EUGENE, Ore. (AP) – Darron Thomas threw for 238 yards and three touchdowns and ran for 117 yards and a score to lead No. 4 Oregon to a 52-31 victory over No. 9 Stanford on Saturday night.
The Ducks (5-0, 2-0 Pacific-10) fell behind 21-3 in the first quarter of the frenzied game, but forced two crucial turnovers in the second half to take control. LaMichael James ran for 257 yards and three touchdowns.
It was Oregon’s 13th successive win at Autzen Stadium and 10th consecutive Pac-10 victory.
The Cardinal (4-1, 1-1) has not won a game while ranked in the top 10 since 1970.
Saturday’s game was the first time Oregon and Stanford have faced each other as ranked teams. The Cardinal have not started a season 5-0 since 1951, when they won the Pacific Coast Conference and a Rose Bowl berth.
The game lived up to the hype as a battle of offenses. Oregon, averaging 560 yards of total offense going into the game, had 626 yards. The Cardinal had 518.
Thomas completed 20 of 29 passes but was intercepted twice.
Stanford’s Andrew Luck was 29 for 46 for 241 yards and two scores with two interceptions.
Oregon tied it 31-31 with 8:20 to go in the third quarter on Thomas’ six-yard keeper and the momentum shifted to the Ducks. Midway through the quarter, Luck found receiver Chris Owusu for a six-yard completion at midfield, but he fumbled after a hard hit by Oregon’s Javes Lewis. Eddie Pleasant scooped up the ball and returned it to the 3-yard line, and James ran it in from there for Oregon’s first lead.
Owusu jogged off the field after the hit, but did not return to the game. On Stanford’s first drive of the next series, Luck was intercepted by Cliff Harris and Oregon controlled the rest of the game.
Stanford went up 14-3 in the first quarter after Oregon kickoff returner Cliff Harris fumbled. That led to Luck’s 10-yard scoring run. After another Oregon turnover, this time an interception, Stephan Taylor ran 44 yards for a score with 1:08 left in the quarter.
Oregon got back in the game with Thomas’ 29-yard scoring pass to Jeff Maehl. The Ducks followed with an onside kick that was recovered by kicker Rob Beard – and James went on to score on a five-yard run to make it 21-17.
Luck hit a wide-open Coby Fleener with a 36-yard touchdown pass to put Stanford back ahead 28-17 midway through the second quarter.
Thomas passed to John Huff for a 41-yard score to narrow it again for Oregon before Nate Whitaker’s 46-yard field goal as time ran out in the first half gave Stanford a 31-24 lead.
Oregon coach Chip Kelly was visibly angry with the officiating in the first half, telling the television crew at halftime that he felt the officials were not communicating with him. Ducks fans booed the refs as they left the field at the break.
(© CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report)