EUGENE, Ore., Dec. 2 (UPI) -- LaMichael James ran for 219 yards and three scores Friday to put No. 7 Oregon in the Rose Bowl with a 49-31 victory over UCLA.
The win came in the first Pac-12 championship game, one that provided a less-than-dramatic matchup.
The highest-ranked team from the conference (Stanford) did not play in the contest because it lost to Oregon and the team that finished first in the South Division (USC) was not eligible because of its probationary status.
UCLA thus gained entry into the game with a breakeven record and with Coach Rick Neuheisel already having been dismissed. Neuheisel coached the Bruins Friday.
James ran 30 yards for a touchdown the first time Oregon had the ball and only an interception return by UCLA's Patrick Larimore that forged a 7-7 tie slowed down the Ducks' onslaught.
James added a 3-yard run in the second period that gave Oregon a 28-14 lead. He also scored on a 5-yard run in the third period, putting the Ducks in front 42-24.
Oregon quarterback Darron Thomas threw for three touchdowns and ran for another. Thomas completed 20-of-36 passes for 217 yards and the Ducks piled up 573 yards overall.
Oregon will take an 11-2 record into the Rose Bowl, where the Ducks will face either Wisconsin or Michigan State. UCLA is 6-7 and despite the losing record the NCAA ruled this week the Bruins can accept a bowl bid.
The game was one of two conference title battles played Friday. Northern Illinois defeated Ohio 23-20 on a last-second field goal to capture the Mid-American Conference crown.
No. 1 LSU will face Georgia in the Southeastern Conference championship game in Saturday's highlight attraction.