Wherein I profile some of Oregon's key players in the week leading up to Saturday's game. Check back for much more in the coming days, including a Q&A with SB Nation's Oregon blog, Addicted to Quack.
What's LaMichael James's deal?
The sophomore running back, who was suspended for the season opener after pleading guilty to a misdemeanor harassment charge, ranks second in the nation behind Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson with 158 rushing yards per game. James is averaging more than 8 yards per carry, though it should be noted that he totaled 227 yards on 14 carries against Portland State. The Vikings rank dead last in the FCS in total defense, and while one might argue that's because they've played two of their first three games against Pac-10 foes, PSU's defense was so atrocious last season that it led Jerry Glanville--yes, that Jerry Glanville--to resign as head coach. Still, LaMichael is legit, and backfield mate Kenjon Barner (5 touchdowns in Oregon's season-opening win) is dangerous, too.
What's Darron Thomas's deal?
Thomas beat out senior Nate Costa for the starting quarterback job after Jeremiah Masoli was dismissed from the team over the summer and hasn't disappointed through four weeks. The sophomore has thrown 10 touchdowns against three interceptions while guiding the nation's top-ranked scoring offense (58 points per game). Thomas and Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck know each other well from their days as Houston area prep standouts.
What's Brandon Bair's deal?
What isn't Bair's deal? The senior defensive tackle does it all, both on and off the field. Bair has 8.5 tackles for loss and three sacks through four games for the Ducks, who forced seven turnovers in Saturday's sloppy 42-31 win at Arizona State. Oregon leads the nation in takeaways (18) and turnover margin (+11), and Jim Harbaugh stressed the importance of avoiding turnovers against the Ducks during his weekly interview on GoStanford.com. "Oregon does a tremendous job ball-hawking, stripping, sacks, fumbles, interceptions," he said. "This team is built for speed."
What's Chip Kelly's deal?