Bruce Ely - The Oregonian, Associated Press
EUGENE, Ore. — When Oregon running back LaMichael James hit the turf early in the fourth quarter against California, he knew right away his right elbow was dislocated.
So he took a painful but effective course of action.
"I panicked," he said. "It was out so I popped it back in real quick."
The nation's leading rusher had his arm in a sling after the No. 9 Ducks' 43-15 victory over Cal on Thursday night. He said X-rays showed the elbow wasn't broken.
James had to be carted off the field after the gruesome-looking injury that came on Oregon's fourth unanswered touchdown drive of the second half.
He would not speculate on whether he'll play next Saturday against No. 22 Arizona State.
"We're gonna wait and see," he said. "We have the best trainers in the country and I'm sure they are going to get on it ASAP and I'll be there four times a day so I can get on that field."
Before he went down, James ran for 239 yards and a touchdown for the Ducks (4-1, 2-0 Pac-12). True freshman De'Anthony Thomas caught a pair of touchdown passes and ran for another score.
Giorgio Tavecchio made three field goals — including a career-best 54-yarder — for Cal (3-2, 0-2), which led 15-14 at the half but couldn't sustain its momentum against the country's top scoring offense.
"They scored. We kicked field goals," said Golden Bears receiver Keenan Allen, who caught nine passes for 170 yards and a score.
James, a Heisman Trophy finalist last season, has run for at least 200 yards in his last three games, something no Ducks player had done before. He went into the game with an average of 153 yards per game, best in the nation. He had 166 by halftime against Cal.
Cal took a 3-0 lead on Tavecchio's 27-yard field goal on the first series of the game, but James answered with a 53-yard dash for a score and the Ducks looked to be taking off. It was James' third touchdown run of 50 or more yards this season.
Tavecchio added another field goal, this time a 38-yarder, to make it 7-6. A rain storm moved in over Autzen and slowed play a bit, but Oregon extended its lead on Thomas' 17-yard touchdown run late in the first quarter.
Tavecchio's 54-yard field goal cut it to 14-9.
Although it looked as though James might have been injured early in the second quarter when he was slow to get up from a hit and went to the sideline holding the back of his right thigh, he returned and had a 39-yard run, which put him over 4,000 for his career. He's the sixth player in conference history to reach that milestone.
After the Bears stopped Oregon on a fourth down on their own 41, quarterback Zach Maynard led an efficient march capped by his 12-yard touchdown pass to Allen that gave Cal a 15-14 lead.
Tavecchio attempted a 40-yard field goal before the end of the first half, but it was blocked.
Oregon quickly regained the lead after the half with Darron Thomas' 23-yard pass to De'Anthony Thomas. The Ducks extended it on Kenjon Barner's 68-yard touchdown run and Darron Thomas' completed pass to De'Anthony Thomas for the 2-point conversion.
Darron Thomas hit De'Anthony Thomas again with a 21-yard touchdown before James was injured on a fourth-quarter drive capped by Darron Thomas' 3-yard scoring pass to Lavasier Tuinei.
Darron Thomas completed 13 of 25 passes for 198 yards and three touchdowns.
Maynard finished 20 of 41 for 218 yards and a score.
Cal cornerback Marc Anthony was in street clothes after he appeared to injure his arm in the first half. The Bears would not confirm the injury.
Both Cal and Oregon were coming off of byes. The Ducks beat Arizona 56-31 in their last outing, while the Bears came up short against Washington, 31-23, when the Huskies stopped the final drive on fourth down at the 2.
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