Scores

Final

UCLA 31

(6-7, 5-4 Pac-12)

(5) Oregon 49

(11-2, 8-1 Pac-12)

Coverage: FOX

8:00 PM ET, December 2, 2011

1 2 3 4 T
UCLA 7 10 7 731
#5ORE 21 14 14 049

Top Performers

Passing: D. Thomas (ORE) - 219 YDS, 3 TD, 1 INT

Rushing: L. James (ORE) - 25 CAR, 219 YDS, 3 TD

Receiving: N. Rosario (UCLA) - 6 REC, 98 YDS, 2 TD

Oregon cruises past UCLA to earn Pac-12 title, Rose Bowl bid

Associated Press

EUGENE, Ore. -- As LaMichael James danced to celebrate Oregon's third straight conference championship, fans surrounding him shouted "One More Year!"

The junior running back ran for 219 yards and three touchdowns in the Ducks' 49-31 victory over UCLA in the inaugural Pac-12 championship game Friday night. With the win, the Ducks (No. 8 BCS, No. 9 AP) earn a trip to the Rose Bowl presented by Vizio.

There has been speculation that James, who set a league record with three straight 1,500-yard seasons, will bolt to the NFL next season.

But for right now, James was savoring the moment.

"Just being with my teammates, I cherish that," he said. "I don't think about 'one more year.' I just think about today."

While James partied, UCLA coach Rick Neuheisel paused before Bruins fans at Autzen Stadium and tipped his hat. The former UCLA quarterback was fired this week after four seasons at his alma mater.

The Bruins (6-7) played with passion for their outgoing coach and kept it closer than many thought they would, but it was not enough to overcome the Ducks (11-2), who head to a BCS bowl for the third straight season.

"They can take my job," Neuheisel said, gesturing to the locker room as he left the field, "but they can't take those boys away from me."

Neuheisel was fired following last weekend's 50-0 loss to Southern California (No. 9 AP). It was one in a wave of coaching moves in the conference. Around the time he was fired, Arizona State let go of Dennis Erickson. Washington State parted ways with Paul Wulff, then quickly hired former Texas Tech coach Mike Leach a day later.

The Bruins were granted permission this week from the NCAA to accept a bowl invitation despite their losing record.

"We made it a game, at least for a time. I was thrilled that we got that kind of effort, given the events of the last week," Neuheisel said. "I just am excited for these guys. They get one more game. They'll find out where here soon."

Oregon will play the winner of the first Big Ten championship game Saturday between Michigan State (No. 13 BCS, No. 11 AP) and No. 15 Wisconsin in the Rose Bowl on Jan. 2. The bowl pairings will be formally announced on Sunday.

The Ducks clenched roses in their teeth Friday night as fireworks exploded above and confetti rained down. James danced with fellow running back Kenjon Barner.

With his three TDs, James moved into a tie with USC's LenDale White (2003-05) for second on the league's career rushing TD list with 52.

James ran 30 yards for a touchdown on Oregon's first drive of the game. He went into the game as the nation's top running back with an average of 142.7 yards per game.

UCLA tied it when linebacker Patrick Larimore intercepted Thomas and ran 35 yards for a touchdown. Neuheisel pumped his fist in celebration.

Thomas scored on a 10-yard keeper and then found true freshman tight end Colt Lyerla alone in the end zone with a 7-yard scoring pass to make it 21-7.

UCLA narrowed it with quarterback Kevin Prince's flea-flicker to Nelson Rosario for a 37-yard touchdown.

Oregon was stung early in the game when dynamic true freshman De'Anthony Thomas fumbled after a hit by Tevin McDonald. Shaken up on the play, the versatile running back who earlier this week was named the Pac-12's co-freshman of the year on offense did not return.

James added a 3-yard touchdown run to make it 28-14 before Darron Thomas connected with Daryle Hawkins for a 25-yard TD reception.

UCLA's Tyler Gonzalez kicked a 44-yard field goal to make it 37-17 at halftime.

Prince scored on a 1-yard run early in the third quarter to pull UCLA closer to the Ducks, but James answered with a 5-yard TD dash to make it 42-24.

A Heisman Trophy finalist last season as a sophomore, James fell out of the running for the most part this season because he missed two games with a dislocated right elbow.

Offensive lineman Carson York said he certainly hoped this wasn't James' final season with the Ducks.

"It's been an absolute honor to block for that guy for the last three years," York said. "I am firmly against this being his last game at Autzen Stadium."

David Paulson caught a 22-yard touchdown pass midway through the third, which put Darron Thomas in front of Danny O'Neil (1991-94) for most passing TDs at Oregon.

Rosario pulled down a one-handed, 19-yard touchdown pass from Prince with less than two minutes to play. Rosario finished with six catches for 98 yards.

Prince completed 13 of 26 passes for 164 yards and two touchdowns.

The addition of Colorado and Utah to the Pac-12 paved the way for a league championship game this season. In previous years, the team with the best conference record claimed the title.

While USC (10-2, 7-2) finished atop the Pac-12 South, the Trojans are ineligible to play in the postseason because of NCAA sanctions, which put UCLA in the title game.

Because of Neuheisel's dismissal, offensive coordinator Mike Johnson will take over if UCLA is selected to play in a bowl game.

The Bruins have reached just one bowl in the past three seasons. Athletic director Dan Guerrero said he wants to reward the Bruins' 18 seniors by going to a bowl even while the program is in upheaval.

Oregon went to the 2010 Rose Bowl in its first season under Kelly, losing to Ohio State. Last season the Ducks went to the BCS championship, where they fell to Auburn.

Oregon had appeared to be in the running for another shot at the national championship game before losing 38-35 to USC at Autzen Stadium on Nov. 19.

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Team Stat Comparison

 
UCLA
ORE
1st Downs2021
Total Yards337571
Passing177219
Rushing160352
Penalties3-2010-120
3rd Down Conversions7-156-17
4th Down Conversions1-34-7
Turnovers42
Possession31:2728:33

Passing Leaders

UCLAC/ATTYDSAVGTDINT
Prince13/261646.320
OregonC/ATTYDSAVGTDINT
Thomas20/362196.131

Rushing Leaders

UCLACARYDSAVGTDLG
Coleman16835.2036
Franklin9353.9013
OregonCARYDSAVGTDLG
James252198.8343
Barner17794.6014

Receiving Leaders

UCLARECYDSAVGTDLG
Rosario69816.3237
Fauria45012.5030
OregonRECYDSAVGTDLG
Huff45714.3031
Paulson24221.0122

Scoring Summary

FIRST QUARTERUCLAORE
TD13:13LaMichael James 30 Yd Run (Alejandro Maldonado Kick) 07
TD07:55Patrick Larimore 35 Yd Interception Return (Tyler Gonzalez Kick) 77
TD06:29Darron Thomas 10 Yd Run (Alejandro Maldonado Kick) 714
TD00:59Colt Lyerla 7 Yd Pass From Darron Thomas (Alejandro Maldonado Kick) 721
SECOND QUARTERUCLAORE
TD12:22Nelson Rosario 37 Yd Pass From Kevin Prince (Tyler Gonzalez Kick) 1421
TD08:27LaMichael James 3 Yd Run (Alejandro Maldonado Kick) 1428
TD04:25Daryle Hawkins 25 Yd Pass From Darron Thomas (Alejandro Maldonado Kick) 1435
FG00:00Tyler Gonzalez 44 Yd 1735
THIRD QUARTERUCLAORE
TD12:10Kevin Prince 1 Yd Run (Tyler Gonzalez Kick) 2435
TD09:57LaMichael James 5 Yd Run (Alejandro Maldonado Kick) 2442
TD04:45David Paulson 22 Yd Pass From Darron Thomas (Alejandro Maldonado Kick) 2449
FOURTH QUARTERUCLAORE
TD01:51Nelson Rosario 19 Yd Pass From Kevin Prince (Tyler Gonzalez Kick) 3149

Research Notes

LaMichael James had three rushing touchdowns vs. UCLA, bringing his career total to 52, which ties him with former USC running back LenDale White for the second-most in Pac-12 history.
  [+]
With 115 rush yards in the 1st half, LaMichael James moved past Marcus Allen into 3rd place all-time in Pac-12 career rushing yards.
  [+]

ESPN Stats & Information