When it comes to college football in Oregon, it doesn’t get any bigger than the Ducks. The University of Oregon consistently turns out one of the best teams in the NCAA and certainly in the PAC-12. The ducks capped their 2011 season off with a Rose Bowl win, their first since 1917.This season had its ups and downs and its share of drama, but it was anything but a letdown. Here are some of 2011’s best moments.
1. The Civil War
The Civil War is the highlight of the season for football fans in Oregon. The OSU Beavers annually take on the U of O Ducks in a head-to-head shootout. With 115 meetings under their collective belts, this rivalry is one of the oldest in the country. The Ducks won this game, handily beating the Beavers 49-21. LaMichael James ran for 142 yards and a touchdown.
2. The PAC 12 Championship
Because of conference realignment in 2010, the Pac-10 became the PAC-12 and the conference was split into two, six-team divisions, creating the PAC-12 championship game. The Ducks played UCLA in the inaugural game on Dec. 2, 2011, winning the game 49-31 and becoming the first PAC-12 Champion. LaMichael James earned the MVP award for the game, rushing for 219 yards and three touchdowns.
3. The Rose Bowl
What a show of offense both teams put on in this Game. The Ducks took on the Wisconsin Badgers in “The Grand Daddy of Them All” and took home the trophy, taking down the Badgers 45-38 for their first Rose Bowl win in 95 Years. The offenses of both teams set multiple records, including:
Most points in the first half: 56 (combined)
Longest Rushing TD in Rose Bowl history: 91 yards by De’Anthony Thomas (Ducks)
Most Points scored in regulation in Rose Bowl (Combined): 83 points
Most Rushing TDs over 60 yards in Rose Bowl: 2 TDs De’Anthony Thomas (Ducks),
Most First Downs in Rose Bowl (Combined): 45
4. LaMichael James and his Elbow
On the second play of the fourth quarter in the game against the California Golden Bears, James dislocated his right elbow while being taken to the ground by Cal Defenders. It’s not easy to watch and might make some a little nauseous. While writhing on the ground in pain, James managed to pop the elbow back in before Oregon’s trainers made it on to the field. While not playing the rest of the game, he still managed 239 yards rushing and a touchdown.
5. Rose Bowl Trophy Presentation
Head Coach Chip Kelly is a class act, and after a 95-year drought, seeing him and his team hoist the trophy was an emotional moment for Ducks fans everywhere. After the heartbreak of an undefeated season and national title go up in smoke last year, winning the Rose Bowl and getting that trophy has to be a sweet, sweet feeling.
Roy Branson resides in Oregon and has been a fan of Oregon football for years.