SANTA CLARA -- LaMichael James isn't fazed one bit as he finds himself in the thick of a Super Bowl run as a 49ers rookie running back.

James credited his college experience at Oregon in preparing him for the magnitude of a playoff run, which resumes Sunday when the 49ers visit the Atlanta Falcons for the NFC championship.

"I don't think it's too much different than playing in BCS games at Oregon," James said. "That helped me out. It's second nature to me. It's not that big of a difference."

James, Oregon's all-time leader in rushing yards and touchdowns, ran for 159 yards and a touchdown in the Ducks' Rose Bowl win last year over Wisconsin. He also played in the Oregon's losses in the BCS Championship Game against Auburn as a sophomore and in the Rose Bowl against Ohio State as a freshman.

San Francisco 49ers running back LaMichael James (23) runs past Green Bay Packers’ safety Morgan Burnett for a first down during the second quarter
San Francisco 49ers running back LaMichael James (23) runs past Green Bay Packers' safety Morgan Burnett for a first down during the second quarter of their NFC divisional playoff game, Saturday, Jan. 12, 2013 at Candlestick Park in San Francisco. (Doug Duran/Bay Area News Group)

James had three carries for 21 yards, a 7-yard reception and a 23-yard kickoff return in his playoff debut Saturday night, when the 49ers defeated the Green Bay Packers 45-31.

Colin Kaepernick faked a handoff to James before keeping the ball and racing 56 yards for the 49ers' go-ahead touchdown in that win. "It's just an instinctive deal," James said of the read-option plays. "He made the right read, took it and he was off."

James credited Kaepernick among those who caught him up to speed on the 49ers' massive playbook after missing most of the offseason workouts while completing Oregon's spring quarter.

"He's super fast, athletic and once he breaks the pocket, he's looking downfield to throw the ball and not run it," James said of Kaepenrick.

A second-round draft pick, James was inactive the 49ers' first 12 games this season but has filled the void once Kendall Hunter sustained a season-ending Achilles tear. James ran for 125 yards and averaged 4.6 yards per carry in the regular season, though his highlight was a 62-yard kickoff return that set up the 49ers' winning touchdown drive Dec. 16 at New England.