Bruce Ely of the Oregonian captured the expression of pain and concern that all Oregon fans shared with La Michael James after he suffered a dislocated elbow in the fourth quarter of the Ducks' 43-15 win over the California Bolden Bears.
(Without using other four letter words).
Oregon ran off 29 unanswered points in the second half to overcome a 15-14 California lead, as La Michael James rolled up 239 yards on 30 carries. But what happened on the 29th, and therefore, the 30th, carry threatened to overshadow everything else.
James had apparently gone 18 yards for his second touchdown of the game on the first play of the fourth quarter, but replay clearly showed he had stepped on the sideline at the 3 yard line. So Oregon gave it to him again. And in the pileup, James suffered a dislocated right elbow.
Oregon went on to pull away to a 43-15 win in the nationally televised game on ESPN, and fortunately, x-rays showed no broken bones, and after the game, James seemed in surprisingly little pain. It may not be as serious as it initially appeared. An MRI is pending, but James expects to be back at some point this season.
"I did the same thing in high school," James said, "and I played again in a week. I'm gonna see if how tough I am, and if I can do something like that again."
The Golden Bears were successful again for all but a couple of plays until well into the third quarter at controlling the Ducks' offense. But it only required a few plays where Oregon's speed allowed them to literally step away from what would have been a nothing play, and then literally out-run anyone and everyone.
Kenjon Barner chipped in with 88 yards on 10 carries, including a 68 yard third quarter breakaway touchdown, and De'Anthony Thomas had 6 catches, for 114 yards, and a pair of touchdowns, both in Oregon's 22 point third quarter.
Darron Thomas completed only 13 of 25 passes, for 198 yards, but 3 touchdowns.
But while California's defense did pretty well for much of the game against Oregon's offense, their quarterback's inaccuracy really did them in.
Isi Sofele ran for 119 yards for the Golden Bears, but got little help. Zach Maynard completed only 20 of 41 passes, for 218 yards, but only one touchdown, to his brother Keenan Allen, before being pulled in favor of Allan Bridgford, who also missed more than he connected, completing 8 of 19.
Allen finished as the game's leading receiver, with 9 catches for 170 yards, and the Bears' only touchdown, which gave them a 15-14 lead.
A material number of the incompletions were on the California receivers, but overall, it was the inaccuracy of their air game that lost the game. The Bears' first two drives ended in field goals that followed Maynard incompletions that should have led to touchdowns. In all, California had to settle for four first half field goal attempts, and Giorgio Tavecchio only made the first three (a partial block by John Boyett on the last play before halftime kept Oregon withing 15-14).
Oregon (4-1, 2-0) has 9 full days until their next game, also at Autzen on ESPN, against Arizona St. And Vontaze Burfict, the Sun Devils' noted defensive enthusiast, who has also probably pulled the arm off something at some point.
California (3-2, 0-2) only has a week to find some passing accuracy, before the sturdy but inaccurate Bears face USC, and another exceptionally productive offense, at AT&T Park, in a pseudo home game, which will again be on ESPN.