UO NOTES: Can the Ducks finally win a BCS game?
- Jason Vondersmith
- Portland Tribune - Sports
EUGENE - Well, the Oregon Ducks turn their attention to the Rose Bowl now, after beating UCLA 49-31 in Friday night's Pac-12 championship game at Autzen Stadium.
The Ducks (11-2) will play Wisconsin in the Jan. 2 game at Pasadena, Calif. It will be Oregon's third consecutive BCS game. The Ducks lost in the Rose Bowl in 2010 (to Ohio State) and fell in the BCS title game earlier this year (to Auburn). So, will the third time be the charm?
"We have to (win)," Ducks running back LaMichael James said. "We have a long time till this game. We've got to start in practice."
Chip Kelly has a 33-6 record in three seasons as head coach.
But he has an 0-2 bowl record, and the Ducks are 2-6 in their past eight bowl games. The Ducks won the BCS Fiesta Bowl after the 2001 season; it's perhaps the most prestigious win in school history.
Kelly, admittedly sarcastic, joked about not playing a game in Los Angeles this year, but "we can remedy that because we'll just go to the Rose Bowl. Maybe I'm clairvoyant, too. It means a lot. ... If you don't have a chance to play - obviously because of our two losses - in the national championship, there's no other game you'd rather play in than the Rose Bowl."
• Running back/receiver De'Anthony Thomas got hurt on a helmet-to-helmet hit. After the game, the star true freshman said he would be fine.
"He did a great job on the sideline keeping guys up," QB Darron Thomas said.
• A lot of fans during the post-game trophy presentation were chanting for James to stay one more year. He has been non-commital about returning Oregon for his senior year, or going to the NFL.
"I'm blessed to be part of a team like this," he said. "I don't think about one more year; I just think about the next day."
• The crowd was announced as a sellout, 59,376, but empty seats could be seen. Autzen was transferred into a neutral site for the Pac-12 title game, with equal Oregon and UCLA representation in signage and such.
• James has 1,646 rushing yards and 19 total touchdowns. Will he win the Doak Walker Award again? Will he be a Heisman Trophy finalist again?
• The Ducks have scored 600 points in 13 games, or 11 short of the school record set in 13 games last year. Oregon can break the school record with 12 or more points in the Rose Bowl.
• The Ducks throttled Stanford in one of the Pac-12's biggest games of the season. The other eight Pac-12 opponents that Oregon played had a combined record of 40-58.