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No. 1 Oregon rides strong second half in rout of Washington

Nov 7, 2010 - 2:00 AM Eugene, OR (Sports Network) - LaMichael James ran for 121 yards and three touchdowns on 26 carries to help top-ranked Oregon beat Washington, 53-16.

Darron Thomas connected on 24-of-33 passes for 243 yards and one touchdown for the Ducks (9-0, 6-0 Pac-10), who are off to the best start in school history. The 1933 squad won its first eight games before losing at USC.

Thomas added a pair of scores on the ground for Oregon, which has won 15 consecutive games at Autzen Stadium.

Freshman quarterback Keith Price, starting in place of Jake Locker who was unavailable because of a broken rib, threw for 127 yards and a touchdown on 14-of-28 efficiency for the Huskies (3-6, 2-4), who dropped their third straight game.

"I thought (Price) battled and competed," said Washington head coach Steve Sarkisian. "There's always going to be plays where I wish our guys could have bailed him out a little and helped him out. There were a couple drops here and there. There's going to be plays when he sees the film, he wishes he could have back. But for his first start, on the road, at Autzen Stadium, against the number one team in the country, I'll take his effort."

Washington shut out the nation's most explosive offensive team in the first quarter. The Ducks entered play having averaged 54.9 points and 572.9 total yards.

After punting twice and turning the ball over on downs at the Washington 38- yard line, Oregon's fourth drive resulted in a 29-yard Rob Beard field goal just under two minutes into the second quarter.

The Huskies looked to even things up on their next possession, but Erik Folk missed a 52-yard field goal.

Washington quickly got the ball back as Thomas fumbled on the second play of the ensuing drive. Kalani Aldrich's recovery set the Huskies up at the Oregon 36, and Folk drilled a 52-yarder this time to tie the game with 8:44 remaining.

Oregon regained the lead 3 1/2 minutes later on a one-yard plunge by James into the end zone. His 15th rushing touchdown of the season capped a 10-play drive, and a two-point conversion made it 11-3.

The Ducks' lead grew to 15 on 34-yard TD run by Thomas with 1:37 remaining before Folk kicked a 27-yarder to trim Washington's deficit to 18-6 at halftime.

Thomas fumbled again on the opening series of the third quarter, and the Huskies converted the gaffe into a 17-yard touchdown pass from Price to D'Andre Goodwin, closing the gap to five.

"You have to give (Sarkisian) a lot of credit, they came out hard, but we wore them down," said Oregon head coach Chip Kelly.

An 80-yard return by Josh Huff on the ensuing kickoff set up a six-yard TD reception by Jeff Maehl.

Oregon had a potential field goal on its next series wiped out because of a botched snap.

After Folk made a 47-yard field goal to draw the Huskies to within 25-16, James scampered to the end zone for a 14-yard touchdown before Thomas scored on a seven-yard run with 24 seconds remaining in the third.

Oregon continued to pull away in the fourth quarter on touchdowns run by James and Kenjon Barner.

Game Notes

Thomas picked up 89 yards rushing and Maehl finished with seven receptions for 71 yards...Chris Polk had 77 yards on 17 carries for Washington...Oregon has won seven straight against the Huskies...Washington has lost its last nine games against top-ranked opponents since defeating Minnesota 17-7 in the 1961 Rose Bowl...Oregon posted 522 total yards of offense to 263 for Washington.