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Frosh James gets his chance for the Ducks

EUGENE — Oregon redshirt freshman LaMichael James was admittedly nervous about helping the Ducks' ground game in the absence of LeGarrette Blount.

But after a couple of hits, the fear was gone.

"I took a couple shots and afterwards I thought, 'I can do this. It's just football,'" said James, who ran for 56 yards in Oregon's 38-36 victory over Purdue last weekend.

James has been pressed into a bigger role with the Ducks following Blount's season-long suspension for punching Boise State's Byron Hout in the aftermath of the opener.

Fellow redshirt freshman Kenjon Barner and senior Andre Crenshaw were also expected to spark Oregon's ground attack, which at the moment appears to be running back-by-committee. Barner ran for 35 yards and a touchdown against the Boilermakers, while Crenshaw had 23 yards and another score.

Quarterback Jeremiah Masoli led the Ducks with 84 yards rushing and a score. Oregon's combined total on the ground, 193 yards, was a marked improvement from the week before when they managed just 31 yards rushing against the Broncos.

James credited his quarterback.

"Masoli's been a big help," he said. "He is really a leader. He helps all the running backs out, myself and everyone else."

The Ducks will have to see greater improvement this week when they host No. 18 Utah.