EUGENE, Ore. – LaMichael James ran for 239 yards and a touchdown before he was carted off the field after injuring his right arm, dampening No. 9 Oregon’s 43-15 victory over California on Thursday night.
The nation’s leading rusher went down early in the fourth quarter and trainers stabilized his arm in a sleeve as fans chanted his name. The Ducks (4-1, 2-0 Pac-12) were driving for their fourth straight touchdown in the second half against the Golden Bears (3-2, 0-2) when he was injured.
True freshman De’Anthony Thomas caught a pair of touchdown passes and ran for another score for the Ducks, who have won four straight since a season-opening loss to LSU.
Giorgio Tavecchio made three field goals for Cal, which led 15-14 at the half but couldn’t sustain its momentum against the country’s top scoring offense.
After the half, Oregon quickly regained the lead with Darron Thomas’ 23-yard pass to Thomas. The Ducks extended it on Kenjon Barner’s 68-yard touchdown run and Darron Thomas completed pass to De’Anthony Thomas for the 2-point conversion.
James, a Heisman Trophy finalist last season, has run for at least 200 yards in his last three games, something no Ducks player had done before.
He went into the game with an average of 153 yards rushing per game, best in the nation. He had 166 by halftime against Cal.
The crowd at Autzen Stadium fell silent when James did not get up on the fourth-quarter scoring drive, but he waved to the crowd as he was driven off the field. A short time later, an ambulance with lights flashing pulled up to the stadium.
Although it looked as though James might have been injured early in the second quarter when he was slow to get up from a hit and went to the sideline holding the back of his right thigh, he returned and had a 39-yard run, which put him over 4,000 for his career. He’s the sixth player in conference history to reach that milestone.