UO NOTES: Paulson's best; happy Senior Day; Pac-12 title game next; and more
- Jason Vondersmith
- Portland Tribune - Sports
EUGENE - Oregon tight end David Paulson saved his best for last.
Paulson had career highs of eight catches and 105 yards receiving and scored a touchdown as the Oregon Ducks won in the final official home game for seniors Saturday at Autzen Stadium, beat Oregon State 49-21.
The Ducks will play host to UCLA in the Pac-12 title game Friday, Dec. 2. But Saturday was the seniors' day, and Paulson, among them, starred.
"You start remembering how quick it went and how it's almost over," Paulson said, of his career. "It's sad it's coming to an end."
Remarkably, it was the first time all season a UO receiver or tight end had 100 yards or more receiving.
"He did a real good job helping us spread the field," UO coach Chip Kelly said.
"He had a monster game," Kenjon Barner said. "I'm happy for him."
The Ducks and their fans honored 14 seniors, including injured offensive lineman Ramsen Golpashin, who limped out in full uniform.
The UO seniors get another game at their beloved Autzen. The players have been part of 42 wins since the start of the 2008 season.
"It's going to be fun," said Paulson, from Auburn, Wash. "I'm excited to play here one more time."
• The Ducks do play another game at Autzen, but the number of Duck fans in the stands remains to be seen. The Pac-12 and Fox run the event, and only limited number of tickets were made available to UO fans - supposedly.
The Bruins played USC in their final regular-season game Saturday, after sputtering through the first 11 games. UCLA basically alternated losses and wins - with only a modest two-game winning streak at one point, beating Cal and Arizona State - and backing into the title game with Utah's loss to Colorado..
UCLA has had quarterback issues, and relies on running back Johnathan Franklin. He's a buddy of UO defensive end Terrell Turner from Los Angeles.
"They're here for a reason," Turner said. "They took care of business on the South side."
The Ducks have one less day to prepare for the UCLA game; of course, the Bruins are in the same situation.
Oregon players like the conference title game, even though, in past years, being 10-2 overall and 8-1 in the league would have meant an automatic berth in the Rose Bowl.
"I love this setup," QB Darron Thomas said, of the championship format. "Maybe you lose a couple games and you're not out of it."
• Thomas had said repeatedly that he and teammates wanted to win the Civil War "for Eugene." Mission accomplished, and Duck fans in Portland and elsewhere should be tickled as well.
The junior quarterback went 27 of 40 for a season-high 305 yards and four scores and was "moderately terrific," offensive coordinator Mark Helfrich said.
Thomas, who nursed a knee injury in recent games, said, " I'm getting healthier each game. Coaches put me in the best looks ... but some (thrown) balls are still high."
Thomas has thrown a TD pass in 24 consecutive games - every start of his UO career.
• The Ducks had 102 plays, tying the school record set in 2004 against Washington State.
"It's good, because I can make more bad calls," Kelly joked.
• OSU receiver Markus Wheaton, who entered the game with 71 receptions and 947 yards, had only two catches for 39 yards.
"We matched Terrance Mitchell on him all over the field," Kelly said, of the redshirt freshman cornerback.
• Linebacker Michael Clay not only had a first-quarter interception that set up UO's first score, he had 12 tackles in a game for the fourth time this season.
"He's playing through some things, but you wouldn't know it," Kelly said.
Clay suffered a leg injury against Nevada earlier this season and missed significant time.
"It's feeling a lot better," Clay said. "I'm starting to get my legs back. I'm not as achy."
• OSU's James Rodgers sat out the game with an injury.
"I thought he was going to play," said LaMichael James, his fellow Texan and friend. "He dressed. He was fluking us."
Rodgers ran a fly sweep for a touchdown to help OSU beat the Ducks at Autzen in 2007.
Kelly sought out Rodgers after the game Saturday.
"He's just an awesome competitor, him and (brother) Quizz. I have a ton of respect for both of them," Kelly said. "I felt bad it being the last game of James' career that he didn't really have an opportunity to play. ... He's one of the all-time greats at Oregon State."
• De'Anthony Thomas had 197 all-purpose yards, giving him 1,908 for the season. He had a career-high 10 receptions and he scored his 16th touchdown of the season.
• Not much talk from the UO players about the Civil War rivalry. De'Anthony Thomas said the Ducks didn't talk trash. Turner called them the typical "faceless opponent."
• James fancies himself a tough runner who wants to be difficult to tackle. Asked a question about going down and avoiding injuries - he hurt his left elbow Saturday, after coming back from a right elbow injury - James said, "Yeah, coach (Gary) Campbell tells me all the time to go down."
• The Ducks reached the 10-win mark for the seventh time, and fourth year in a row.
• Autzen saw its 81st consecutive sellout.