Originally posted on Fox Sports West  |  Last updated 11/5/12
LOS ANGELES -- A dark cloud hung over De'Anthony Thomas as he prepared to make his first visit to the Los Angeles Coliseum as an Oregon Duck. Just days prior to Oregon's 62-51 win over USC, Thomas' former high school teammate, Geno Hall, was shot at a Halloween party on the USC campus. Hall, who is not a USC student, reportedly suffered seven gunshot wounds and was in critical condition following emergency surgery. "I talked to him about Geno," said Oregon head coach Chip Kelly. "When we heard the news, (I asked him) 'How you doing? You OK.' "He was pretty good." By time the Ducks arrived in Los Angeles, Hall had been upgraded to stable condition. Thomas admitted he didn't want to think of Hall, or anything else for that matter, when he took the field on Saturday against the Trojans. He preferred to drown his thoughts into the game instead. His teammates knew how important it was for him to have the chance to play in the Coliseum again. "Absolutely, (he was excited)" said Oregon running back Kenjon Barner. "For him to be back in L.A., I know it was big for him to have his family here (and) have that support. It was huge for him." When Thomas stepped onto the Coliseum field last Saturday, in what could be his only visit to the Coliseum with the Ducks due to the expansion of the conference, it was like he never left. His last game in a Crenshaw uniform was on that very field. His final play with the Cougars in the 2010 Los Angeles City Section Championship game was a designed halfback pass. Thomas took the pitch and pump faked as he looked for someone to throw it to at the peristyle end of the Coliseum until he ran out of real estate near the sideline. He then reversed field and darted past Carson High School defenders and into the endzone. With that, he called it a career with many of the spectators on hand believing they would see similar plays like that from him, on that very field, in a USC uniform. After all, he was a USC commit at the time. On Signing Day, he shocked the world by announcing he was going to Oregon. Last Saturday, just 65 seconds into the game, Thomas scored the game's first touchdown, making a diving catch in the back of the endzone at the peristyle end of the Coliseum. That kick started a barrage of Oregon points against a USC defense that showed little resistance. The 62 points, in fact, were the most ever surrendered by USC. The 730 yards of total offense were also the most ever by a USC opponent. "I feel like our offense is capable to make big yardage like that," said Thomas who finished the game with five catches for 59 yards. "I still feel like we still have a lot more to accomplish. "We're just getting started." Once the game was completed, Thomas allowed himself to think about Hall. They were teammates on the 2009 Crenshaw team that won a City Section title at the Coliseum. Later that season, they became the first team from the Los Angeles City Section to advance to a state bowl game. "I wanted to win it for him," he said.
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