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James and Rice Named Finalists for National Awards
Courtesy: GoDucks.com
Release Date: 11/21/2011
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EUGENE, Ore. -- University of Oregon running back LaMichael James and punter Jackson Rice have been named as finalists for the Doak Walker Award and Ray Guy Award, respectively.

James, who won the Doak Walker Award in 2010, currently leads the nation with an average of 142.8 rushing yards per game, ranks fourth in all-purpose yards at 179.6 and 11th in scoring at 10.0. Despite missing two games following an elbow dislocation, James has 1,285 rushing yards and 15 total touchdowns through nine games. A junior from Texarkana, Texas, James is averaging a career-best 7.4 yards per carry in 2011 and became the first Duck to score touchdowns rushing, receiving and punt returning in the same game when he accomplished the feat vs. Nevada on Sept. 10.

Oregon's all-time leading rusher with 4,562 yards, James ranks fourth in Pac-12 rushing history in both yards and touchdowns (48). He is bidding to become the third two-time winner of the award, joining Ricky Williams of Texas (1997-98) and Arkansas' Darren McFadden (2006-07).

Wisconsin's Montee Ball and Alabama's Trent Richardson are the other finalists for this year's honor.

Rice, a junior from Moraga, Calif., is a first-time finalist for the Ray Guy Award, recognizing the most outstanding punter in college football. He leads the Pac-12 and ranks sixth in the nation with a punting average of 45.60 and has been a key contributor for an Oregon squad that ranks second in the NCAA in net punting (41.85). Only 12 of Rice’s 40 punts on the season have been returned and he has placed 16 inside the 20-yard line.

Rice's current average is the second-highest in a single season in UO history, while his career mark of 42.5 yards per punt ranks third all-time at the school.

The other finalists for the Ray Guy Award are Ryan Allen of Louisiana Tech and Steven Clark of Auburn.

Rice and James will be present when the nine major awards are announced at "The Home Depot College Football Awards Show" on Dec. 8 at 9 p.m. ET (6 p.m. PT) on ESPN. The live awards show, back for its 21st year, will originate from the Atlantic Dance Hall at Disney’s BoardWalk at the Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.

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