Golden Bears Fall to No. 9 Oregon, 43-15
Oct. 6, 2011
EUGENE, Ore. (AP) - Cal fell to No. 9 Oregon, 43-15 on Thursday night with the nation's leading rusher LaMichael James going down early in the fourth quarter. The Ducks (4-1, 2-0 Pac-12) were driving in the second half against the Golden Bears (3-2, 0-2) when he was injured.
Giorgio Tavecchio made three field goals - including a career-best 54-yarder - for Cal, which led 15-14 at the half but couldn't sustain its momentum against the country's top scoring offense.
True freshman De'Anthony Thomas caught a pair of touchdown passes and ran for another score for the Ducks, who have won four straight since a season-opening loss to LSU.
James, a Heisman Trophy finalist last season, has run for at least 200 yards in his last three games, something no Ducks player had done before.
The crowd at Autzen Stadium fell silent when James did not get up on the fourth-quarter scoring drive, but he waved to the crowd as he was driven off the field. A short time later, an ambulance with lights flashing pulled up to the stadium.
Cal took a 3-0 lead on Tavecchio's 27-yard field goal on the first series of the game, but James answered with a 53-yard dash for a score and the Ducks looked to be taking off. It was James' third touchdown run of 50 or more yards this season.
Tavechhio added another field goal, this time a 38-yarder, to make it 7-6. A rain storm moved in over Autzen and slowed play a bit, but Oregon extended its lead on Thomas' 17-yard touchdown run late in the first quarter.
Tavecchio's career-long 54-yard field goal cut it to 14-9.
Although it looked as though James might have been injured early in the second quarter when he was slow to get up from a hit and went to the sideline holding the back of his right thigh, he returned and had a 39-yard run, which put him over 4,000 for his career. He's the sixth player in conference history to reach that milestone.
But on the same drive, the Bears stopped Oregon on a fourth down on their own 41. Quarterback Zach Maynard led an efficient march that was capped by his 12-yard touchdown pass to Kennan Allen that gave the Bears a 15-14 lead.
Tavecchio attempted a 40-yard field goal before the end of the first half, but it was blocked.
After the half, Oregon quickly regained the lead with Darron Thomas' 23-yard pass to De'Anthony Thomas. The Ducks extended it on Kenjon Barner's 68-yard touchdown run and Darron Thomas completed pass to De-Anthony Thomas for the 2-point conversion.
Darron Thomas hit De'Anthony Thomas again with a 21-yard touchdown before James was injured on the fourth-quarter drive that was capped by Darron Thomas' 3-yard scoring pass to Lavasier Tuinei.
Darron Thomas completed 13 of 25 passes for 198 yards and three touchdowns. Maynard finished 20 of 41 for 218 yards and a score.
Last season Oregon struggled against Cal last year in Berkeley, emerging with a 15-13 victory. The win featured the fewest points and yards (317) for the speedy Ducks last season. James was held to 91 yards rushing, which at that time was a season low, and Oregon had to look to its defense to keep the Bears at bay.