3:30 PM ET, October 22, 2011
Folsom Field, BOULDER, CO
BOULDER, Colo. -- Against a team as deep as Oregon (No. 10 BCS, No. 9 AP), Colorado found itself in deep trouble right from the start.
The Ducks lost none of their quick-strike scoring ability without their injured quarterback and running back. Thomas was out with a knee injury and James missed his second straight game while recovering from a dislocated elbow.
"We have some depth at certain positions and that was a little bit evident today," Oregon coach Chip Kelly said. "I think our depth wore them down as the game went on."
Actually, right from the start.
Barner reeled off touchdown runs of 4 and 84 yards and Bennett found running back De'Anthony Thomas for a 14-yard touchdown and tight end David Paulson from 31 yards out. The four TD drives averaged just 1:36 each.
None of this was a surprise to Colorado.
Oregon Scores Efficiently
Oregon scored on all four of its possessions in the first quarter Saturday against Colorado. The drives averaged just 1 minute, 36 seconds each.
Oregon First-Quarter Drives
"They're a system team, they're going to do what they do," Buffaloes coach Jon Embree said. "I'm not taking anything away from those guys, I think their backups ... it's like going from Joe Montana to Steve Young. They have great depth."
Colorado's only highlight came on a tackle of Oregon punt returner Cliff Harris in the end zone that allowed the Buffaloes to avoid their first shutout at home since losing 28-0 to Oklahoma in 1986.
After a fiery pregame pep talk from James, the nation's leading rusher, the Ducks wasted no time in turning this one into a laugher no matter who was taking the snaps and handoffs.
"We might have seemed a little flat in warmups and he just wanted to make sure that wasn't going to be a reflection of our play today," Bennett said. "LaMichael's a key player on this team and whether he plays or not, when he says something, people are going to listen."
Barner gained 115 yards on 10 carries before giving way to a bevy of other backups and Bennett added 69 yards on the ground to go with 156 yards through the air on 11 of 20 passing. He, too, was a sideline spectator before the third quarter was over.
Both Barner and Bennett averaged 11.5 yards a carry, but De'Anthony Thomas did them one better, averaging 12.5 yards on his four rushes.
The Folsom Field crowd figured the Ducks were piling on the Buffaloes (1-6, 0-4) right away when punter Jackson Rice took the direct snap after their first touchdown and plowed into the end zone for a 2-point conversion and an 8-0 lead.
Embree took no offense.
"They've done that a bunch," he said. "It's not an opponent or respect issue, but that's what Chip does. He's aggressive."
The Ducks' defense got into the act when linebacker Michael Clay intercepted Tyler Hansen's pass at the Buffs 32 and raced into the end zone in the second quarter. Alejandro Maldonado's extra point was wide right, leaving the Ducks ahead 35-0 at halftime.
"We wanted to get it over with really early," Clay said. "I think we did that."
Hansen suffered a concussion when he was sandwiched on a slide that didn't draw a flag late in the first half and was replaced by freshman Nick Hirschman.
"I don't really remember a lot from the first half," Hansen said, "but it's got to be tough to play from behind like that. The second half was rough to watch."
The Buffaloes started the game without more than a dozen injured players, most notably running back Rodney Stewart and wide receiver Paul Richardson, who accounted for nearly 60 percent of Colorado's yards from scrimmage before Saturday.
Colorado also lost strong safety Anthony Perkins to an injured ankle just 6½ minutes into the game and kick returner D.D. Goodson to a concussion.
With so many key players sidelined, the Buffs were hoping something else might slow down the Ducks -- altitude. Boulder is nearly 5,000 feet higher than Eugene, Ore., making a no-huddle offense a little more lung-searing for the speedy Ducks.
"I don't know if anybody else felt it, but I felt it, I hit a brick wall," said Barner, who slowed down at the 5 on his 84-yard TD run.
Just as impressive was the Ducks' defense -- it allowed just 231 yards and 5 of 19 third-down conversions.
"Our defense played outstanding all day long," Kelly said. "Unfortunately, we couldn't get the shutout."
That's because Terrel Smith corralled Harris in the end zone for a safety with 1:32 left in the third quarter. Kelly said Harris broke the cardinal rule of punt returns.
"We don't field punts inside the 10," he huffed.
And after that, Harris didn't field any punts at all, giving way to Chad Delaney.
Top 25 Overview
It was over when... Ralphie ran. Colorado fans didn't have much to cheer about after that.
Gameball goes to... Kenjon Barner, who rushed for 115 yards and two scores in the rout.
Stat of the game... 371. Even without LaMichael James and Darron Thomas, the Ducks still ran for 371 yards.
Team Stat Comparison
|3rd Down Conversions||5-11||5-19|
|4th Down Conversions||0-1||0-1|
|TD||13:24||Kenjon Barner 4 Yd Run (Jackson Rice Run For Two-Point Conversion)||8||0|
|TD||07:06||De'Anthony Thomas 14 Yd Pass From Bryan Bennett (Alejandro Maldonado Kick)||15||0|
|TD||04:05||Kenjon Barner 84 Yd Run (Alejandro Maldonado Kick)||22||0|
|TD||01:13||David Paulson 31 Yd Pass From Bryan Bennett (Alejandro Maldonado Kick)||29||0|
|TD||08:10||Michael Clay 32 Yd Interception Return (Pat Failed)||35||0|
|TD||11:51||Tra Carson 1 Yd Run (Alejandro Maldonado Kick)||42||0|
|FG||06:25||Alejandro Maldonado 36 Yd||45||0|
|SF||01:32||Cliff Harris Tackled By Terrel Smith In End Zone||45||2|