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Oregon Weekly Football Release - Week 3
Release Date: 09/16/2010
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For the complete release with full notes, statistics, etc., please view the PDF.

Kickoff is set for 3:17 p.m. PDT at Autzen Stadium with a live telecast on OSN. A live radio broadcast will be available across the Oregon Sports Network and on XM 193 and Sirius 212.

• The Ducks lead the all-time series with Portland State, 3-0, with all three meetings coming at Autzen Stadium.
• Oregon has outscored the Vikings by a combined 149-28 and most recently defeated PSU by a 55-12 count in 2006.

• Oregon has scored 120 points in 120 minutes this season, ranking second nationally in scoring offense at 60.0 points per game.
• The Ducks rank sixth in the FBS in scoring defense, allowing just 6.5 points per contest.
• SO RB Kenjon Barner is tied for the top spot nationally in scoring, averaging 18.0 points per game.
• The Ducks’ 35-point win over Tennessee last week was the largest margin of victory against the Vols in the 89-year history of Neyland Stadium.
• Oregon leads the nation in punt returns, averaging 43.6 yards per return. Of UO’s five total returns, three have gone for touchdowns.
• SR DT Brandon Bair is tied for the top spot in the Pac-10 with an average of 1.75 tackles for loss per game.
• Portland State head coach Nigel Burton played safety at the University of Washington from 1996-98. He was also an assistant coach in the Pac-10 at Oregon State from 2003-07.
• The Vikings have five transfers from Pac-10 programs: Three from Oregon State and two from Washington.

What more could be asked from Oregon’s 30th head coach, who became the first in Pac-10 history to win an outright conference title in his first season at the helm. Becoming the school’s first mentor to take it to the Rose Bowl, as well as earning coach-of-the-year accolades in 15 years, the Manchester, N.H., native guided his team to more wins in his first year in the Pac-8/10 since John Robinson led USC to 10 wins in 1976.

The Ducks lead the nation in punt returns (43.6) and rank second in scoring offense (60.0) and total offense (583.5). Oregon also ranks among the top 10 in rushing offense (5th, 307.0), scoring defense (6th, 6.5), pass efficiency defense (7th, 71.7) and sacks allowed (t10th, 0.50).

After the first two weeks of the college football season, Oregon leads the Pac-10 in nine different statistical categories: Scoring offense (60.0), total offense (583.5), rushing offense (307.0), punt return average (43.6), PAT kicking (15-15, 1.000), sacks against (0.5), first downs (30.5), opponent 3rd-down conversions (5-28, 17.9% and opponent 4th-down conversions (0-5, .000). Individually, SO RB Kenjon Barner is the league’s top man in scoring (18.0 ppg) and all-purpose yards (226.5), and SO CB Cliff Harris is the top punt returner (62.5). SR DT Brandon Bair is tied for the league lead in tackles for loss (1.75) and SR LB Bryson Littlejohn is first in fumbles recovered (1.00).

In each of his last three games, dating to the 2010 Rose Bowl, SO RB Kenjon Barner has accumulated at least 225 all-purpose yards: 227 vs. Ohio State, 225 vs. New Mexico and a career-high 228 at Tennessee. No Oregon player in the past decade has had more than two consecutive games of more than 200 all-purpose yards.

By outscoring their opponents by a combined 120-13, the Ducks have a combined margin of victory of 107 points - the most for a two-game stretch since a 125-point margin in 1916, when UO followed up a 97-0 win vs. Willamette with a 28-0 victory over MAAC.

SO RB Kenjon Barner equaled UO’s modern scoring record with 5 touchdowns (4 rush, 1 rec) vs. New Mexico Sept. 4, tying Saladin McCullough, who ran for five scores vs. Arizona, Nov. 9, 1996. Barner scored all 30 of his points before halftime, surpassing his 2009 season total of 24 (3 rush TD, 1 ret TD).

Just 15 games into his college playing career, SO RB Kenjon Barner has already climbed onto Oregon’s career list for kick return yardage, ranking eighth with 1,136 yards. The Riverside, Calif., product also ranks third all-time in punt return average (14.4) and recently surpassed 2,000 all-purpose yards to date (2,006).

The 80-yard punt return for a touchdown by SO RB Kenjon Barner at Tennessee tied for the eighth longest such return in school history.

Running back LaMichael James bested the 100-yard rushing mark in his season debut at Tennessee (134) to give him 10 games of 100-plus in his career, tying him for fifth on all-time at UO. James is only four away from Jonathan Stewart’s (2005-07) UO record of 14. James eclipsed the 100-yard pinnacle in eight of nine Pac-10 games a year ago, including seven straight to end the regular season.

With 10 receptions through the first two games of the season, SR WR Jeff Maehl is 11 catches away from breaking into the top 10 on Oregon’s career list. The true senior from Paradise, Calif., has played the last 31 games at receiver after spending the first 10 of his career at safety.

SO CB Cliff Harris has made the most of his 10 appearances in an Oregon uniform. Brought out of a potential redshirt midway through last season, the former U.S. Army All-American ranks second among active players in career pass breakups with 10. Add to that two interceptions, including his first “pick 6” on a 76-yard return at Tennessee, and a pair of punt returns for touchdowns, and you have a player with a career’s worth of big plays with the majority of his collegiate playing days still in front of him.

JR TE David Paulson, who had four catches including a TD for the second straight game in the win at Tennessee, has 18 career receptions - all but two resulting in either a first down or a touchdown. He is averaging 16.0 yards per catch for his career.

SO P Jackson Rice (special teams) was selected Pac-10 player of the week for Week 2 after pinning all four of his punts at Tennessee inside the Vols’ 20-yard line … The College Football Performance Awards named SO RB Kenjon Barner as its national punt returner of the week.  SO CB Cliff Harris and JR TE David Paulson were honorable mention performers of the week at their respective positions.

Pac-10 Player of the Week
Kenjon Barner (offense); Cliff Harris (special teams)
CFPA Performer of the Week
Cliff Harris (punt returner)
Paul Hornung Performance of the Week
Kenjon Barner

Pac-10 Player of the Week
Jackson Rice (special teams)
CFPA Performer of the Week
Kenjon Barner (punt returner)
Paul Hornung Performance of the Week
Kenjon Barner

SR RB Remene Alston Jr. and SO RB Kenjon Barner etched their names in the UO record book by each surpassing 100 yards rushing for the first time in the win vs. New Mexico Sept. 4. Alston set career highs with 21 carries and 110 yards, as did Barner, who rushed 17 times for a net of 147. Teammate SO RB LaMichael James has 10 such efforts in his career.

TOP 25
The Ducks moved up two spots in both polls after Week 2, coming in at No. 5 in the Associated Press top 25 and No. 6 in the USA Today (coaches poll) index. Both rankings are the highest

The Ducks have won 11 straight games at Autzen Stadium, dating to 2008, which is the second longest streak in stadium history. UO won a record 23 straight between 1997 and 2001. Oregon has won its last nine Pac-10 contests at home since falling in overtime against Oregon State in the 2007 Civil War.

With an opening day record crowd of 59,106 vs. New Mexico on Sept. 4, Oregon has sold out Autzen Stadium (cap. 54,000) for 69 consecutive games, dating to 1999.

The 72-0 result vs. New Mexico Sept. 4 was the Ducks’ first shutout since blanking Stanford 35-0 on Oct. 25, 2003.

Oregon’s 2010 defense was billed as a swarming, deep crew during preseason camp and that description looks to be spot-on if the first two games were any indication. The Ducks saw 29 players make a tackle vs. New Mexico, with 20 of those guys recording multiple stops, and 26 players credited with stops at Tennessee.

Head coach Chip Kelly made his sideline debut at Autzen Stadium Sept. 12, 2009 (W 38-36 vs. Purdue) after spending the prior two seasons calling plays from a booth high above the field as the team’s offensive coordinator. Since Kelly’s arrival in 2007, the Ducks are 18-3 at Autzen, averaging 42.6 points per home game.

At the start of last season, UO had 18 returning players with starting experience. This year, 27 such student-athletes came in with at least one starting assignment under their belts. Last year’s returners totaled 174 career starts while this year’s returners total 279, an average of 12.7 per man on the 2-deep depth chart.

After claiming its third Pacific-10 Conference championship of the decade (t’00, ‘01 and ‘09), Oregon sets its sights on its ninth league title in 2010. (Only USC won more shares of the conference crown, 7, during that span than Oregon.) The Ducks hope their next 10 seasons will be as successful, if not more, than the previous decade as they accumulated more wins (87-38, 69.6%) than any other 10-year span in school history.  Entering 2000 having achieved a school-record nine wins on six occasions, Oregon not only matched that number since the start of the century, it posted 10 or more victories in a single season five times.

The 2-0 Ducks will be looking for their first 3-0 start since 2008. Oregon started seasons at 3-0 or better in four consecutive years from 2005 to ‘08, but have not opened with more than four straight victories since starting 6-0 in 2002.

Oregon’s 72-0 rout of New Mexico on Sept. 4 produced a fair number of school records, including 720 yards of total offense to best the old mark of 694 at Oregon State in the 2008 Civil War. The Ducks equaled the program’s modern scoring record with 72 points while setting a new modern record for scoring margin (also 72 points), the most since a 72-10 victory vs. Nevada, Sept. 18, 1999. It was UO’s most points overall since a 97-0 win over Willamette (Ore.) in 1916.

Only three new starters took the field in Oregon’s season opener vs. New Mexico, led by SO QB Darron Thomas as the only first-time starter for the offense. On defense, JR DE Terrell Turner and SR DT Zac Clark made opening assignments for the first time. True FR K Eric Solis handled kicking duties in his first-ever game at Autzen.

Of the many records set in Oregon’s lopsided 72-0 victory over New Mexico to start the season, none may hold up longer than the mark set by SO CB Cliff Harris, who became the first UO player to return two punts for touchdowns in a single game. The Fresno, Calif., product replaced regular returner SO RB Kenjon Barner, who was given the rest of the day off with UO on top 42-0 in the second quarter, and fielded the first two punts of his career, taking one back for 61 yards and the next for 64. Harris tied Oregon’s season record for punt return TDs and also tied the conference single-game record, which was last accomplished by USC’s Mike Garrett in 1965 vs. Cal (also Sam Brown, UCLA vs. Stanford, 1954).

It had been nearly two years since SO QB Darron Thomas had played in a game at Autzen Stadium, but his second appearance was almost identical to his first, statistically speaking (the outcomes were obviously different). The Texan’s home debut came vs. Boise State on Sept. 20, 2008, when he was taken out of a potential redshirt with just over 15 minutes to play and nearly led the Ducks back from a 24-point deficit. In that game, he completed 13 of 25 passes for 210 yards, 3 TDs and had 1 INT. In his second home game (vs. NM, Sept. 4, 2010), this time playing just over one quarter at the beginning of the contest, UO’s newly minted starter completed 13 of 23 passes for 220 yards, 2 TDs and 1 INT. So in barely more than a half of home football (35:55 to be precise), Thomas is 26 of 48 (54.2%) for 430 yards, 5 TDs and 2 INTs.

Oregon opened the season with assurances that no fewer than seven of its 12 regular-season games would be nationally televised as part of the Pac-10’s network television contract, beginning with the school’s Sept. 11 road opener at Tennessee. The Ducks’ first venture to a SEC venue since 2003 was televised on ESPN2. Other confirmed TV games - at Arizona State (Sept. 25, FSN), Stanford (Oct. 2, ESPN), UCLA (Oct. 21, ESPN), USC (Oct. 30, ABC), and Arizona (Nov. 26, ESPN). The Oregon at Oregon State game (Dec. 4) is guaranteed to be televised - the remaining questions are what time and network. The choices would be 12:30 (ABC), 4:00 (Versus) or 7:30 (FSN). In addition, televised home games vs. New Mexico (Sept. 4, 12:30 p.m.) and Portland State (Sept. 18, 3:15 p.m.) were picked up by the Oregon Sports Network via Comcast SportsNet Northwest.

An overlooked facet of Oregon’s success has been the continuity of its coaching staff. Although second-year head coach Chip Kelly begins just his fourth season as part of the Ducks’ program, the core of the staff has remained intact over the course of three different head coaches. Running backs coach Gary Campbell enters his 28th year on the Oregon staff, which equals the longest tenure of any Oregon assistant football coach in school history. In addition, offensive line coach and running game coordinator Steve Greatwood begins his 25th year on the Ducks’ coaching staff, linebackers coach Don Pellum is in his 23rd season, while defensive coordinator Nick Aliotti begins his 20th season at Oregon.

The University of Oregon received the top spot in the Pac-10 preseason media poll. The defending Pac-10 champions garnered 15 first-place from the 35 West Coast media members who participated in the poll. The Ducks earned the top spot for just the second time since the poll began in 1961. Oregon was also a preseason favorite in 2001, going on to win the Pac-10. The media poll has correctly selected the Conference Champion in 26 of 49 previous polls, including nine of the last 10.

1. Oregon (15)    314
2. USC (12)    311
3. Oregon State (3)    262
4. Stanford (1)    233
5. Arizona (2)    222
6. Washington (1)    209
7. California    175
8. UCLA (1)    134
9. Arizona State    81
10. Washington State    39

First place votes in parenthesis (  )

2010 Preseason All-Americans
LaMichael James, First Team (Yahoo! Sports); Second Team (,, Sporting News,

Casey Matthews, Second Team (; Third Team (; Honorable Mention (

Chuck Bednarik Award Watch List
(top defensive player)
Kenny Rowe

Walter Camp Foundation 2010 Player of the Year Watch List
LaMichael James

Ted Hendricks Award Watch List
(top defensive lineman)
Kenny Rowe

Paul Hornung Award Watch List
(most versatile player)
Kenjon Barner

Lombardi Award Watch List
 (outstanding lineman or linebacker)
Casey Matthews
Kenny Rowe
Bo Thran

Lott Trophy Watch List
(defensive IMPACT player)
Casey Matthews
Kenny Rowe

Maxwell Award Watch List
(outstanding college football player)
LaMichael James

Bronco Nagurski Trophy Watch List
(nation’s top defensive player)
Kenny Rowe

Outland Trophy Watch List
(outstanding interior lineman)
Bo Thran

Rimington Trophy Watch List
(Nation’s top center)
Jordan Holmes

Preseason All-Pac-10
First Team
John Boyett (Phil Steele)
LaMichael James (Sporting News, Rivals, Phil Steele)
Casey Matthews (Sporting News, Rivals)
Kenny Rowe (Sporting News, Rivals)
Bo Thran (Sporting News, Rivals, Phil Steele)

Second Team
Brandon Bair (Rivals, Phil Steele)
Kenjon Barner, KR (Rivals, Phil Steele)
Jeff Maehl (Rivals, Phil Steele)
Casey Matthews (Phil Steele)
Spencer Paysinger (Phil Steele)
Kenny Rowe (Phil Steele)
Carson York (Rivals, Phil Steele)

Third Team
Mark Asper (Phil Steele)
Talmadge Jackson III (Phil Steele)

Fourth Team
Cliff Harris (Phil Steele)

Ducks On Pac-12 Networks