8:00 PM ET, October 2, 2010
Autzen Stadium, EUGENE, OR
EUGENE, Ore. -- Swarmed by fans after he led No. 4 Oregon to victory over No. 9 Stanford, Darron Thomas surveyed the chaotic scene and quietly smiled.
"We did a good job," he said simply when a reveler congratulated him.
Thomas contributed in a big way by throwing for 238 yards and three touchdowns, and running for 117 yards and another score in Oregon's come-from-behind 52-31 win.
LaMichael James rushed for 257 yards -- the second most in a single game in Oregon history -- to help the Ducks upend the Cardinal.
|Onterrio Smith||285||10/27/01||Wash. St.|
|Jonathan Stewart||253||12/31/07||South Florida|
His calm in the storm of the postgame celebration was typical of the sophomore quarterback, who never seems to get rattled.
"Coach just preached finishing," he said. "So we came out and finished."
The Ducks (5-0, 2-0 Pac-10) fell behind 21-3 in the first quarter of the frenzied game, but forced two crucial turnovers and held the Cardinal scoreless in the second half. LaMichael James ran for a career-high 257 yards and three touchdowns.
It was Oregon's 13th straight win at Autzen Stadium and 10th consecutive Pac-10 victory.
The Cardinal (4-1, 1-1) have not won a game while ranked in the top 10 since 1970.
Saturday's game was the first time Oregon and Stanford have faced each other as ranked teams. The Cardinal have not started a season 5-0 since 1951, when they won the Pacific Coast Conference and a Rose Bowl berth.
The game lived up to the hype as a battle of offenses. Oregon, averaging 560 yards of total offense going into the game, had 626 yards. The Cardinal had 518.
Thomas completed 20-of-29 passes, and while he was intercepted twice, Oregon coach Chip Kelly said the key was that Thomas wasn't unnerved by it all.
"He's everything you want in a quarterback," Kelly said.
Stanford's Andrew Luck was 29 of 46 for 241 yards and two scores. He was also intercepted twice.
Oregon tied it at 31 with 8:20 to go in the third quarter on Thomas' 6-yard keeper and the momentum shifted to the Ducks.
Midway through the quarter, Luck found receiver Chris Owusu for a 6-yard completion at midfield, but he fumbled after a hard hit by Oregon's Javes Lewis. Eddie Pleasant scooped up the ball and returned it to the 3-yard line, and James ran it in from there for Oregon's first lead of the game.
Owusu jogged off the field after the hit, but did not return to the game. On Stanford's first drive of the next series, Luck was intercepted by Cliff Harris and Oregon cruised from there.
"I'm proud of my guys, very proud of them, and we'll keep our heads up, and we'll come back next week," Stanford coach Jim Harbaugh said. "Wasn't our day today."
Stanford went up 14-3 in the first quarter after Oregon kickoff returner Cliff Harris fumbled. That led to Luck's 10-yard scoring run. After another Oregon turnover, this time an interception, Stephan Taylor ran 44 yards for a score with 1:08 left in the quarter.
Oregon got back in the game with Thomas' 29-yard scoring pass to Jeff Maehl. The Ducks followed with an onside kick that was recovered by kicker Rob Beard, and James went on to score on a 5-yard run to make it 21-17.
Luck hit a wide-open Coby Fleener with a 36-yard touchdown pass to go back up 28-17 midway through the second quarter.
Thomas passed to John Huff for a 41-yard score to narrow it again for Oregon before Nate Whitaker's 46-yard field goal as time ran out in the first half gave Stanford a 31-24 lead.
"We were kind of jittery at the beginning of the game," Thomas said, "but once we got comfortable we started running our plays and it was back to regular football."
Kelly was visibly angry with the officiating in the first half, telling the television crew at halftime that he felt the officials were not communicating with him. Ducks fans booed the refs as they left the field at the break.
Kelly insisted afterward that the victory -- which could vault the Ducks ahead of Boise State in the polls -- was no more important than any other win.
"I told our guys at halftime, what an exciting game to be involved in," Kelly said. "Now let's go out and finish."
James, a sophomore who is getting some Heisman mention, ran for a career-best, 76-yard touchdown in the final minutes of the fourth quarter. A fan in the student section lofted a sign that said "LaHeisman."
"Can't take anything away from Stanford. That's a great football team. They're physical. We were faced with adversity," James said. "It's really about how you overcome adversity. Tonight we overcame it."
Stanford had twice upset Oregon when the Ducks were in the top 10.
Last season Toby Gerhart ran for a school-record 223 yards and Luck threw for 251 yards and two scores in Stanford's 51-42 victory over the then-No. 7 Ducks.
In 2001, Stanford won 49-42 in Eugene for the then-No. 5 Ducks' lone loss of the season.
Top 25 Overview
It was over when... Stanford's David Owusu fumbled in the fourth quarter, swinging the momentum for Oregon.
Gameball goes to... LaMichael James, who led the Oregon track meet with 257 yards rushing and three TDs.
Stat of the game... 2,218. In the last two meetings, these two have combined for 2,218 yards and 176 points.
Team Stat Comparison
|3rd Down Conversions||8-15||6-12|
|4th Down Conversions||1-2||1-2|
|FG||11:01||Rob Beard 22 Yd||0||3|
|TD||05:06||Griff Whalen 18 Yd Pass From Andrew Luck (Nate Whitaker Kick)||7||3|
|TD||04:02||Andrew Luck 10 Yd Run (Nate Whitaker Kick)||14||3|
|TD||01:08||Stepfan Taylor 44 Yd Run (Nate Whitaker Kick)||21||3|
|TD||13:17||Jeff Maehl 29 Yd Pass From Darron Thomas (Rob Beard Kick)||21||10|
|TD||11:18||LaMichael James 5 Yd Run (Rob Beard Kick)||21||17|
|TD||07:30||Coby Fleener 36 Yd Pass From Andrew Luck (Nate Whitaker Kick)||28||17|
|TD||05:41||Josh Huff 41 Yd Pass From Darron Thomas (Rob Beard Kick)||28||24|
|FG||00:00||Nate Whitaker 46 Yd||31||24|
|TD||08:20||Darron Thomas 6 Yd Run (Rob Beard Kick)||31||31|
|TD||05:34||LaMichael James 3 Yd Run (Rob Beard Kick)||31||38|
|TD||14:55||D.J. Davis 25 Yd Pass From Darron Thomas (Rob Beard Kick)||31||45|
|TD||01:10||LaMichael James 76 Yd Run (Rob Beard Kick)||31||52|
LaMichael James led the Oregon rushing attack on Saturday with a career-high 257 yards. James was able to gain yards in bunches as he ripped off seven runs of 10+ yards and two runs of 20+ yards, including a 76 yard touchdown dash. James now has 29 runs of 20+ yards since the start of the 2009 season, which leads the FBS.
The Stanford offense was most effective on Saturday when they lined up two tight ends in its formation. In the first half, Andrew Luck completed 6-of-7 passes with at least two tight ends, but Stanford went away from this power look in the second half.[+]
Andrew Luck Passing by Formation
LaMichael James rushed for 257 yards -- the second most in a single game in Oregon history -- to help the Ducks upend the Cardinal.[+]
The Stanford defense was gashed by the Oregon running game on Saturday night, giving up 388 yards to the Ducks. Stanford had not given up that many yards on the ground since giving up exactly 388 yards to Washington in November of 2007.[+]
Stanford Rush Defense
Oregon's outstanding rushing attack helped open up passing lanes for quarterback Darron Thomas, as all three of his touchdown passes against Stanford came after a play-action fake.[+]
Darron Thomas Passing
ESPN Stats & Information