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Thomas Tyner off to a running start at Oregon

Published on NewsOK Modified: September 10, 2013 at 3:54 pm •  Published: September 10, 2013

It's fitting that Thomas Tyner's nickname is Dash.

The freshman running back made his highly anticipated debut for No. 2 Oregon last weekend against Virginia and scored the first time he was handed the ball.

Oregon went on to defeat the Cavaliers 59-10 and Tyner had a coming out party as the latest speedster for the Ducks' vaunted offense.

"For me to get in the end zone on my first carry as a Duck was exciting, I can't even explain the feeling," he said afterward.

The Ducks introduced Tyner late in the game. He first scored on a 3-yard run to make it 52-10 then added a 31-yard touchdown dash for the final margin. He only carried the ball four times, gaining 51 yards.

"A natural runner," Ducks coach Mark Helfrich said. "I thought that zone cut on his longer touchdown was a natural cut. Either guys have that or they don't. Gary Campbell is an incredible running back coach, but you can't teach that feel, so that was amazing"

Tyner sat out of the opener after an apparent ankle injury in fall camp. Oregon doesn't discuss injuries as a policy, so it was difficult to tell whether it was serious or whether the Ducks were just waiting for the right time.

Tyner showed no signs of pain during his debut.

"I felt good," he said. "I felt healed up and I was 100 percent."

Tyner is homegrown recruit from Aloha High School, west of Portland. He rushed for 3,415 yards as a senior, setting a new single single-season rushing record for the state. He scored 47 touchdowns, 43 on the ground.

On his 18th birthday last September, Tyner smashed state records with 643 yards rushing and 10 touchdowns in an 84-63 victory over Lakeridge High School.

It was the third-most rushing yards ever for a prep player, behind John Giannantonio's record of 754 yards in a game for Netcong High School in New Jersey in 1950, and Paul McCoy's 661 yards rushing for Matewan High School in West Virginia in 2006.

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