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Saturday, October 29, 2011
Final: Oregon 43, Washington State 28

By Ted Miller

Does Oregon have a quarterback controversy?

Darron Thomas returned after missing the Colorado game with a sprained knee, but he threw two first-half interceptions before being replaced by Bryan Bennett in the second half. Bennett threw for two TDs and rushed for 25 yards as Oregon won 43-28.

It wasn't a dominant Ducks performance. The Cougars, who trailed only 15-10 at the half, actually outgained Oregon 463 yards to 456.

As for where things stand at QB, Ducks coach Chip Kelly opted not to make things clear to reporters after the game. From a Tweet from Rob Moseley, Ducks beat writer for the Eugene Register-Guard: "Kelly on whether he knows who will start at QB next week: 'Yeah, I do. I don't have to answer that question but I know.'"

Moseley, however, also Tweeted this: "[Ducks offensive coordinator] Mark Helfrich pours cold water on the idea of a QB controversy, expressing "100 percent" confidence in Darron Thomas."

So Thomas, if healthy, is the starter. But is he healthy? Oregon visits Washington on Nov. 5, then goes to Stanford on Nov. 12 for what is expected to be the Pac-12 game of the year.

Oh, by the way, RB LaMichael James returned to action after missing two games with an elbow injury. He had 13 carries for 55 yards. His backup, Kenjon Barner, had 11 carries for 107 yards.

As for the Cougars, they were competitive but the bottom line is it was a fourth consecutive conference defeat. They are now 3-5 overall and 1-4 in conference play.

QB Marshall Lobbestael returned to the starting role after Jeff Tuel was lost for the season due to a calf injury. He completed 28 of 49 passes for 337 yards with a TD but also threw two picks.

The Cougs visit Cal next week.

But the big question is who will the Ducks QB be over the next two weekends, when the North Division figures to be decided?