Locker Room Report - Oregon State

The No. 10 ranked Oregon Ducks ensured that they'll play next weekend thanks to a 49-21 victory against archrival Oregon State on Saturday at Autzen Stadium. Now, the challenge will be answering the bell on short rest as they prepare for a matchup against the UCLA Bruins next Friday night for the conference title.

(PHOTO) Oregon Ducks running back LaMichael James (21) breaks away from Oregon State Beavers defensive end Dylan Wynn (45) and defensive end Scott Crichton (95) during the second half at Autzen Stadium.

In the locker room, the players and coaches were pleased with the performance after last week's loss at home to USC, but most were looking ahead to playing in the inaugural Pac-12 championship game.

"We have another game to get us to the Rose Bowl," said junior linebacker Michael Clay. "This is a big game for us and I'm glad to have it at Autzen. We're just ready to play the Bruins."

Ducks head coach Chip Kelly said the biggest hurdle will be getting prepared by Friday. Normally, players and coaches will get a day off on Sunday before starting practice again the following Monday, but this week they'll be attacking the game plan on Sunday.

"We've got to go to work," Kelly said. "We haven't played UCLA so in terms of getting everything broken down, all of the film broken down, but as a coaching staff tomorrow is our Monday so we have to get going real quick because the game is on Friday night."

Saturday's victory also ensures that the 115th Civil War will not be the swan song for the senior class who were honored prior to the game. Tight end David Paulson was the star of that class on Saturday, catching eight passes for 105 yards and a touchdown.

Paulson earned much praise from Kelly afterwards.

"He's a special player," Kelly said. "I said last week that I think he's our most valuable player in terms of so many things that he's done for us. He never comes off the field, he doesn't care if he ever gets the ball, he's content to block. It's the same demeanor whether he has a 10 catch performance or a zero catch performance."

The Beavers were able to hang around with the Ducks for about a quarter and a half before the Oregon offense awoke from its slumber to post 21 second quarter points, giving the Ducks a 28-7 halftime lead. Junior quarterback Darron Thomas threw for 305 yards and four touchdowns in three and a half quarters of action. He exited the game completing 27-of-40 passes before redshirt freshman Bryan Bennett took over.

Junior running back LaMichael James had 142 yards on 24 rushes with a touchdown against the Beavers, but went down in the third quarter with an apparent injury to his elbow. James has been bothered by an elbow injury on his other arm that he suffered back on Oct. 6 against Cal when he dislocated it late in the game.

"With him going down I just felt like we gotta step it up and play for him," freshman De'Anthony Thomas said.

James was on the sidelines talking to Thomas in full pads near the end of the game. Kelly, who usually shies away from giving injury reports, smiled when asked about James' health and status for next week.

"He's fine," Kelly said.

With a win over UCLA, the Ducks will guarantee their second Rose Bowl trip in three seasons and a third consecutive BCS bowl appearance. The game starts at 5 p.m.


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