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Pullman, WA (Sports Network) - LaMichael James carried the ball 25 times for 136 yards and two touchdowns and also added a receiving touchdown as third- ranked Oregon outlasted Washington State, 43-23.
Darron Thomas completed 8-of-12 passes for 153 yards and a score before leaving with an apparent shoulder injury before Nate Costa came on to go 13- for-15 for 151 yards and a touchdown for the Ducks (6-0, 3-0 Pac-10), who are off to their first 6-0 start since 2002.
Jeff Maehl made 10 catches for 119 yards and a score while James made two grabs for 87 yards for Oregon, which has won six of the last seven meetings and now leads the all-time series, 43-38-7.
The Ducks scored on their first possession of the game, marching 80 yards on 13 plays in less than four minutes to take the lead on James' one-yard scoring run and Dion Jordan's run for the two-point conversion.
James Montgomery's 26-yard scoring run capped an eight-play, 70-yard drive that pulled the Cougars to within 8-7 with 4 1/2 minutes to go in the opening quarter.
Kenjon Barner fumbled on the ensuing kickoff after a hard hit and the hosts recovered at the Ducks six-yard line. The sophomore running back was down on the field for almost 10 minutes before walking off under his own power. He was then taken by ambulance to a local hospital.
Logwone Mitz carried to the one on the first play and then plunged in to the end zone on the next play to give the Cougars a 14-8 advantage less than a minute later.
The Ducks regained the lead on an 84-yard catch and run by James with just under three minutes to go in the period. Cliff Harris then brought back a punt 67 yards for a touchdown that pushed the Ducks' advantage back to eight with 8:25 to go in the half.
The Cougars responded with an 11-play, 48-yard drive that was finished off by Nico Grasu's 50-yard field goal that sliced the lead to 22-17.
James capped off the next drive with another one-yard scoring run to give the Ducks a 29-17 lead with just under 2 1/2 minutes remaining in the half. Costa stepped in for Thomas and directed the eight-play, 83-yard march.
The teams traded third quarter touchdowns, as Costa ran in from 18 yards away to extend the lead to 19 before Tuel tossed an 11-yard touchdown to Daniel Blackledge to make it 36-23 with just over 4 1/2 minutes remaining.
Costa connected with Maehl on a 34-yard scoring pass 3:15 into the final quarter to complete the scoring.
Oregon has allowed only 13 second half points this season and none in the fourth quarter...James has 13 100-yard rushing games in his career, one shy of the all-time record set by Jonathan Stewart from 2005-07. He has now run for 2,394 yards to pass Bobby Moore and Jeremiah Johnson to move into sixth place all-time on the Ducks list...James has scored in all five games this season and has 23 touchdowns in 18 career games. Five of his last 10 touchdowns have gone for 50 yards-or-more...Maehl has 132 career catches and moved past Ed Dickson, Bob Newland and Moore into seventh place on the Ducks' all-time list. He has caught a pass in 27 straight games...Costa's 13 completions were a career-high as were his 84 yards rushing...Harris has returned three punts for touchdowns in 2010, a Ducks single-season record...Mitz carried 15 times for 55 yards while Montgomery added 50 yards on 11 totes...Blackledge caught three passes for 27 yards while Marquess Wilson hauled in four balls for 57 yards in defeat...Washington State has lost four of the last five games in Pullman to Oregon.
GAME NOTES: The Oregon Ducks have climbed to the third position in the most recent AP poll, and they are heavily favored in this weekend's Pac-10 Conference clash with the Washington State Cougars.
The Ducks got off to a bit of a slow start against Stanford last weekend, but they eventually got in gear and cruised to a 52-31 win over a very strong football team. Oregon is now 5-0 overall, including 2-0 in Pac-10 action, and all five of their wins have come by double figures. The Ducks have been explosive, scoring no fewer than 42 points in any contest.
As for Washington State, it has suffered three consecutive losses to fall to 1-4 overall. The lone victory to date came by one point over Montana State, an FCS program, and the four losses have all come by double figures. Last weekend, the Cougars fell to UCLA on the road by a 42-28 final.
Oregon owns a 42-38-7 series edge over Washington State, which includes three straight wins over the Cougars.
The Ducks are racking up 56.6 ppg and 569.2 total ypg, staggering numbers that undoubtedly concern Washington State heading into this weekend's affair. The strength of the Oregon offense is the ground attack, which accounts for 331.0 ypg at a clip of 6.6 ypc. The offense has already scored 31 touchdowns, and 18 have come on the ground.
LaMichael James is a legitimate Heisman candidate, as the explosive tailback has already rushed for 712 yards and seven touchdowns despite missing one of the club's two games. Darron Thomas, the team's quarterback, has played like a proven veteran, rushing for 219 yards and two scores while passing for 1,060 yards with 13 touchdowns and five interceptions. Jeff Maehl has made 21 catches for 304 yards and four touchdowns.
The Ducks rolled up 626 total yards against Stanford last week, a truly exceptional performance. James rushed for 257 yards and three touchdowns on 31 carries, while Thomas added 117 yards and a score on the ground. As a passer, Thomas threw for 238 yards and three touchdowns, overshadowing a pair of interceptions.
"He is a leader every week," says James of Thomas. "When he throws a pick, he bounces back. The thing about him is that he is happier when someone else scores a touchdown than when he does."
Opponents are only managing 15.0 ppg against the Ducks, so while the offense gets all of the attention, the team's defense is obvious formidable as well. Oregon is yielding a mere 3.7 yards per rushing attempt and has posted 11 interceptions versus just five touchdown passes allowed. Cliff Harris has registered four of the 11 picks.
Stanford is one of the better offensive teams in the nation, so the Oregon defensive stats took a bit of a hit last week. The Ducks permitted 518 total yards and four touchdowns, as the defense spent over 33 minutes on the field. Fortunately, the level of competition isn't nearly as high this weekend.
"Our defense did a great job of making adjustments," said head coach Chip Kelly, whose Ducks blanked the Cardinal in the second half. "That's a really good football team (Stanford). They will be a force down the road."
Washington State is scoring 21.0 ppg while posting 339.4 total ypg through the first five outings of this campaign. The Cougars have been unsuccessful running the football, as they are averaging 86.0 ypg at a clip of 2.7 yards per carry. Of the 13 touchdowns scored by the offense, just four have come on the ground. Therefore, a great deal of pressure has fallen on the passing game.
Quarterback Jeff Tuel has completed 57.0 percent of his passes for 1,233 yards with eight touchdowns and only four interceptions. Wide receiver Marquess Wilson registered his third game of more than 100 receiving yards last week at UCLA (118 yards), making him just the second freshman wideout in school history to post multiple 100-yard games in a single season. Tuel completed 20- of-37 passes against UCLA for 311 yards and two scores with no picks.
"We fought and we played like a Pac-10 football team today," said head coach Paul Wulff. "We haven't done that before. It's a tribute to their mission for four quarters and their effort. So there was some growing up out there obviously. There were a lot of really good things that we can work on."
Defensively, the Cougars have struggled mightily, permitting 42.8 ppg and 509.8 total ypg to opponents. They have been consistently weak throughout the course of games, having permitted cumulative totals of 58, 55, 59 and 42 points in the four quarters of their games. Washington State is being victimized for 6.5 yards per rushing attempt and 12.2 yards per pass completion.
Last week, WSU permitted UCLA to make good on 8-of-14 third-down conversion attempts and hold the ball for nearly 35 minutes. The Cougars gave up 565 total yards and surrendered five rushing touchdowns.
There is no reason to expect anything other than a blowout by the Ducks. Oregon is far superior to Washington State in all aspects of the game.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Oregon 63, Washington State 14
The Cougars have made a few changes on defense ahead of today’s matchup against the Oregon Ducks. Middle linebacker Mike Ledgerwood and safety Chima Nwachukwu are both out with injuries. In their place, a few youth get a chance to shine against the deadly Oregon offense.
At safety, freshman Deone Bucannon, a bright spot early-on, and redshirt freshman Anthony Carpenter, a safety turned cornerback turned safety again, will split time in place of Nwachukwu. At middle linebacker, freshman C.J. Mizell gets his chance at the starting job. Mizell had a problem “bringing it” in practice for most of the season but now appears to “get it”.
Even with the changes, WSU should struggle with Oregon’s high-powered spread offense. Whether it’s LaMichael James, Darron Thomas or any of the Ducks other weapons, Oregon is incredibly hard to contain.
First it was on TV, then it wasn't. Now, the Oregon Ducks will be televised live on CSN in Oregon as they take on the Washington State Cougars this weekend at 2 p.m. After all the fuss throughout the past week, and Washington States refusal to move the game time because of money issues, the situation is finally resolved.
The official Oregon Ducks football Twitter account confirmed the news moments ago.
Fans in Oregon, and Southwestern Washington, will be able to see the game on their local Comcast Sports affilliate. Due to Pac-10 broadcast restriction, the game will not be shown live in the rest of Washington.
For those that miss it, CSN will replay the game at 6:30 p.m.
See? That wasn't so hard, was it?
There’s no PR like free PR for Dairy Queen. On the back of his bizarre Dairy Queen Blizzard analogy earlier this week, the frozen dessert chain sent Chip Kelly and his staff free Blizzards today.
The Oregonian’s Ken Goe reported on the sights and sounds inside the Oregon football offices today.
A Eugene Dairy Queen delivered a number of DQ Blizzards to the UO football offices yesterday in the wake of Kelly’s comments in a teleconference that he preferred the “Chocolate with Oreo Cookie” Blizzard.
“They did bring them to the office,” Kelly said. “They did a nice job. We thank them. We spread them out to the entire upper floor (of the Casanova Center). It was very nice of the Coburg Road Dairy Queen.”
Hours after triumphantly announcing it would be televising the Oregon-WSU game, Comcast Sports Northwest has pulled the announcement from its website, leaving everyone to wonder what happened. As of now, it appears the game will be only available to those at Martin Stadium in Pullman.
Changing networks, even without changing the game-time, requires a waiver. Instead of just both teams having to agree on it, which shouldn’t be a problem, FSN and the Pac-10 also have to sign off on the Comcast Sports deal. That, apparently, never happened today.
Commence whining and finger-pointing for the millionth time this week...now.
Want to see the Oregon Ducks and Washington State Cougars this Saturday live on TV? Good news! After FSN dropped the ball earlier this week, Comcast picked it up and ran with it, choosing to televise the top-ranked Ducks live at 2 p.m. on Saturday.
The move allows WSU to keep the start time the same and gives local fans, at least in Oregon, the chance to see their Ducks play.
Take note: the game will not be aired live in Washington, unless you live in Clark County, due to Pac-10 television restrictions.
Oregon Ducks head coach Chip Kelly is known for his straight shooting interviews. He doesn’t look ahead, respects the week’s opponent and isn’t baited into giving bulletin-board material. This week, the quotable Mr. Kelly gave the media another one for the books, using Dairy Queen Blizzards as an analogy for the Ducks’ win over Stanford.
The Oregonian’s Ken Goe has Kelly’s response to a question about practice habits and the first team offense and defense facing off against each other.
“If you go to Dairy Queen every day and get a Blizzard, the Blizzard doesn’t taste as good on the sixth day, you know what I mean?” Kelly asked, reaching for an analogy. “If you get one once a week, or once every two weeks,” it tastes better.
Pinned down on the Blizzard question, Kelly said his personal record for consecutive days of going to Dairy Queen for a Blizzard is two.
His favorite: Chocolate with Oreo Cookie.
Add Dairy Queen to a list of “likes” for Chip Kelly that also includes Corona. I’m not sure whether to be amused by or scared of Kelly at this point.
One thing’s for sure: he’s not scared of WSU.
This weekends game between Washington State and Oregon will not be available on live TV anywhere. It’s such a rare occurrence that a top 5 team plays without being televised that it right raised some eyebrows. Did WSU not want a beating at the hands of Oregon to be seen by the masses? Was Bill Moos getting back at his former employer? Well, no, not exactly.
The Spokesman-Review’s Vince Grippi explains.
A waiver was proposed for a 12:30 start, but the game could not have been on FSN in Washington. Instead, it would have been shunted off to the same cable programming (FSN alternative) that caused such a problem with the Oklahoma State game. And there was no money involved. In fact, with a 12:30 instead of a 2 p.m. start, WSU estimates it loses about $30,000 in pregame concession sales.
In short, there was no incentive for WSU to move the start time. The game would’ve received very little exposure and, with no money to be made, it simply wasn’t worth rearranging everything to accommodate the needs of FSN.
It’s a shame that televising a top-ranked Pac-10 team, even playing bottom-feeder WSU, wasn’t a priority for the flagship network of the conference. With TV negotiations coming up next year, this should be something taken into account by Pac-10 commissioner Larry Scott.
For those not in Pullman on Saturday, the game will be replayed on a delay later in the evening or the next day. For everyone else, it’s radio or nothing at all.
WSU hung tough in LA against the UCLA Bruins last week, but it faces a bigger challenge against the Oregon Ducks this week in Pullman. The Cougs couldn't stop the run against the Bruins, allowing 437 yards on the ground in a 42-28 loss on Saturday. The weaknesses in the WSU run defense are a huge problem that should be magnified by the Ducks' prolific spread-option attack.
In an effort to slow down the Ducks' attack, the Cougs are looking at some changes on the defensive side, specifically adding more speed to the front seven. The Spokesman-Reviews Vince Grippi took a few guesses at what those changes might be last night.
The moves WSU can make are limited, though some possibilities include freshman Deone Bucannon playing more at strong safety, which would give Sekope Kaufusi, a former linebacker playing defensive end, a shot at his old position; possibly shifting outside linebacker Alex Hoffman-Ellis back inside, where he played last season; or using Jamal Atofau, a converted safety, more often.
While the defense has been terrible this year, the offense is hitting its stride. Behind the arm of Jeff Tuel and the speed of game-breaking freshman Marquess Wilson, the Cougs have improved dramatically since shifting to a more spread-oriented passing attack against USC. That success carried over to the UCLA game, with Tuel throwing for over 300 yards and two scores. Over at CougCenter, we wondered what took so long.
The offense spread everything out again, building off what we saw last week. It worked for the second straight week. We begged, even pleaded, for the offense to spread the field following three weeks of futility. I know the coaches were worried about putting too much on the young offense, but it's so frustrating to see an offense that took one week to install move with such ease.
Washington State will have trouble against the speedy Oregon defense, but the re-emergence of Tuel and the wide receivers bode well for the rest of the Cougars' season.
Oregon is coming off a huge win against ninth-ranked Stanford at Autzen Stadium. After falling behind 21-3 early, the Ducks buckled down and held the Cardinal scoreless in the second half, using a 49-10 run to propel them to victory. The win was a huge statement for the Ducks, moving them up to third in both the AP and coaches poll this week. The Oregonian's John Hunt got ahold of Chip Kelly after the win and found a coach that was grounded and downplaying the big victory.
Coach Chip Kelly had the predictable reaction to the question of how he celebrated the win over Stanford, the Ducks' 10th straight Pacific-10 Conference win at Autzen Stadium.
"I went home last night, went to bed, came in this morning and went to work,'' Kelly said. "If you call celebrating dreaming ..."
After Oregon dismantled Tennessee on the road, Addicted To Quack writer Matt Daddy put together an excellent breakdown of the Oregon defense. He focused on Cliff Harris' pick-six, giving some great insights into the scheme Ducks' defensive coordinator Nick Allioti runs in the process. His breakdown is a must read for any football fan.
Oregon's defense is built on speed (no kidding, right?) but it's also built on scheme. Early on in this game Oregon was getting beat with a ground and pound offense. Tennessee was moving down the field using an unbalanced line, big RBs and some bad reads by the linebackers. From the first quarter on Aliotti continued to put more men in the box and trust Oregon's speed to be able to cover ground. When Tennessee needed a drive to keep the game in check Aliotti waited until Tennessee had no chance but to pass and brought a confusing misdirection attacking zone blitz. This forced Simms into throwing to the guy he knew would be his quick out. Because of Oregon's speed and the scheme they used, Harris was able to make the right read, quickly react and pick it for a touchdown.
The Oregon defense has turned the opponent over 13 times in five games, taking three of those back for touchdowns. While the defense has shown the ability to make big plays, the Oregon offense is the engine that makes the team go. Darron Thomas has directed the spread-option to near perfection this year. LaMichael James and Kenjon Barner, both game-breakers in their own right, provide a scary two-headed rushing attack for the ducks.
After sitting out the opener due to suspension, James picked up right where he left off last year, making defenders miss en route to 712 yards on the ground and a ridiculous 8 yards per carry average. The Ducks are averaging 331 yards per game on the ground, a number that should increase against the Cougar defense. The Register-Guard's Rob Moseley looked at the stats and the history between Oregon and WSU this morning. WSU has played the spoiler against Oregon multiple times in the last decade, leading me to wonder if it could happen again (OK, maybe not).
That 2006 loss followed a 5-1 start by Oregon, and a 2003 defeat at the hands of WSU ended a four-game winning streak by the Ducks to open that season. The Cougars also beat Oregon in 2002 to spark a four-game losing streak to close that season - the last time the Ducks started 5-0 - and a loss at WSU in 1996 ended a three-game win streak to open that season.
It's homecoming week at WSU and the Cougs are hoping fans come to Pullman in full force. Unfortunately, the game won't be televised because of the homecoming festivities. WSU and Oregon were both granted a waiver to move the game back to 4 p.m., but FSN would only allow the game to be televised in the 12:30 p.m. slot. The result, according to the Oregonian's Aaron Fentress, is a game that can only be seen live in the stadium on Saturday.
However, according to Williford, Washington State wants to maintain a 2 p.m. start time. So, for now, the game is not scheduled to be televised.
Williford said he was unsure as to why WSU couldn't agree to change to time of the game but said that next week is homecoming week for the Cougars.
Looks like it's radio or bust for fans outside of Pullman this weekend.
The 3rd ranked Ducks take on the Washington State Cougars this Saturday in Pullman at 2 p.m. Follow this stream all week for updates on both teams as we head towards Saturday's game.
For more on the Cougars, check out SB Nation's CougCenter.
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