Quarterback could be a question for Oregon
Darron Thomas starts, but Bryan Bennett finishes at QB
Seattle Times staff reporter
EUGENE, Ore. — Oregon coach Chip Kelly, notoriously tight-lipped with injury information, suddenly has added a little more intrigue into Washington's preparation for the Ducks next Saturday.
Oregon's starting quarterback, Darron Thomas, out with a minor knee injury incurred two weeks earlier, returned to his starting spot in the Ducks' 43-28 victory over Washington State on Saturday. But Thomas, 8-for-13 passing for 153 yards and two interceptions, was replaced at the outset of the third quarter by backup Bryan Bennett, who took it the rest of the way.
"We just felt that Bryan gave us a better chance in the second half," said Kelly, who mentioned the two Thomas interceptions.
Kelly was noncommittal about a starter going forward, leaving it to the quarterbacks and offensive coordinator Mark Helfrich to talk about it. Helfrich essentially said Thomas is the starter.
Also returning for Oregon was All-America running back LaMichael James, who looked rusty in gaining 53 yards on 13 carries.
"He was just kind of out of rhythm today, but it was good to have him back, I can tell you that," said Kelly.
Horton: Four straight
WSU cornerback Damante Horton picked off a deflected pass and motored 76 yards for the Cougars' first TD, marking the fourth consecutive game he has intercepted a pass. Jason David (2002) has the WSU record of five.
Horton's big moment almost turned into an embarrassment as he nearly was cut off on the sideline by an Oregon offensive lineman near the Ducks' 25. But he slipped past and scored.
"I saw one more person coming, and I felt my legs start giving out," said a smiling Horton, a sophomore from Oakland, Calif. "I would have been talked about (by teammates) all week."
• Safety Casey Locker, flagged for a questionable personal-foul penalty for "hitting above the shoulders," is "someone they're (officials) talking about in the conference, obviously," WSU coach Paul Wulff said. Locker was penalized last week against Oregon State.
• Wulff said confusion on blocking assignments on two players on the WSU left side resulted in the early Oregon punt block for a score by linebacker Boseko Lokombo. The man who blocked it, cornerback Avery Patterson, said, "The punter (Dan Wagner) takes three steps (before kicking) to our left. We saw that on film all week."
• Oregon revived its habit of going for a two-point conversion, this one after its initial touchdown, as holder Jackson Rice flung a pass under pressure to kicker Alejandro Maldonado. Said Wulff, "We couldn't be any tighter, tackling the guy who's throwing it and mugging the guy who caught the ball." Of the conversion philosophy, Wulff said, "That's their style. They try to do that almost every game."
Bud Withers: 206-464-8281 or email@example.com
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