UO football: Plain and simple ... Thomas just wins

2011-12-02T23:30:00Z UO football: Plain and simple ... Thomas just winsBy JESSE SOWA, Albany Democrat-Herald Corvallis Gazette Times
December 02, 2011 11:30 pm  • 

EUGENE - Darron Thomas just keeps winning games as Oregon's starting quarterback.

He said earlier in the week he wasn't concerned that the Pacific-12 Conference's coaches didn't recognize him on the all-conference team.

Friday, Thomas, a junior, went out and helped the eighth-ranked Ducks to another victory, this time a 49-31 win against UCLA in the Pac-12 championship game at Autzen Stadium that sends Oregon to the Rose Bowl for the second time in three seasons.

Thomas, now 22-3 as a starter the past two years, is quick to credit those around him for his success.

"It's my teammates," he said. "The offensive line blocking for me. The receivers catching the ball."

Thomas was 20 of 36 passing Friday for 219 yards and three touchdowns against one interception. He also ran for a score. His third passing touchdown gave him 63 in an Oregon uniform and the new school record.

Danny O'Neill - who led Oregon to the Pac-10 title as a senior in 1994 and was co-MVP of the 1995 Rose Bowl game - had the previous record with 62.

"Darron's awesome. I don't want anybody else running this football team," Oregon coach Chip Kelly said. "He's such a leader. He's one of the toughest players I've been around."

Thomas said he was excited to get the record.

"Got a lot more to go. Very excited that I can get to it," he said. "Happy to be on a list with a lot of good Oregon quarterbacks, great Oregon quarterbacks.

"It's all on the team that I got this goal. I'm just going to celebrate it as a team."

O'Neill was the first-team all-Pac-10 quarterback in '94 and still holds that record for passing yards in a Rose Bowl.

With Friday's numbers, Thomas is now at 2,493 yards for the season with 30 touchdowns and six interceptions.

Those statistics came in just 11 games, as Thomas sat out the Oct. 22 game at Colorado with a knee injury. He's worn a knee brace ever since.

Though he's put up numbers passing, he's shown he can also run the ball.

His 39-yard run in the third quarter Friday set up the Ducks' final score.

"I thought we were going to see it on an ESPN highlight where he's going to rip the knee brace off," Kelly joked later. "The thing was going to break off."

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