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Oregon ready for USC after beating Colorado by 56 points

The SportsXchange

EUGENE, Ore. -- Oregon was not looking ahead to USC.

Any concerns the Ducks might overlook Colorado with a showdown ahead at USC next week went away immediately as fourth-ranked Oregon scored on all seven first-half drives and cruised past Colorado 70-14 Saturday afternoon in Pac-12 Conference football at Autzen Stadium.

"We had a good week of preparation and it showed up today on the field right from the start," Oregon coach Chip Kelly said. "They were focused and we got contributions from offense, defense, and special teams today. But we still have a lot of work to do." Oregon gets its toughest test of the season next week at USC, the last team to defeat Oregon in 2011.

"I am very excited to go down there and play at their place, it's going to be fun," Oregon freshman quarterback Marcus Mariota said. "We just have to get ready for them and prepare."

The Ducks scored two touchdowns in the first three minutes and took a 28-0 lead after the first quarter before building a 56-0 lead at halftime. The Ducks set a school record for most points scored in a conference game while improving to 8-0 and 5-0 in the Pac-12.

Oregon scored 10 touchdowns against Colorado (1-7, 1-4), but the one that garnered most of the attention was a 73-yard punt return by De'Anthony Thomas that made it 42-0 in the second quarter. Thomas let the ball hit the ground at the 38-yard line before he picked it up at the 27 and eventually ran back to the 15 to avoid defenders before breaking two tackles and outrunning the Buffaloes down the sideline for a touchdown.

"He's just a special player," Kelly said. "It wasn't designed like that, I can tell you that."

Oregon took the opening kickoff and drove 57 yards on five plays before Kenjon Barner scored on a 1-yard run.

Colorado's Tony Jones fumbled the ensuing kickoff and Oregon recovered at Colorado's 17-yard line. Three plays later, Thomas scored on a 9-yard touchdown run to put Oregon ahead 14-0 less than three minutes into the game.

Mariota added a 5-yard touchdown run and threw a 16-yard touchdown pass to Bralon Addison to put Oregon ahead 28-0 at the end of the first quarter.

Barner scored on a 24-yard run to push the lead to 35-0 with 12:36 left in the second quarter before Thomas' electrifying punt return put Oregon ahead 42-0 with 11:06 left in the first half.

Mariota tossed a 7-yard touchdown pass to Daryle Hawkins to make it 49-0 with 6:26 left in the second quarter.

Mariota was 10-for-14 for 136 yards and two touchdowns while Barner ran for 104 yards and two touchdowns on nine carries. Thomas had 97 rushing yards and a touchdown as the Ducks totaled 425 yards on the ground and 617 yards of total offense.

"We started off hot and the defense did a good job of getting stops," Mariota said. "Coach Kelly said to keep the foot on the gas."

Mariota was replaced by back-up Bryan Bennett late in the second quarter and Bennett scored on a 6-yard run with 20 seconds left before halftime.

Colorado's Christian Powell had touchdown runs of 1 and 20 yards in the third quarter.

Bennett answered with a 3-yard touchdown run for the Ducks and later scored on a 17-yard run.

Powell had 121 rushing yards, but that was nearly half of Colorado's 245 total yards on offense.

"They're fast, they're just what everybody would expect," Powell said of Oregon. "They're disciplined, they made a lot of plays. They're a great team."

NOTES: Oregon starting left guard Mana Greig suffered a leg injury in the first half and was on crutches the rest of the game. ... Oregon's all-conference defensive end Dion Jordan left the game with an apparent shoulder injury and did not return. ... Oregon was without two starters as linebacker Kiko Alonso and tight end Colt Lyerla both sat out with injuries suffered last week. ... Oregon has won 11 consecutive games, second in the nation only to Alabama. ... Oregon has scored 30 or more points in 21 straight games, the longest streak in the country, and 42 or more in 11 games in a row, also the longest streak in the country.
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