STANFORD, Calif. — LaMichael James ran for 146 yards and three touchdowns and No. 6 Oregon sprinted past third-ranked Stanford 53-30 on Saturday night, giving Andrew Luck's Heisman Trophy campaign a blemish and taking a giant step toward hosting the inaugural Pac-12 championship.
James ran for scores from 1, 4 and 58 yards and had Stanford (9-1, 7-1) defenders slipping all over a slick field. The Ducks (9-1, 7-0) ended the nation's best winning streak at 17 games — which the Cardinal began after a loss in Eugene more than a year ago — and can clinch the league's North Division crown over Stanford with a win in one of their final two games.
Luck threw for 271 yards and three touchdowns with two interceptions and a fumble. Stanford had five total turnovers.
The Quack Attack just has Luck's number.
Oregon's no-huddle, spread-option ended any hopes of Stanford's first national championship. Instead, the Ducks are suddenly back in the BCS title mix after rolling off their ninth straight victory — and first against a top-five team on the road team — since a season-opening loss against top-ranked LSU.
Darron Thomas threw for 155 yards and three touchdowns to anchor one big-play burst after another. He tossed scores of 59 yards to Josh Huff and 41 yards to De'Anthony Thomas to leave sold-out Stanford Stadium stunned and silent.
The Cardinal did little with the few mistakes Oregon made.
James muffed a punt that and gave Stanford a chance at the Oregon 34. The Ducks quickly stifled Stanford again, and Eric Whitaker missed a 48-yard field badly right.
When the Cardinal got the ball back, Isaac Remington smashed Luck and forced the quarterback to fumble. Oregon recovered and James followed with a 4-yard score on fourth-and-2 to give the Ducks a commanding 36-16 lead in the third quarter.
All the Luck in the world couldn't bring Stanford back.
The two offenses traded scores until Boseko Lokombo intercepted a pass by Luck and returned it 40 yards for a touchdown to give the Ducks a 53-30 lead. Luck dived for the tackle at the goal line and got planted in the grass.
Too late again.
While a pair of the nation's highest-scoring offenses showed imperfections, Oregon pounced on the mistakes and ran away with points each time.
Dewitt Stuckey also intercepted a pass by Luck that setup the Ducks' first score, a 4-yard touchdown pass from Darron Thomas to Lavasier Tuinei that started an avalanche of Oregon offense.
James ran through the middle untouched for a 58-yard touchdown to extend Oregon's lead to 15-6 early in the second quarter. The Ducks threatened to pad their lead again until Delano Howell, with a cast around his right hand, punched the ball loose from Kenjon Barner and Stanford recovered.
Oregon coach Chip Kelly gambled all night and his offense made him look good.Comment on this story
On fourth-and-7 from the Stanford 41, De'Anthony Thomas took a short pass and raced down the sideline for a 41-yard TD that pushed Oregon in front 22-9 late in the first half. With the Ducks again about to make the game a rout, Luck answered in impressive fashion.
He led an eight-play, 84-yard drive capped by a threaded 13-yard TD pass to Whalen for the second time. The crucial score with 24 seconds remaining in the half trimmed Oregon's lead to 22-16.
It was the first time Stanford trailed at the half since at Notre Dame in 2009, when the Cardinal were down 24-20. Stanford rallied for a 45-38 win in South Bend.
No comeback this time.
Follow Antonio Gonzalez at: www.twitter.com/agonzalezAP