Too Much Ducks for Lobos

Darron Thomas had an understandable grin on his face following Oregon's 72-0 win over New Mexico. After all, he had thrown for 220 yards and two touchdowns; directing the Ducks to over 400 yards of offense in the first half alone; and made everyone forget about Jeremiah Masoli -- at least for this week. Things went so well, one would have to wonder if something is amiss?

(PHOTO) Darron Thomas gets ready to fire down field during Oregon's 72-0 win over New Mexico on Saturday at Autzen Stadium in Eugene. (Photo by Chris Wilson)

Not according to Head Coach Chip Kelly who indicated that if something needs to be addressed during the week he'll do it then.

"I'm concerned with today and I'm very happy with what we did today." said Kelly. " We'll address what we need to do next week. This team is not going to look at Tennessee and say, ‘We did this last week'. I know that for a fact."

Scoring 72 points can do that to a person. In reality though, other than a momentary flub on the first drive when Darron Thomas made his only mistake of the day -- an interception that he made up for by tackling Joe Stoner, who stepped in front of the intended receiver. After that however, the Ducks went on a rampage. Thomas hit anything that moved, going 13-for-23, 220 yards and two touchdowns.

So much for worrying about replacing Jeremiah Masoli.

"He did a nice job playing within himself," Kelly said of Thomas. "Most guys are so high that they throw the first ball out of the stadium."

Thomas showed up at the podium during the media's time with players and coaches, all smiles.

"I knew I needed to have a good game," admitted Thomas. "I took a couple of hits but that's what I needed to do."

Thomas was generous spreading the wealth around too. Jeff Maehl was leading receiver today with five catches for 91 yards while freshman Josh Huff showed with three grabs for 45 yards. David Paulson got into the scoring column on a nice pattern covering 30 yards that ended up in the end zone. Lavasier Tuinei caught two for 11 yards, but it was Kenjon Barner's catch and run that covered 60 yards and a score that rocked everyone's world among the 59,104 in attendance.

Barner was a sensation in his first start in place of his best friend, LaMichael James. Barner scored five touchdowns in the game -- make that in the first half which ties a record set by Salidin McCullough. Barner, a soft spoken young man never thought he'd do something like that in college, even though he did so in high school.

"A much different level of play," Barner called the difference between playing in high school and in college.

For the day, Barner rushed for 147 yards, scored four rushing touchdowns and had the one pass reception for a score. In all, he finished with 225 yards of all purpose yards.

Nate Costa came in the game in the later part of the second quarter and was effective throwing for 131 yards on 10-of-14, but in all honesty, Costa could have put up bigger numbers had the game been any near competitive. Costa also ran the ball four times for 17 yards and that should relieve some who worry if he is completely healthy.

Remene Alston also saw a lot of game action today by picking up 110 yards on 21 carries with a long run of 38. When the Mercy Rule was finally invoked Daryle Hawkins joined the frey as a running back and picked up 68 yards, scoring on an 18-yard run.

Hawkins took over the signal calling duties late in the game but did not throw a pass.

Andres Reed added 30 yards to the total on six carries, giving the Ducks a total of 369 yards rushing.

Defensively, Oregon pitched a shut out and only allowed New Mexico a total of 107 yards. Remarkably, no one on the Duck defense had more than five tackles. Boseko Lokombo, Javes Lewis and Dion Jordan all were tied with five tackles, each with two solos. Brandon Bair had two and half tackles for loss. Spencer Paysinger had a sack and his buddy Casey Matthews had an interception. So did, red shirt freshman Avery Patterson, seeing his first live action as a Duck. There were eight pass break-ups, two forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries.

"The shutout was very important," said Matthews. "It is a huge accomplishment for any defense. At halftime we saw it was possible and it was our goal to get the shutout."

Not only did the offense and defense have something to crow about today, so did special teams. The coaching staff must have wanted to ease off so they took Barner out of the role of punt returner and inserted Cliff Harris, who responded by putting two back into the end zone. Not much had been written or reported last week about the kicking duties.

"Cliff's very talented," observed Kelly. "He's in his second year in the program and to have him behind Kenjon, who I think is the best returner in the country, is nice."

Rob Beard, the regular kicker, was sidelined because of suspension due to an off-season incident. In his place, walk-on Eric Solis booted nine extra points and three field goals.

The Lobos had few things to cheer about and had at least six players assisted off the field.

"We contributed in a lot of ways," Kelly said of his team. "It wasn't just one guy, and that's what this team is. We need everyone at some point in the season."

Next week though, the Ducks head to Knoxville, Tenn., for a date with the Volunteers. Even though Tennessee is rebuilding, it isn't likely the Ducks will have it quite so easy, but for now at least, Kelly and his team won't worry about that. Tomorrow morning will be soon enough to fret over such things.

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