Originally posted on No 2 Minute Warning  |  Last updated 10/7/11

Oregon wins big in Pac 12 division play, but James injury is concerning

Oregon’s LaMichael James was carted off the field in a win against Cal. Getty Images.
  • LaMichael James dislocates elbow in win, was it avoidable? – Crystal Ball Run
  • LaMichael James, after 239 yards, goes down in Oregon’s 43-15 win over Cal… – Jason Vondersmith, The Portland Tribune
  • Oregon has running back depth to withstand James’ absence, for now – Aaron Fentress, The Oregonian
  • Reaction to the blowout – Jon Wilner, Mercury News
  • Cal has small sterling moments in big loss – John Crumpacker, San Francisco Chronicle

Oregon (4-1, 2-0 Pac 12) running back LaMichael James dislocated his elbow early in the fourth quarter of ninth ranked Oregon’s 43-15 Pac 12 win against visiting Cal (3-2, 0-2 Pac 12)Thursday night.

“It’s not a season-ending injury,” James said after the game. “I feel good, I will never give up on my teammates.”

James was carted off as he panicked about his status but X-rays were negative. His return time frame is unknown at this point, but James is anxious to get back on the field as quickly as possible.

“We’re gonna wait and see,” James said. “We have the best trainers in the country and I’m sure they are going to get on it ASAP and I’ll be there four times a day so I can get on that field.”

Before having to be taken out of the game for the elbow injury James had put together a great night on the ground, rushing or 239 yards and a touchdown, which came on his first carry of the night and went for 53 yards on Oregon’s first possession of the night. James raced to the left side of the field and found an angle he could take advantage of and once he got to the edge of the field there was no stopping him as he flied down the field with defenders unable to catch up. It was the first time an Oregon running back had run for 200-yards in three consecutive games.

Cal actually took a 15-14 lead in to halftime thanks to the leg of kicker Giorgio Tavecchio, who kicked three field goals in the half. But the Bears were unable to keep any hope alive in the second half, unable to crack a dent in the scoreboard after the break.

“We had to make some adjustments [at the half] and our staff has really done a nice job, at least since I’ve been here, of making the proper adjustments and by and large we usually come out in the second half a pretty good team,” Oregon head coach Chip Kelly said.

“We couldn’t catch up in the second half,” Cal head coach Jeff Tedford said afterward. “They played really well, they moved the ball really well and they have speed and a receiver that made good plays in the second half. First half was all good and they dialed up some stuff for the second half. It’s not demoralizing because it is still early.”

Maybe the weather was a factor? After the rain stopped, Oregon’s offense got everything going. Darron Thomas connected on a 23-yard touchdown pass to De’Anthony Thomas less than five minutes after halftime, and Kenjon Barner ran 68 yards for a touchdown midway through the third quarter. Darron Thomas found De’Anthony Thomas again in the third quarter for a 21-yard touchdown to pull away in the third quarter. An early fourth quarter touchdown pass from Thomas to Lavasier Tuinei gave Oregon a 43-15 lead less than a minute in to the final frame.

“It stopped raining,” Oregon quarterback Darron Thomas said. “We knew we had to come out in the second half and put the pedal to the medal. We made mistakes on our own in the first half, but we cleaned them up at halftime and wanted to just come out and play hard.”

Oregon’s next game will be next week against Arizona State in Autzen Stadium. Not having James for the game would be a significant blow against a team that is playing some sound defense. De’Anthony Thomas says he will be ready to step in any way he is needed.

“Wherever I’m put I’ll always bring my 100%, this is a solid team we will be ready for Arizona State,” Thomas said after the game when asked about possibly playing more in the possible absence of James.

Cal is back in action next Thursday night in a home game against USC.

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