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Oregon Ducks starting quarterback Darron Thomas did not play during Saturday's game against the Colorado buffaloes and didn't need to as the Ducks came away as 45-2 victors. Regardless of the game's outcome, the Ducks would like to see the efficient Thomas back on the field as soon as possible. According to Oregon's Andy McNamara, Thomas throws touchdowns on 18.5% of his completions, placing him tops in the country.
So far this season, Thomas has recorded 17 total touchdowns and has 92 completions. He has a 61.4% completion rating and averages 8.18 yards per attempt with 1,227 total yards.
Thomas' stats make sense in the Ducks offense. Oregon runs the ball and breaks off big plays behind the likes of LaMichael James (who is recovering from an injury of his own), Kenjon Barner and De'Anthony Thomas. Once the defense keys in on the running backs, Thomas has space in the passing game and can go about finding receivers efficiently.
His work in the endzone gives the Ducks an element of surprise during long drives. Teams may expect Oregon to use its talented running backs to tack on points, but Thomas has proven that he can be quite efficient when the Ducks get close to scoring.
The Ducks will be happy to see Thomas back on the field when he recovers fully from his knee injury. Oregon travels to Washington State this week before potentially tough road games against Washington and Stanford.
The Oregon Ducks put on an offensive show during the first quarter of Saturday's game against the Colorado Buffaloes that set the tone for the rest of the contest. In the game's opening quarter, the Ducks racked up 29 points en route to a 45-2 win.
Quarterback Bryan Bennett, who got his first career start due to an injured Darron Thomas, helped engineer Oregon's early-game offensive success. Bennett scrambled for a 43-yard gain during the game's opening drive to set up a Kenjon Barner four-yard rushing touchdown. Barner tacked on a successful two-point conversion following the score, giving the Ducks an 8-0 lead just 1:36 into the game.
Bennett and Barner continued to dissect the Colorado defense in the first quarter. Barner broke off an 83-yard touchdown run while Bennett found De'Anthony Thomas for a 14-yard score and David Nelson for a 31-yard touchdown in the period. Both players accounted for two scores each in the first quarter and gave the Ducks a 29-0 lead at the end of the period.
The Oregon defense registered a touchdown of its own in the second quarter. Michael Clay intercepted Colorado quarterback Tyler Hansen and returned the football for a 32-yard touchdown, and Oregon entered halftime with a 35-0 advantage.
The Ducks tacked on 10 more points in the third quarter behind Bennett and freshman running back Tra Carson, who saw playing time in the second half after Oregon mounted a sizeable lead. Carson punched in a one-yard touchdown run and kicker Alejandro Maldonado connected on a 36-yard field goal. Meanwhile, Colorado got a safety after punting and downing return man Cliff Harris in the endzone. Harris, who caught the ball at Oregon's two-yard line, backpedaled and was brought down in the endzone to give Colorado its only points of the game.
Neither team scored in the fourth quarter. Oregon ran down the clock by moving the ball with Carson on early downs and fellow freshman running back Ayele Forde on latter downs. After several punts by both teams, the game ended with a convincing 45-2 victory for the Ducks.
Bennett did much of his damage in the first quarter and ended the game with 156 passing yards on 11-of-20 passing, two passing touchdowns and 69 rushing yards. Barner posted 115 rushing yards and two scores on 10 carries while Carson added 77 rushing yards and one touchdown on 10 carries. David Paulson led an incredibly balanced Oregon receiving unit with 48 yards and one touchdown on two receptions.
The Ducks move to 6-1 on the season and 4-0 in the Pac-12 with the victory. The Ducks take on Washington State at home next week before two big road games against No. 22 Washington and No. 7 Stanford.
The Oregon Ducks picked up right where they left off in the second half of their game against the Colorado Buffaloes. The Ducks piled on one more touchdown and a field goal, adding to their five-touchdown total from the first half, to give themselves a 45-2 lead through three quarters.
Colorado received the kickoff to begin the second half but went three-and-out right away. Quarterback Bryan Bennett, who is filling in for the injured Darron Thomas, continued his dominance over the Buffaloes defense as he moved the Ducks down the field. Freshman running back Tra Carson took over running back duties over the latter portion of the drive when head coach Chip Kelly opted to give the freshman some playing time and rest Kenjon Barner. Carson made the drive count, concluding the drive with a one-yard rushing touchdown that gave the Ducks a 41-0 lead.
He went right back to work on Oregon's following possession, breaking off runs of 14 and 15 yards to move into Colorado territory. The Ducks failed to score a touchdown but tacked three more points onto the scoreboard with a 36-yard field goal by Alejandro Maldonado.
Colorado generated its first points of the game following a 43-yard punt by Darragh O'Neil. Oregon return man Cliff Harris backpedaled and was taken down in the endzone for a safety.
Through three quarters, the Oregon defense has surrendered just 201 total yards of offense to Colorado while generating 450 yards of their own. The Ducks lead 45-2 heading into the fourth quarter.
The Oregon Ducks cooled down from their hot first quarter in the second period but head into halfway with a sizeable lead over the Colorado Buffaloes. The Ducks lead 35-0 after scoring five touchdowns.
Oregon scored four of those touchdowns in the first quarter: two passing touchdowns by quarterback Bryan Bennett-who got his first career start with quarterback Darron Thomas out- and two rushing touchdowns by running back Kenjon Barner. Barner also converted a two-point conversion attempt on the Ducks opening score, and Oregon ended the first quarter with a 29-0 lead.
The defense accounted for a score in the second period. Both sides exchanged punts over the opening portion of the second quarter before Michael Clay intercepted Buffaleos quarterback Tyler Hansen for a 32-yard touchdown.
The Ducks offense tried to string together a scoring drive towards the end of the second quarter but couldn't convert on a 4th-and-1 at the Buffalo 40-yard line. Colorado gained possession but failed to convert on 4th-and-4 with under 0:30 seconds left on the Ducks 34-yard line to end the half scoreless.
Bennett has played very well with Thomas out, recording 120 yards and two touchdowns on 8-of-16 passing. Most of those stats- including his two touchdowns and over two-thirds of his passing yards- came in the game's opening quarter. Bennett also has 71 rushing yards on five carries. Meanwhile, Barner leads the Ducks on the ground with 105 yards and two touchdowns on just nine carries. David Paulson leads all Oregon receivers with 48 yards and one touchdown on two receptions.
Colorado will receive the kickoff to begin the second half.
The Oregon Ducks came out early and took command in the first quarter of their match-up against the Colorado Buffaloes. The Ducks scored four touchdowns and lead 29-0 after the game's opening quarter.
The Ducks struck early, using an explosive 44-yard run by quarterback Bryan Bennett to set up their first score of the game a shade over 1:30 into the contest. Running back Kenyon Barner pounded the ball in a four-yard score and then followed up by converting the two-point conversion.
Bennett kept the Ducks moving along in the absence of Darron Thomas by finding De'Anthony Thomas later about halfway through the quarter for a 14-yard score. After holding Colorado to three-and-out, Barner broke away from the Colorado defense on an 84-yard rushing touchdown to put the Ducks even further ahead 22-0.
The Ducks, however, weren't done there. Following another Buffalo three-and-out, Bennett and Thomas moved the chains and the offense down the field for one last score, capped off by a 31-yard pass from Bennett to David Paulson.
The Ducks enter the second quarter up 29-0 on the strength of four touchdowns. Bennett has filled in admirable for Darron Thomas so far, posting 87 passing yards and two touchdowns on five-of-eight passing.
The Oregon Ducks could be without their starting quarterback and running back for yet another week as they travel to Colorado. The Buffaloes (1-5, 0-3) have been terrible this season, so one has to ask if it's in Oregon's best interest to simply rest their two star players for bigger and tougher games down the stretch. It's probably not a bad idea.
For the Ducks, LaMichael James is doubtful and Darron Thomas is questionable. ROV Eddie Pleasant, TE Colt Lyerla and K Rob Beard are all questionable for Saturday's game and will all likely be game-time decisions.
Colorado has quite a few players out for various reasons and they are dealing with injuries of their own. Here is their complete injury list, courtesy of ESPN's Ted Miller:
OLB Josh Hartigan, shoulder, probable
RB Rodney Stewart, knee, out
LB Doug Rippy, knee, out
WR Kyle Cefalo, knee, out
WR Paul Richardson, knee, out
CB Brian Lockridge, ankle, out
CB Parker Orms, suspension, out
CB Jared Bell, knee, out
OL Shawn Daniels, calf, questionable
CB Travis Sandersfeld, leg, out
It will be interesting to see if UO is able to make this a blowout early or if Colorado will fight back and make a serious run at an upset. In a perfect world, the Ducks do not have to rely on any of their injured star players, but a close game in the second half could throw a wrench into those plans.
Saturday's Pac-12 matchup between the Oregon Ducks and Colorado Buffaloes is a battle of two programs going in different directions. Oregon (5-1, 3-0) just knocked off a ranked opponent in Arizona State without their star quarterback and running back. Colorado (1-6, 0-3) is winless in conference play and has allowed 31 points or more in each of their six losses.
This all being said, while the Ducks will enter as heavy favorites, the Buffaloes would love to knock off a highly ranked opponent and they will have the home crowd on their side. It will not be easy, but UO needs to avoid silly mistakes if they hope to win.
Here is all of the coverage you will need for game day:
Kickoff: 3:40 EDT / 12:40 PDT
Weather: It should be a beautiful day for football in Boulder. Sunny skies and temperatures in the mid-60's are expected on Saturday afternoon. Rain is not in the forecast.
TV: Fox Sports Net / ROOT Sports Northwest; Joel Meyers will have the play-by-play duties, Brian Baldinger will serve as the analyst and Jim Knox will report from the field.
Local Radio: Oregon Sports Network with Jerry Allen (play-by-play), Mike Jorgensen (analyst) and Jay Allen (reporter).
Satellite Radio: XM 193, Sirius 94.
Thomas, who said he’s not a fan of contact, doesn’t expect to change his running style when he returns to the field.
"I’m not changing my running style — it’s more about being aware, and getting down as the quarterback when contact is coming, not taking a lot of contact," Thomas said. "You want to be safe about your body. I just need to be watching who I’m running into, watching players around me and getting up quick, not letting players fall on me. It’s more of a precaution."
"Avoid contact?" You mean he's going to hand off the ball the entire game? Can't Bryan Bennett do that?
It's curious to see the bravado both are putting forth to try and get on the field on Saturday. It's the and ThomasColorado Buffaloes, a team that's been blown out by Stanford and Washington in successive weeks, a team that's already lost to Cal and Washington State at HOME. Why are either of them even thinking about rushing back and risking further injury? Take your rest and get ready for the crucial Pac-12 slate of Washington State, Washington, Stanford and USC four weeks out of four.
Or go ahead and play and be up 35-0 by halftime and see nothing happen to either of them. That could totally happen too.
To talk about Oregon football, head to Addicted to Quack.
The status of Oregon Ducks starting tailback LaMichael James and starting quarterback Darron Thomas is of paramount concern to the fans of the green and yellow. Although their opponent this week is the hapless Colorado Buffaloes, Oregon would love to see both of their main offensive stars back in action sooner rather than later. Bryan Bennett and Kenjon Barner are both suitable replacements, but they don't quite yet have the game-changing ability that James provides with his feet and Thomas with his arm.
There are some encouraging reports that both might be ready to play this Saturday. James is ready to go and Thomas doesn't appear to have a limp anymore. Ken Goe of the Oregonian has more.
Asked about his range motion, James replied: "I haven't got full yet, but it's close. ... I definitely could play. It's one of those things, if they need me to play. Kenjon is doing a great job of running the ball, and De'Anthony (Thomas). And Darron (Thomas) and Bryan Bennett. Those guys are doing a great job. So I don't know if they'll need me."
Thomas looked fine leaving practice in the Moshofsky Center on Tuesday. He was walking without a limp, and was in full pads.
It's debatable whether either James or Thomas are really needed this week, and of course it's hard to tell anything about whether Thomas is even ready to get back at it this weekend. Oregon should be in no rush to bring either of them back. More formidable woes await down the road.
To talk more about James, Thomas, and Ducks football, head to Addicted to Quack.
The Oregon Ducks are going to have a hard time replacing both Darron Thomas and LaMichael James for the entirety of a football season. Although Oregon did manage to show they have quality depth--more than enough to handle the upset bid of the Arizona St. Sun Devils--they're not likely to be able to win the tougher games on their scehdule if Bryan Bennett, Kenjon Barner and De'Anthony Thomas are their backfield rotation. Still potent, but more stoppable.
Thankfully, Darron won't have to be rushed back this week. The Colorado Buffaloes are the Oregon opponent this week. Oregon could probably put Brady Leaf back there and the Ducks would be 30 point favorites.
Thomas is listed as doubtful according to Justin Hopkins of Duck Territory, and is unlikely to play Saturday. It makes sense. Colorado is the easiest team left for the Ducks, and it'd make more sense for Darron to rest his injury rather than risk coming back prematurely. Let Bennett get his reps at the starter, and Oregon should be none the worse.
To talk about the Thomas injury and Oregon football in general, best to turn to Addicted to Quack.
Oregon Ducks quarterback Darron Thomas came out of Saturday night's game against the ASU Sun Devils after suffering an apparent knee injury in the third quarter. Rob Mosely of the Oregon Register-Guard is reporting that Thomas did not finish the second half for "precautionary reasons" and is hopeful that he will be ready to play in next week's game.
Thomas was the star of the first half for the sprinting Ducks en route to their 41-27 victory over their Pac-12 rivals ASU. Thomas left the field early in the third quarter and was later seen limping to the locker room. Prior to that, he had a great game, going 13-for-17 with 187 passing yards and 16 rushing yards with 2 touchdowns and an interception.
Ducks fans were already nervous going into Saturday's game, as star running back LaMichael James sat out the game with an injury. If Thomas is able to play next week, as he hopes, it would be very good news. As Oregon proved tonight, however, it wouldn't be the end of the world without their starting quarterback. After Thomas left the game, the Ducks blew it wide open, including a string of 17 unanswered points.