However, James made headlines for a different reason after suffering what looked like a devastating elbow injury early in the fourth quarter, which silenced the sell-out crowd and resulted in him having to be carried off via stretcher to the locker room.
During the post game press conference, while teammates and coaches speculated on the severity of the injury, James himself said that he will be back in a Ducks uniform this season and inferred it could be sooner rather than later.
"I'm a warrior," he said.
James dislocated the elbow after colliding with a defender and landing awkwardly on the turf. But, despite the pain he popped the elbow back into place himself on the field before being carted away.
"I did the same exact thing in high school and I played the next week," James said.
The junior was visibly the most upbeat team member as he cracked jokes with the media and said he'll continue to be a leader and rehab vigorously until his return. Until then, he said he has confidence in the core of running backs behind him to pick up his slack if he cannot play in the near future.
In other notes from the press conference, senior cornerback Anthony Gildon talked about the defensive adjustments made by the Ducks after falling behind 15-14 heading into halftime. Gildon was part of a defense that forced two punts and three turnovers on downs from the Cal offense in the second half and held them to 5-of-17 on third down conversions for the entire contest.
Sophomore receiver Josh Huff had a solid game, opening up the field with breakout freshman De'Anthony Thomas and exploiting the one-on-one coverage. Huff had three catches for 54 yards as he continues to get back into a rhythm after suffering various injuries in the offseason, but claims he still has plenty of areas to improve in. Thomas finished with 114 yards and two touchdowns, speeding by coverage for many big plays in the second half.
The Ducks have nine days off at home before welcoming a much improved Arizona State squad next Saturday at Autzen Stadium.