Oregon tramples UCLA in first-ever game as AP No. 1

EUGENE, Ore. -- None of the Oregon Ducks were congratulating themselves after dismantling UCLA, so Bruins coach Rick Neuheisel did it for them.

"That was impressive," Neuheisel said. "I'll leave it at that. That was impressive."

Oregon, celebrating its first outing ever as the AP No. 1, beat the Bruins 60-13 on Thursday night.

Darron Thomas threw for a career-high 308 yards and three touchdowns, and Oregon (No. 2 BCS, No. 1 AP) stopped a run of losses for top-ranked teams. Alabama lost to South Carolina two weekends ago, and Ohio State lost at Wisconsin last week.

LaMichael James, the nation's top rusher, finished with 123 yards and two TDs on the ground for Oregon (7-0 overall, 4-0 Pac-10) after spending part of the first quarter on the sideline with an apparent injury. Reserve Remene Alston ran for three scores.

The last time the AP No. 1 team lost in three consecutive weeks was November 1960, when Iowa, Minnesota and Missouri all fell.

"We feel as the No. 1 other teams are going to come after us, but no matter what our ranking is, we were the Pac-10 champions last year, so they'll still come after us," Oregon linebacker Casey Matthews said.

Thomas contradicted Neuheisel, insisting it wasn't anything special.

"Not at all," Thomas said. "Just going out doing what we have to do like every week."

The Bruins (3-4, 1-3) were without quarterback Kevin Prince, who did not suit up against the Ducks because of a knee injury. He was replaced by sophomore Richard Brehaut, who completed 16 of 23 passes for 159 yards.

James, who is getting increasing Heisman buzz, went down late in the first with what appeared to be an ankle injury. But before long, the dynamic back was high-stepping on the sidelines and returned.

James has 971 yards in six games, an average of 161.8. It was the sophomore's 14th career game with at least 100 yards.

James ran 8 yards for the opening touchdown. While he rested on the sideline after going down, Alston added a 1-yard scoring plunge and Nate Costa ran in the 2-point conversion to make it 15-0.

After Kai Forbath made a 25-yard field goal for the Bruins, Thomas hit Josh Huff for a 22-yard touchdown pass and tight end David Paulson for a 6-yard score to make it 29-3.

Thomas added a 3-yard TD pass to Jeff Maehl in the second half, and James scored on a 6-yard run. Thomas completed 22 of 31 passes and ran for 48 yards.

"They gave us some looks we could throw in," Thomas said. "Our receivers made good plays on the ball. A lot of wide-open guys."

Alston had a pair of 2-yard touchdown runs in the fourth, including one set up by a Brehaut fumble.

Brehaut, who made his first career start earlier this season in UCLA's 42-28 victory over Washington State, passed for 159 yards and ran for a 6-yard score with 1:53 left in the game.

UCLA, which runs a pistol offense, came into the game averaging just 95.5 yards passing.

Oregon was simply overwhelming.

"Well, they were terrific tonight on all cylinders, the pace of play, the quarterback hitting almost everything," Neuheisel said. "We were having a hard time keeping up."

The Bruins also were without receiver Josh Smith and fullback Morrell Presley, who were suspended for the game for violating team rules. Neuheisel has refused to comment on the specifics.

UCLA leads the series against Oregon 39-24, but the Ducks have won the past three. The Bruins' last win over an AP No. 1 team came in the 1976 Rose Bowl against Ohio State.

Oregon fans turned out to celebrate the ranking, many wearing yellow for the benefit of the national television audience.

"We've been here since 1959 and never have we been No. 1. For a long time it was just year after year of losing. Terrible," said 76-year-old Ginger Newman, who was at the game with her husband, Mel Newman, 80.

While the Ducks were No. 1 in the AP media poll, they were ranked No. 2 behind Oklahoma on Sunday in the first BCS rankings of the season.