Ducks touch down in Eugene

Ducks touch down in Eugene

EUGENE, Ore. - Star rusher LaMichael James and some other Duck football players and coaches arrived back in town Tuesday, less than 24 hours after the team won a record-setting Rose Bowl.

Players from California stayed in the Golden State for the rest of winter break. Classes don't resume at the University of Oregon until next week.

Many of the coaches hit the recruiting trail in Southern California.

But all day Tuesday, the Eugene Airport welcomed home a flock of happy Duck fans.

The passengers returning from Southern California were witnesses to the Duck's record-breaking performance in the 98th Rose Bowl.

"It made a lot of years being a Duck fan worthwhile," said Luke Roth. "A lot of long years. A lot of hard years."

"The stadium just erupted and it was really fun," Anna Malliris said.

"And it was nice that there were a lot of Oregon fans there," Jeanette Kane said, "so that we weren't outnumbered."

Fans waited for one more touchdown: the arrival of charter jets bringing home their heros.

"It's absolutely huge," said Justin Hoffman, an Oregon player, "not just for the program, but for the school."

"Leaving the field and celebrating with my team is a lasting impression that will be with me forever," added player Darrion Weems.

Defensive coordinator Nick Aliotti said fatigue didn't dampen the team's enthusiasm.

"Right now, even though I didn't get much sleep, we could be walking on clouds instead of this concrete," Aliotti said. "So we all feel great."

The win made for lasting memories for Duck fans.

"It's finally nice to get a win after 95 years," said John Wolf.

"Third time is the charm," said Gary Noah, referring to Oregon's first victory in three consecutive BCS bowl appearance.

As for head coach Chip Kelly, Noah had some words of advice.

"Don't go anywhere," he said. "Stay here."