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Tigers Outlast Ducks in Dallas
Courtesy: Associated Press
Release Date: 09/03/2011
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ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) - LaMichael James became Oregon's career rushing leader but Michael Ford ran for two touchdowns and Jarrett Lee admirably directed LSU's offense in place of suspended quarterback Jordan Jefferson in the fourth-ranked Tigers' season-opening 40-27 victory over No. 3 Oregon on Saturday night.

Ford and Spencer Ware had touchdown runs in a span of 3:20 late in the third quarter after third-string Oregon running back De'Anthony Thomas fumbled on consecutive touches, one on a rushing attempt and then on the ensuing kickoff.

Oregon, which lost to Auburn in the BCS national championship game last season, has consecutive losses for the first time since they losing its last three regular-season games in 2007.

LSU took a 16-13 lead just before halftime, going ahead to stay, on Rueben Randle's 10-yard TD catch from Jarrett Lee.

Randle caught the ball in the front corner of the end zone over freshman cornerback Terrance Mitchell.

The other LSU touchdown before halftime came when fill-in punt returner Kenjon Barner fielded a punt inside the 5, took a couple of steps backs. That's when Tyrann Mathieu stripped the ball away, scooped it up after it bounced on the turf and took a couple of steps into the end zone.

LSU has won 34 consecutive nonconference games, the longest such streak in the nation, including all 23 in the regular season under seventh-year coach Les Miles. The overall streak dates back to the Tigers' 26-8 loss to Virginia Tech in the 2002 season opener.

Lee's 10th career start was his first since a win over Louisiana Tech in 2009. Even though the senior completed only 10 of 22 passes for 98 yards, he didn't have an interception and appeared steady throughout the game.

Ware had 26 carries for 99 yards while Fort had 14 runs for 98 yards and two TDs, his second on a 16-yard run in the fourth quarter.

James had one of his tougher career games, even though he scored a touchdown for the 12th time his last 13 games. James had 18 carries for 54 yards, only five more than he had against Auburn in the national title game. 

The junior finished the game with 3,331 career rushing break the Oregon career mark previously held by Derel Loville who tallied 3,296 yards from 1986-89.

D'Anthony Thomas scored on a 4-yard run in the final minute of the first opening game of top-five teams on a neutral field since 1984, when Jimmy Johnson won his debut as coach of Miami against an Auburn squad featuring Bo Jackson a year before he won the Heisman Trophy.

Ducks quarterback Darron Thomas was 31-of-54 passing for 240 yards with a touchdown and an interception.

Rob Beard had field goals of 29 and 30 yards that put Oregon up 6-3 in the first quarter. Drew Alleman had kicks of 44 and 32 for LSU.

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