EUGENE, Ore. -- Cal was able to duplicate its phenomenal defensive effort against Oregon for the second year in a row.
Then the second half began.
The ninth-ranked Ducks turned a one-point halftime deficit into a rout as only Oregon can, wearing Cal down during the final two quarters and pulling away for a 43-15 victory Thursday night in front of 58,796 fans at noisy Autzen Stadium.
Heisman Trophy candidate LaMichael James rushed for 239 yards and a touchdown, and true freshman De'Anthony Thomas caught two touchdown passes and rushed for a score as the Ducks made a statement in the second half after scoring just one offensive touchdown last year in a 15-13 win at Memorial Stadium.
James was carted off the field early in the fourth quarter after suffering a dislocated right elbow. It was unclear immediately after the game how long he would be sidelined.
In the first half, it looked as though the Bears once again had the right formula for slowing down the Ducks' explosive offense. But Oregon scored on each of its first four possessions of the second half.
"We were looking forward to going out and competing hard in the second half," Cal coach Jeff Tedford said. "Then they got on a roll, and we couldn't respond. Once they get going like that, you have to be able to respond to them, and we couldn't do it."
James scored on a 53-yard touchdown run the first time he touched the ball and added a handful of other big gains in
But James, Thomas and Kenjon Barner took turns gashing Cal's defense in the second half, and the Bears couldn't keep pace.
"We were stopping them. We were making plays," Cal safety Sean Cattouse said. "They made some good adjustments to us. They did a good job of attacking some of our weaknesses."
After an inefficient first half, Oregon quarterback Darron Thomas completed five passes in the second half, and three went for touchdowns. De'Anthony Thomas, who finished with six catches for 114 yards, caught touchdown passes of 23 and 21 yards. Barner added a 68-yard scoring run.
The Bears held Oregon to 317 yards of offense last season, which was 250 under the Ducks' average at the time. Thursday, Oregon racked up 563 yards.
Oregon opened the second half with a 13-play, 88-yard touchdown drive that began with seven straight running plays that produced two third-down conversions. The Ducks went in front 21-15 on De'Anthony Thomas' first touchdown catch.
"They came out the first series and nickel and dimed us a little bit," Cal defensive coordinator Clancy Pendergast said. "The bottom line is they made a couple plays and we didn't. We wanted to get a stop there. That was obviously very important. They came out and moved the ball down and converted. That kind of gave them some juice."
Cal's pass defense took a hit when starting cornerback Marc Anthony suffered a dislocated shoulder in the first half. Freshman Stefan McClure, whom Pendergast wanted to start playing more anyway, ended up seeing extended action and was beaten several times in one-on-one situations.
Cal's offense, meanwhile, moved the ball well in the first half but for the second game in a row repeatedly settled for field goals deep in its opponent's territory. Giorgio Tavecchio nailed three field goals in the first half, including a career-best 54-yarder, but the Bears held only a one-point lead.
"When you're going to get into a game like this where they have the potential to score points, you want to come away with touchdowns," Tedford said. "It's the second game in a row we came away with field goals instead of touchdowns."
Cal quarterback Zach Maynard, whose play during the first four games was an encouraging sign for the Bears' offense, took a step back as he struggled with his accuracy. He was just 20 for 41 for 218 yards and a touchdown.
"It was very frustrating for me," Maynard said. "I was a little off with my throws. The ball was coming out of my hand a little weird at times. It was a matter of not getting my feet right. My feet were moving faster than my arm."
Cal tailback Isi Sofele rushed for a career-high 119 yards, and wide receiver Keenan Allen caught nine passes for 170 yards and the Bears' only touchdown.