Ducks Spring Game Celebrates Military

Eugene -- The annual spring game played at Autzen Stadium didn't resolve who would start next season at quarterback, but all indications point to success if either Darron Thomas or Nate Costa direct the offense. Over 25,000 fans cheered both on a cloudy day that celebrated military personnel and service to the country.

"You saw kids make plays on both sides of the ball, it was a special day," said Oregon Head Coach Chip Kelly. "To have the military here just to thank them, and our way of thanking them was to put on a show."

It was a show and very good one as the Ducks divided up into a white and green squad but it was clear that the 2009 Pac-10 Champion is going to be very good in 2010.

Fans were able to enjoy an interesting game and considering the off-field problems the Ducks endured it was pleasant surprise to see the two squads go at it in a competitive game. The white squad started the scoring off when true freshman corner back Terrance Mitchell picked off a Darron Thomas pass in the first series and returned the ball into the end zone. Despite the shaky start for Thomas, the Houston native ended the day throwing 15-for-23, 196 yards, one touchdown and the interception. Thomas' big play of the day was a 64-yard bomb to D.J. Davis off the flea-flicker that ended in a score. Once Thomas connected on the long ball, he settled into a rhythm, very reminiscent of former Oregon quarterback Dennis Dixon.

Not to be outdone, Nate Costa demonstrated his tight spiral thrown 7-for-13, 104 yards. Costa's big pass play was to Jeff Maehl for 38 yards that got the ball into the red zone and running back Remene Alston finished off the drive with touchdown plunge.

The game, which was televised on ESPN had a regular game clock for the first half and in the second half had two 10-minute quarters with a running clock. Consequently, those wondering what the Ducks would be like come fall had a very good preview in the first half. Neither Thomas nor Costa played in the second half.

16-ya LaMichael James had a brief appearance in the first series going 16 yards on five carries. Kenjon Barner did the most work picking up 96 yards on nine carries and two touchdowns. Like Thomas and Costa, Barner only played in the first half. Thomas did show that like Dixon, he can pick up a first down when needed when he rushed twice for 17 yards. Third-string quarterback Daryle Hawkins drew some ah's from the crowd in the second half with his running style by going in the endzone and all toll having 14 yards on five carries.

Davis was the top receiver for the day with 88 yards on five catches including the 64-yard catch for a score. Justin Hoffman pulled down five catches for 44 yards. Maehl had two for 37 while Lavasier had two grabs for 23 yards.

Defensively Bo Lokombo was the leading tackler with six (five solos) including tackle for loss and a break up. Mitchell finished up with five tackles (four solos) the interception and return of 54 yards and score. Scott Grady, Terrell Turner, Keloni Kamalani and Anthony Anderson also had a pass break up. Lance Baker was credited with a break up.

For anyone caring about the final score it was 26-21 for the white. Following the conclusion of the contest the team gave their jerseys to the assembled members of the uniformed services in exchange for a memento. The gesture wasn't lost on the Ducks.

"Especially with the things I went through in the winter, I realized my life isn't really that bad," said James of the military members that were at the game. "Those guys are fighting for the country right now and can give up their lives and I just had a bad incident. So it opened my eyes to be a better person."

eDuck Top Stories