The Oregon Ducks were cruising to a win over the California Golden Bears in the fourth quarter when star running back LaMichael James stayed on the ground after a short run clutching his arm.
James dislocated his elbow after accumulating 239 rushing yards in just over three quarters of play. The standout has rushed for over 200 yards in the last three games, and the high-powered Ducks offense seems to revolve around him.
In fact, I picked the Ducks to return to and win the National Championship at the end of last season. A loss to LSU in the first game is one the Ducks can potentially bear, but one more loss will end their championship hopes.
After the injury, James claims he popped his arm back in place on the field. He returned to the sidelines to congratulate his teammates for wrapping up the win. However, the extent and effect of his injury are unknown as of right now.
Up next for the Ducks are the Arizona State Sun Devils. The Sun Devils followed up a disappointing loss to Illinois by ousting USC by 21. They’ve displayed a bit of balance, with a solid offense and a respectable defense.
However, Darron Thomas is always improving as a quarterback, so the Ducks should be able to outscore the Sun Devils. Taking the spot of the nation’s leading rusher is junior Kenjon Barner, who ripped off a 68-yard TD run of his own in the California game.
Barner missed two games this season due to injury, but has been effective in the last two games as James’ backup. He scored three touchdowns against Arizona and averaged 5.5 yards per carry.
After Arizona State, Oregon is faced with Colorado, who should pose no problem. The Ducks have games against Washington State and Washington, who both have dynamic passing attacks. Oregon will have the most trouble with the Washington State Cougars, but if they escape that game, they’ll be able to handle the Huskies.
The Cougars have a date with Andrew Luck and Stanford the week before they compete with Oregon, which should show Washington State’s true ability.
Oregon will be able to outscore all of their opponents on the way to Stanford on Nov. 12, and should only need a few big stops by their defense to make the Pac-12 battle possible.