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Oregon Weekly Football Release - Week 5
Release Date: 09/29/2010
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For the complete release with full notes, statistics, etc., please view the PDF.

Kickoff is set for 5:12 p.m. PT at Autzen Stadium with a live national telecast on ABC and ESPN2. A live radio broadcast will be available across the Oregon Sports Network and Westwood One and on XM 198.

• Stanford leads the all-time series 44-28-1, including a 9-9 mark at Autzen, but Oregon has won seven of the past eight against the Cardinal.
• The Ducks average margin of victory vs. Stanford is 26.8 points per game over the past four meetings in Eugene, dating to 2002.
• The Cardinal snapped a seven-game losing streak vs. Oregon last season in Palo Alto (51-42) despite being out-gained 570 yards to 505.

• The Ducks will be going after their tenth straight Pac-10 victory at Autzen Stadium, having not dropped a conference game at home since the 2007 Civil War.
• Oregon is 3-1 when hosting ESPN College GameDay.
• The Ducks have allowed only seven points after halftime and zero points in the fourth quarter this season.
• UO has had at least one play of 60 yards or more in all four games this season.
• 11 of Oregon’s 24 offensive drives resulting in a touchdown have lasted 56 seconds or less and 19 have lasted 1:49 or less.
• SO RB LaMichael James reached the 2,000-yard rushing plateau faster than other player in school history, needing only 16 games to do so. James became the 14th UO player to accomplish the feat in Saturday’s win at Arizona State.
• SR LB Casey Matthews has come up with five turnovers in four games with a pair of interceptions and three fumble recoveries. He has at least a share of the Pac-10 lead in both categories.

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 former Oregon player and assistant coach John Robinson led USC to 10 wins in 1976.

The Ducks lead the nation in scoring offense (57.8), turnover margin (+2.75) and sacks allowed (0.25). Oregon also ranks among the top 10 in passing efficiency defense (2nd, 83.63), rushing offense (4th, 316.8), total offense (3rd, 555.0), scoring defense (t3rd, 11.0), punt returns (4th, 20.3) and net punting (10th, 42.22). Individually, SO CB Cliff Harris is the national leader in punt return average (28.1), SO RB LaMichael James is fourth in rushing yards per game (151.7), and SR DT Brandon Bair is tied for seventh in tackles for loss (2.13).

After the first three weeks of the college football season, Oregon leads the Pac-10 in 12 of 31 statistical categories: Scoring offense (57.8), total offense (555.0), rushing offense (316.8), scoring defense (11.0), pass efficiency defense (83.6), interceptions (9), PAT kicking (30-30, 1.000), sacks against (0.25), 1st downs (26.5), opponent 3rd-down conversions (14-66, 21.2%), turnover margin (+2.75) and red zone defense (5-10, 50%). Individually, SO RB LaMichael James is the top rusher in the Pac-10 (151.7), SO CB Cliff Harris is the league’s top punt returner (21.8), SO PK Rob Beard is tied for first among kickers in scoring average (11.0), SR DT Brandon Bair leads in tackles for loss (2.12), Harris and SR LB Casey Matthews are tied for first in interceptions per game (0.50) while Matthews also leads in fumble recoveries (0.75).

ESPN College GameDay will produce its weekly college football preview show from the University of Oregon this week, marking the fifth appearance in Eugene by the immensely popular show which features Chris Fowler, Lee Corso, Kirk Herbstreit, Desmond Howard and Erin Andrews. Oregon has a 3-1 record when hosting GameDay with the lone defeat coming vs. No. 6 Cal, 31-24, in 2007. Last season, the No. 10 Ducks upset the fourth-ranked USC Trojans on Halloween by a 47-20 score. Other home wins in front of GameDay were a 35-23 win vs. No. 6 Arizona State (UO was No. 4) in ‘07 and a 29-10 upset of No. 6 UCLA in 2000 (UO was unranked). The premier college football pre-game show  has aired weekly on ESPN since its inception in 1989. Oregon has been the road team for GameDay visits at Arizona in ‘09 and UCLA in 1998, when the show originated from the Rose Bowl in Pasadena.

Since 1999, the Ducks are 8-9 against top 10 opposition, including wins in four out of the last six. Oregon is 2-1 against the top 10 under Chip Kelly, with the lone defeat coming against No. 8 Ohio State in the 2010 Rose Bowl.

Saturday’s game will be Oregon’s first against a top 25 team this season. Last year, Chip Kelly’s first as Oregon head coach, the Ducks were 4-2 against top 25 competition. UO’s only loss to a non-ranked team during the Kelly era came at Stanford on Nov. 7, 2009.

Through four games, the Ducks have 33 plays (not including kickoff returns) of more than 20 yards, 13 of 40 or more yards, eight of 60 or more yards and one of 80 yards. Of the 33 big plays, 19 have resulted in touchdowns.

80 - Barner punt return at UT*
76 - Harris INT return at UT*
72 - James rush at UT*
66 - James rush vs. PSU*
64 - Harris punt return vs. UNM
61 - Harris punt return vs. UNM
61 - Paulson reception (Thomas) at ASU
60 - Barner reception (Thomas) vs. UNM*
54 - Huff reception (Thomas) at ASU*
52 - James rush vs. PSU
47 - Maehl reception (Thomas) vs. PSU*
41 - Barner rush vs. UNM*
40 - James rush vs. ASU*
39 - Boyett INT return vs. ASU*
39 - Maehl reception (Thomas) vs. UNM
38 - Alston rush vs. UNM
36 - Reed rush vs. PSU
35 - Thomas rush vs. PSU
35 - James rush vs. PSU*
32 - Lokombo fumble return at ASU*
30 - Paulson reception (Thomas) vs. UNM*
29 - Tuinei reception (Thomas) at UT*
29 - Reed rush vs. PSU
28 - Maehl reception vs. PSU
28 - James rush vs. PSU
27 - Paulson reception (Thomas) vs. UT*
27 - Harris punt return vs. PSU
25 - Harris punt return vs. PSU
25 - Barner rush vs. UNM*
24 - Reed rush vs. PSU
24 - Maehl reception vs. UNM
20 - Alston rush vs. PSU*
20 - Huff reception (Costa) vs. UNM
* indicates TD

In outscoring their opponents by a combined 231-44, the Ducks have totaled more points than any other four-game stretch in their history, besting the 210 points scored by the 1998 team between Sept. 19 and Oct. 17 of that year.

The Ducks not only set a new single-game record for rushing in the win over Portland State, they crushed the previous standard by 63 yards. Oregon ran for 528 yards against the Vikings, surpassing the team’s 465-yard effort at Washington in 2007.

Oregon’s 2010 defense was billed as a swarming, deep crew during preseason camp and that description looks to be spot-on. 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. Against Portland State, 32 players made the defensive stat sheet with 30 making at least one tackle.

SO RB LaMichael James broke the 200-yard rushing barrier for the first time in his career, rolling up 227 vs. Portland State. He tied Tony Cherry (1985) for fifth on the all-time single-game ledger while becoming the first Duck with 200 or more yards in a game since Jeremiah Johnson ran for 219 in the 2008 Civil War. James is the only player in the Pac-10 to hit the 200-yard mark this season.

The first Pac-10 start by SO QB Darron Thomas produced one of the best games of his young career. Thomas set career highs of 260 passing yards, 19 completions and 33 pass attempts in the win at Arizona State. He also tossed a pair of touchdowns and ran for another score.

SO QB Darron Thomas passed for a career-high four touchdowns vs. Portland State - all before halftime - becoming the first UO quarterback to accomplish the feat since Justin Roper had four TDs vs. South Florida in the 2007 Sun Bowl. Despite not playing more than three quarters in any game this season due to the blowout nature of Oregon’s victories, Thomas is tied for third in the Pac-10 with eight touchdown passes this season.

After his career-high 227 rushing yards vs. Portland State, SO RB LaMichael James has now eclipsed the 100-yard rushing mark 11 times in his career to tie him for second all-time at UO. James is only three away from Jonathan Stewart’s (2005-07) school record of 14. He surpassed the 100-yard pinnacle in eight of nine Pac-10 games a year ago, including seven straight to end the regular season.

LMJ 2000
It took LaMichael James only 16 career games to reach 2,000 rushing yards for his career, going over the milestone Sept. 25 at Arizona State. Now with 2,001, the sophomore from Texarkana, Texas, is poised to cut deep into the all-time career rushing list this season as he is only 198 yards away from Onterrio Smith (2,199, 2001-02) for tenth place, and within 900 yards from unseating Jonathan Stewart (2005-07, 2,891) for second.

With 18 receptions through the first four games of the season, SR WR Jeff Maehl is three catches away from breaking into the top 10 on Oregon’s all-time list. Mahel has 119 career receptions, trailing Terry Obee (122, 1986-89) for tenth. The true senior from Paradise, Calif., has played the last 33 games at receiver after spending the first 10 of his career at safety.

There aren’t enough games left in WR Jeff Maehl’s career to approach Keenan Howry’s Oregon record of 48 consecutive games with a reception (1999-02), but the senior still has an impressive string to his credit, having made at least one catch in 25 straight games dating to Oct. 4, 2008 vs. USC.

UO is 4-0 for the first time since 2007. Oregon has started seasons at 4-0 or better five times since 2001, but have not opened with more than four straight victories since starting 6-0 in 2002.

The Ducks have won 12 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 two sold out crowds in as many games this season, including an opening day record crowd of 59,106 vs. New Mexico on Sept. 4, Oregon has sold out Autzen Stadium (cap. 54,000) for 70 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.

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 19-3 at Autzen, averaging 43.8 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 totaled 279, an average of 12.7 per man on the 2-deep depth chart.

SO RB LaMichael James has scored a touchdown in all three games he’s played in this season, giving him18 scores in 16 career games. His last five touchdowns have gone for 52, 72, 66, 35 and 40 yards.

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 16 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 1,171 yards. The Riverside, Calif., product also ranks eighth all-time in punt return average (12.4) and recently surpassed 2,000 all-purpose yards to date (2,104).

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.

SO CB Cliff Harris has made the most of his 12 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 11. Add to that three 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 two catches for a team-high 76 yards in the win at Arizona State, has 20 career receptions - all but two resulting in either a first down or a touchdown. He is averaging 18.2 yards per catch for his career.

For the first time this season, no Ducks received major weekly awards after Week 4. However, a quartet of UO players earned honorable mention national performer of the week by the College Football Performance Awards at their respective positions: SR DT Brandon Bair, SR LB Casey Matthews, SO P Jackson Rice and JR TE David Paulson

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

CFPA Performer of the Week
LaMichael James (running back)

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. The Ducks have had at least one 100-yard rusher in every game this season.

TOP 25
The Ducks moved up in both polls after Week 4, jumping one spot to No. 4 in the Associated Press top 25 and and two spots to No. 4 in the USA Today (coaches poll) index. Oregon has now spent four straight weeks in the top 10, its longest stretch since seven consecutive weeks in in 2007.

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.

With 668 yards of total offense against Portland State, Oregon has recorded two of its three most prolific offensive games in history this season. The yardage against the Vikings ranks third in school history behind 720 vs. New Mexico and 694 at Oregon State in 2008.

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).

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.

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.

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, ABC/ESPN2), 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.

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.

Ducks On Pac-12 Networks