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Oregon ends Utah's winning streak at 16 with 31-24 victory

LaMichael James rushes for a career-high 152 yards and a touchdown as the Ducks hand the Utes their first loss since November of 2007.

September 20, 2009|Associated Press

EUGENE, ORE — . -- Kyle Whittingham wishes that Utah's ride would have gone on forever. The Ducks were more than happy to bring it to a screeching halt.

LaMichael James rushed for a career-high 152 yards and a touchdown, and Oregon overcame four turnovers and an abysmal performance by quarterback Jeremiah Masoli to beat the No. 18 Utes, 31-24, and end the nation's longest winning streak.

Utah (2-1) had won 16 straight games, including its stunning 31-17 upset of heavily favored Alabama in the Sugar Bowl last January. Utah's last loss was on Nov. 24, 2007, in the regular-season finale against Brigham Young.

"It's been almost two calendar years since we've been in this situation," Whittingham said. "Twenty-two months or whatever the time frame is. You know we all wish this could've gone on for infinity, but that wasn't the case."

Masoli ran for two touchdowns but had two fumbles and an interception in the second half that allowed Utah to rally from a 21-7 deficit to within 28-24 by the end of the third quarter.

An interception by linebacker Eddie Pleasant set up a 31-yard field goal by Morgan Flint with 3:30 left in the game, giving the Ducks (2-1) a 31-24 lead. The Utes drove to the Oregon 37 with under two minutes to play, but John Boyett picked off a pass from Terrence Cain at the five to preserve the victory.

Cain completed 20 of 41 passes for 178 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions. He also had 68 yards on the ground but didn't get much help from an offense that struggled to move the ball all game. Matt Asiata managed only 54 yards in 15 carries.

"Our defense played unbelievable," Oregon Coach Chip Kelly said.

The offense, however, was a mixed bag. While Masoli struggled, James, a redshirt freshman, recorded his first 100-yard game and his first touchdown.

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