31 - 49 Final
  for this game

Run for the Rose: James, Oregon down UCLA for Pac-12 crown

Dec 3, 2011 - 7:37 AM Eugene, OR (Sports Network) - LaMichael James rushed for 219 yards and three touchdowns, powering eighth-ranked Oregon to a 49-31 win over UCLA in the inaugural Pac-12 Championship game.

James, who carried the ball 25 times, was instrumental in delivering the Ducks to a Rose Bowl berth and was named the game's MVP. Oregon (11-2) will face the Big Ten champion -- either Wisconsin or Michigan State -- on January 2 in Pasadena.

Darron Thomas connected on 20-of-36 passes for 219 yards with three TDs and an interception. He also ran for 60 yards and a score for Oregon, which secured its third straight outright conference championship. USC (2004-06) is the only Pac-12 school to accomplish that feat since the conference expanded to 10 teams in 1978, but later had its '04 and '05 titles vacated.

The Ducks went to Pasadena in 2009, but lost to Ohio State.

"It feels great. I can't wait to go back," James said.

The Bruins (6-7) participated in the championship game as the South Division winner only because of NCAA probations levied against USC. They played their final game under Rick Neuheisel, who was fired as head coach on Monday.

Kevin Prince ended 13-of-26 for 164 yards with a pair of scores for the Bruins.

UCLA, which allowed 571 yards from a potent Oregon offense, had a nightmare of a start. On the second play from scrimmage, Prince had a poor exchange on a handoff with Johnathan Franklin and Dewitt Stuckey pounced on the football at the UCLA 39.

Then, on 4th-and-1, James busted up the middle untouched into the end zone for a 30-yard run, less than two minutes into the contest.

De'Anthony Thomas fumbled the ball away for the Ducks later in the first, but the Bruins came up inches short on a fourth down run at the Oregon 23. The Bruins then capitalized on the second turnover by the Ducks on the night.

Kenjon Barner failed to make a one-handed grab over the middle and the ball caromed into the hands of Pat Larimore. He returned the interception 35 yards down the left sideline and broke a tackle before going into the end zone with 7:55 left in the opening quarter.

The Ducks went back on top less than 1 1/2 minutes later thanks to Thomas' 10- yard keeper to the right side of the end zone.

The difference widened to 21-7 with 59 seconds left in the opening quarter when Thomas fired seven yards to a wide open Colt Lyerla in the back of the end zone. That score came following another UCLA turnover.

Neuheisel's squad used some trickery to get within a TD early in the second, as Prince found Nelson Rosario over the middle for 37 yards on a flea flicker.

James strolled into the end zone untouched on a three-yard run with 8:27 left in the half, and the Bruins gave the ball away again during their next possession. Derrick Coleman took the handoff and tried to lateral the ball to Josh Smith, but it bounced off the wide receiver's hand and into the arms of defensive end Terrell Turner. The miscue led to Thomas' 24-yard TD pass to Daryle Hawkins with 4:25 to play in the half and a 35-14 cushion.

UCLA's Tyler Gonzalez kicked a 44-yard field goal on the final play of the half, and the Bruins got within 35-24 on Prince's one-yard TD bootleg to the left side on their opening possession of the second half.

The problem for the Bruins was their defense. They failed to make an immediate stop, and James scored on a five-yard run off right tackle to extend the gap again.

Thomas found a wide open David Paulson in the end zone for a 22-yard score with 4:45 left in the third for a 49-24 bulge.

Prince left the game briefly early in the fourth quarter and was replaced by Richard Brehaut, who was picked off by Terrance Mitchell.

The Bruins stopped Barner at the six on a fourth down run later in the quarter, and Rosario made a spectacular one-handed TD grab on a pass from Prince with under two minutes remaining. That capped a 15-play, 94-yard drive.

Oregon recovered the ensuing onside kick and ran out the clock.

"I felt we played a good game," Rosario said. "The turnovers killed us, but we gave them a run for their money, aside from the turnovers. So congratulations to them. They will represent the Pac-12 well in the Rose Bowl."

Game Notes

James moved into third place all-time in Pac-12 history in rushing yards with 4,923 yards...Rosario caught six passes for 98 yards...Coleman gained 83 yards on 16 carries for UCLA...After losing five straight December games from 2002-07, Oregon has won its last five contests played in the month...Thomas' three touchdown passes gave him 63 for his career, making him Oregon's career leader.