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Outside state of Oklahoma, college football's best Dynamic Duo is from Oregon

BY JOHN ROHDE Published: August 29, 2011

The top tandems in college football this season are Oklahoma quarterback Landry Jones/wide receiver Ryan Broyles and Oklahoma State quarterback Brandon Weeden/wide receiver Justin Blackmon – or vice versa.

Also among the elite is the Tulsa tandem of returner/receiver/rusher Damaris Johnson and quarterback G.J. Kinne.

Venture outside state lines and college football's top duo resides at Oregon in running back LaMichael James and quarterback Darron Thomas, two high-octane juniors who played high school ball in Texas. James and Thomas are 22-4 the past two seasons, winning two conference titles and playing in last year's national championship game against Auburn.

Last year's Doak Walker Award winner, James led the nation in rushing with 1,731 yards (144.3 per game), points per game (12.0) and touchdowns (24). He finished third in last year's Heisman Trophy balloting and is just 20 yards shy of passing Derek Loville on the school's career rushing list (3,296).

“I've always believed that to win football games you have to be able to run the football, and we've led the Pac-10 in rushing the last four years, total offense the last four years, scoring offense the last four years, and LaMichael's a huge part of that,” said coach Chip Kelly, who served as the Ducks' offensive coordinator before taking charge two seasons ago. “We've had a great tradition of running backs in the four years that I've been there, but LaMichael is a special, special player.”

Oregon will complement James in the backfield with converted defensive back Kenjon Barner (551 yards rushing; 6.1 yards per carry last season), who will bring even more speed to the already fleet-footed Ducks.

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The in-state tandems

Jones-Broyles: Jones ranked second nationally last season in total passing yards (4,718) and passing yards per game (337.0). Broyles led the nation in receptions (131) and catches per game (9.4) and was third in total receiving yards (1,622).

Weeden-Blackmon: Weeden ranked third nationally in total passing yards (4,277) and passing yards per game (329.0). Blackmon led the nation in receiving yards per game (148.5) and touchdown receptions (20), was second in total receiving yards (1,782) and catches per game (9.3) and set NCAA records with 12 straight games of at least 100 receiving yards and one touchdown.

Johnson-Kinne: Johnson led the nation in all-purpose yardage (202.2) and yards per play (15.6). His 2,628 total yards were comprised of 904 in kickoff returns (26.6 per attempt), 872 receiving (15.3 per), 560 rushing (10.2 per) and 292 in punt returns (12.7 per). Kinne ranked fourth nationally in total offense at 393.9 yards per game.


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