Posted by Chip Patterson
When Oregon star running back LaMichael James was upbeat and positive about his status when speaking to the media just hours after dislocating his elbow against California. He told reporters he suffered a similar injury in high school, and even came back the next week. While head coach Chip Kelly has made no official determination on whether James will go against No. 18 Arizona State on Saturday, starting quarterback Darron Thomas has made it sound highly unlikely.
Thomas told The Oregonian on Wednesday after practice the Ducks were pushing themselves a little harder in practice "knowing we're going to be without LaMichael."
"I'm all right," Thomas said discussing Oregon's other offensive options. "We've got Kenjon [Barner] in the backfield with me. He is a step behind LaMike, doing the same things. We've got Tra Carson doing well for us. I can't wait to see him play. And De'Anthony, everybody knows about De'Anthony."
While Thomas' prognosis for James is not official, he is 100% correct that "everybody knows about De'Anthony." Star freshman De'Anthony Thomas has been everything Oregon fans could hope for, leading the team in receiving (17 catches, 286 yards, four touchdowns) and sitting just behind James as the team's second leading rusher (25 carries, 191 yards, two touchdowns). With James likely sidelined, the first places the Ducks will look for that offensive explosion will be Barner and DAT.
Last season Arizona State played the Ducks close before eventually falling 42-31. The Sun Devils defense held the Ducks to 2 for 13 on third down conversions and held James to just 94 yards rushing. Late in the third quarter, Arizona State held a 24-21 lead late in the third quarter before three Darron Thomas touchdowns and a fumble recovery for a score put the game out of reach. Oregon has taken the last six meetings between the conference rivals, Arizona State has not won in Autzen Stadium since 2004.
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