STANFORD, Calif. — LaMichael James made one defender slip, then another. He cut back, sprinted through a seam and burst into the open field, taking large chunks of yards — and grass — all the way to the end zone.
No turf? No problem for the Quack Attack.
James ran for 146 yards and three touchdowns and No. 6 Oregon blew 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.
"We were slipping. They were slipping. I just ran fast," James said.
Too fast for Stanford — again.
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.
"It's pretty cool. They always look down on us and then we come out and just play our game," Oregon defensive end Terrell Turner said. "That's what we want to do. Play our game and just shock people."
The Ducks have no problems with Luck.
Luck threw for 271 yards and three touchdowns with two interceptions and a fumble. Stanford had five total turnovers and lost its grip — and footing — for the first time all season.
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.
"It means nothing until the first week of December," Oregon coach Chip Kelly said. "We've lost one. We lose two we're not even in the discussion."
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.
"I knew it wasn't going to be a cake walk," said Luck, who turned down a chance to be the NFL's No. 1 pick last April in hopes of leading Stanford to a league championship and maybe even a national title. "I had no grand illusions of just showing up and things just falling for our team because we just show up on Saturdays. We still have football left. For that I'm grateful. Hopefully more games after the conference season is over. There's still goals out there for us to accomplish."
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.
Kelly gambled all night and his offense made him look good.
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.
"When you play a team with that kind of speed and that kind of talent and is as well-coached as they are, if you turn the ball over, you can't win," Stanford coach David Shaw said. "It was going to take our best game. I don't think we gave them our best game and they took advantage of it."
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COLORADO 48, ARIZONA 29: At Boulder, Colo., Rodney Stewart ran for 181 yards and three touchdowns and threw for another, helping Colorado avoid its first winless season at 87-year Folsom Field with a win over Arizona.
Tyler Hansen threw two TD passes and hauled in Stewart's touchdown toss on a flea-flicker as the Buffaloes (2-9) recorded their first Pac-12 win after six losses in their new league since bolting the Big 12 last year.
The Wildcats (2-8, 1-7) came in as double-digit favorites but fell behind quickly and their comeback attempt wasn't helped by the sustained 45 mph winds that gusted to 71 mph in the fourth quarter.
Nick Foles was 34 for 51 for 345 yards, but he had three interceptions and lost a fumble to go with his one touchdown.
NO. 18 USC 40, WASHINGTON 17: At Los Angeles, Marqise Lee caught a touchdown pass and returned the second-half kickoff 88 yards for a score, and Curtis McNeal had a 79-yard TD sprint among his career-high 148 yards rushing in Southern California's victory over Washington.
Matt Barkley passed for 174 yards and one touchdown while running for an early score for the Trojans (8-2, 5-2 Pac-12), who made sure the Huskies had no chance to beat them on a last-second field goal, as they did in each of Washington coach Steve Sarkisian's first two meetings with his former employer.
Marc Tyler also rushed for a score for the bowl-banned Trojans, who have won five of six heading into next weekend's trip to Oregon.
Keith Price passed for just 125 yards for Washington (6-4, 4-3) before leaving with an injured left knee in the third quarter of the Huskies' third loss in four weeks to Top-25 opponents.Comment on this story
CALIFORNIA 23, OREGON STATE 6: At San Francisco, Cottonwood High graduate Isi Sofele rushed for a career-high 190 yards and one touchdown, quarterback Zach Maynard threw for one score and ran for another, and California beat Oregon State.
The win, the Golden Bears' third in four games, makes them bowl eligible after sitting out the postseason last year. It also snapped Cal's four-game losing streak to the Beavers.
Backup running back C.J. Anderson ran for 96 yards and wide receiver Michael Calvin, a fifth-year senior, caught his first career touchdown for the Bears, who overcame a season-high 15 penalties in their final game at AT&T Park. Cal (6-4, 3-4 Pac-12) will move back home to Memorial Stadium, which underwent a $321 million facelift, for the 2012 season.
Sean Mannion passed for 247 yards for Oregon State (2-8, 2-5), but the Beavers turned the ball over twice inside the 5-yard line.