rolled up 600-plus yards (681) for the second time in as many games.
- FR LB Rodney Hardrick became the sixth true freshman to see action for the Ducks in 2011, making the most of his debut with three solo tackles and a game-high (tie) 2.0 tackles for a loss.
- SO FS Avery Patterson made his first career start and had a team-high and career-high eight tackles.
- JR LB Kiko Alonso also made the first start of his career, taking over the middle linebacker spot with Dewitt Stuckey sliding over to WILL.
- James duplicated his feat of reeling off two runs of 50 or more yards in the same game from last season's win over Portland State Sept. 18 (66 and 52).
- The crowd of 58,847 (capacity 54,000) marked the 76th consecutive sellout at Autzen Stadium, dating to 1999. The last non-sellout was Sept. 18, 1999 vs. Nevada.