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UO NOTES: James, Barner can build on their numbers; Asper aids choking diner
LOS ANGELES - Oregon running back LaMichael James could reach the 5,000-yard plateau with 77 yards against Wisconsin.
Odds are good that Monday's Rose Bowl be his final game with the Ducks, and that James, a junior from Texarkana, Texas, will jump to the NFL.
He has rewritten the UO record book with 4,923 rushing yards and 57 total touchdowns. This season, he has gained 1,646 yards (7.4 per carry, 149.6 per game) and scored 19 total TDs.
"I'm happy for him," teammate De'Anthony Thomas says. "That's his decision. I'm happy for him, and good luck to him."
• Another Oregon junior running back, Kenjon Barner, has a chance to reach 1,000 yards. Barner has 909 yards and 11 rushing TDs (13 total) entering the 2 p.m. Rose Bowl game. He has been a highlight in Oregon's past two BCS game losses with his runs, catches and returns.
"I kind of look at it like back in high school," says Barner, from Riverside, Calif. "When it came time for playoffs, you had to step up. Your game had to change.
"That's how I feel in bowl games. I feel like there's no time to slack. There's no time to slack during the regular season, either, but bowl games are just something different."
• De'Anthony Thomas is the only player in the country with 400 or more yards in each of these categories - rushing, receiving and kick returning. He also leads the country's freshmen with 16 TDs.
Thomas and USC receiver Marqise Lee shared the Pac-12 freshman of the year award.
• Offensive lineman Mark Asper came to the aid of a diner during Wednesday's "Beef Bowl" event at Lawry's restaurant. He noticed a man giving the "universal help me" choking signal, and a chef trying to help him.
Asper stepped in, did a test heave on the man - "seemed like he could handle a full-force heave" - and then performed a successful Heimlich Maneuver.
Asper told reporters that he was an Eagle Scout growing up in Idaho, and learned the life-saving maneuver at age 12.
"They'd take away my merit badges and Eagle Scout card," Asper mused to reporters, about had he not helped the man. "I didn't want to have to do it. The guy was struggling."
• Oregon ranks third in the country in scoring (46.2 points per game), fifth in rushing offense (295.7 yards) and sixth in total offense (515.2). The Ducks have their share of playmakers, but the offensive line also deserves credit. And, offensive line coach Steve Greatwood takes exception to the "finesse" label attached to his guys.
He expects the O-line to be physical against the Badgers.
"Do I think we're going to run wild through them? No," he says. "We're looking forward to it being a smash-mouth, physical game."
• "If we come out and play our 'A' game, we'll come out victorious," UO safety John Boyett says.
• Boyett, on Wisconsin's Montee Ball: "He's a straight-line runner, can run downhill. He's a big guy with decent feet, well-rounded and pretty darn good."
Says defensive coordinator Nick Aliotti: "He runs downhill, whether it's power or 'Bob' or split belly or roll. They do it fast with him. He runs some stretches outside. He's very good. Best running back we've played all year."
Adds linebacker Michael Clay: "It's going to take more than one guy to bring him down."
• Boyett, on Wisconsin receivers Nick Toon (No. 1) and Jared Abbrederis (No. 4): "(Toon) is a very good, downfield threat. He's a bigger guy who likes to go up and get the ball, an end-of-route guy. No. 4 can get the ball, but he's more of a route runner, gets you off balance mid-route and gets open."
• Are the Ducks desperate to win the Rose Bowl?
"I wouldn't say desperate. That's a little dramatic," Clay says. "We're hungry to get a BCS win."
• With their 14th game scheduled Jan. 2 (thanks to the 12-game schedule, Pac-12 title game and bowl game), the Ducks will set a record for games played. And, the season didn't involve a true bye week with a full 14 days off; the Ducks played Arizona on Saturday, Sept. 24, Cal on Thursday, Oct. 6 and Arizona State on Saturday, Oct. 15
"It starts to wear on you," defensive end Brandon Hanna says. "We didn't have the extra bye week, and we felt it. We didn't get the chance to heal normally. ... It's been a long season."
• The Ducks scored the most points anyone has against national finalist LSU (27 in 40-27 loss Sept. 3) all year. The next highest output was by West Virginia (21).
• This and that: Of Oregon's 75 touchdown drives, 41 have taken two minutes or less, 13 have lasted 60 seconds or less. ... Oregon has 53 plays of 25 yards or more in the past 12 games; last season, they had 57 such plays in 13 games. James' 90-yard TD run against Missouri State tops the list. ... The Ducks are 9-5 against ranked opponents under coach Chip Kelly. ... The Ducks average 6.53 yards per carry, the highest ever in a single season by a Pac-12 school; USC averaged 6.43 in 2005. ... Wisconsin has had time to prepare for the Ducks, and five of Kelly's six losses have come in season-opening games (Boise State, LSU) or bowl games (Ohio State, Auburn) or when Stanford had a bye week before playing the Ducks. Only USC (this season) beat the Ducks with just a week to prepare. ... The Ducks have a record of 158-65 since 1994 (.709 winning percentage), second only to USC (163-66) among league foes; USC's total includes 14 vacated wins from 2004-05. ... The Ducks are ranked third in the country in sacks per game (3.31) and 11th in sacks allowed (0.92).