Friday, February 24, 2012
Top performances 2011: LaMichael James
By Kevin Gemmell
We're looking at the top individual performances in the Pac-12 in 2011.
Up next: James the Cardinal crusher.
Who & against whom: Oregon running back LaMichael James -- no stranger to top performances -- scorched the Stanford Cardinal on the road in a 53-30 win.
The numbers: James rushed for 146 yards and three touchdowns on 20 carries.
A closer look: It was a game with enormous postseason ramifications for both teams. Oregon, ranked No. 7 in the BCS standings and Stanford at No. 4, squared off in the biggest game on the conference schedule. Stanford had the nation's third-best rush defense -- allowing 78.9 yards per game. Oregon had the fifth-best rushing attack, averaging 298.4 yards per game. But it was James who stood out. Oregon's win snapped Stanford's 17-game winning streak, which was the nation's longest (its last loss was more than a year earlier at Oregon). His 58-yard touchdown run early in the second quarter put Oregon ahead by two scores and the Ducks never looked back. How good was James' vision on that run, by the way? James would add a 4-yard touchdown in the third quarter and a 1-yard touchdown in the fourth. Here's the most impressive part: James did most of his damage running straight at Stanford's 3-4 defense. He accounted for 132 yards and all three of his touchdowns running between the tackles on 17 carries. The win propelled the Ducks to the top of the Pac-12 North and eventually to the Rose Bowl, while also shattering Stanford's national championship hopes.