Oregon's Darron Thomas has passed for 2,225 yards. "This guy's not just the old-fashioned option quarterback," said UA co-defensive coordinator Greg Brown. "He can wing it." PAUL SAKUMA / THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

Darron Thomas is the quarterback of the nation's No. 1 team and the conductor of the country's highest-scoring offense.

But entering today's game against the Arizona Wildcats - one of two contests separating Oregon from a national title game berth - Thomas doesn't have time to ponder the magical year.

"Maybe after the season I'll sit back and see what I have done," he said.

Until then, here's a look at what the sophomore has accomplished:

• Stunningly, he became the starter. At this time last year, Thomas wasn't even on the Ducks active roster.

He redshirted the 2009 season and presumably thought he would spend 2010 waiting for Heisman Trophy candidate Jeremiah Masoli to exhaust his eligibility.

But Masoli pleaded guilty to charges stemming from the theft of two laptops. A few weeks later, while on suspension, he was stopped for a traffic violation. When police found marijuana, coach Chip Kelly kicked Masoli off the team.

Thomas, from Houston, played in five games in 2008 and appeared occasionally as a wide receiver. He won the starting job this fall from Nate Costa.

"It's been a lot of pressure," he said. "I just go on to the next game."

• He's yet to stumble. Among Pac-10 quarterbacks, Thomas trails only Stanford's Andrew Luck in passing efficiency and total offense.

Thomas has run for 434 yards and thrown for 2,225. His six interceptions are second to Oregon State's Ryan Katz, who has five.

"This guy's not just the old-fashioned option quarterback," UA co-defensive coordinator Greg Brown said. "He can wing it.

"That's why they put up so many points, so many yards, and why they're No. 1." 

Asked for his favorite Thomas characteristic, the Ducks' Kelly answered quickly.

"Toughness," he said. "You watch him stand in there and throw the ball when he's just about to get unloaded on. …

"He will stand in there and throw the football, no matter what the rush is."

Kelly called him a "one-timer" - someone who can correct a mistake after seeing the proper way once.

The coach said there are times when Thomas points to a receiver during a follow-through of a pass - "As if, 'I needed to throw it there,' " he said - knowing immediately he had made a mistake.

"The next time, he'll make the adjustment," Kelly said.

• He's been a leader. Thomas said the Ducks' Bowl Championship Series title hopes, and today's stakes, go unspoken.

"If we lose," he said, "we're not in the national championship game."

He said the Ducks don't mind the pressure.

"It brings us together," he said. "Our team has been going since August, a band of brothers just worried about coming out and winning.

"You never know which player is going to be the player of the game."

Thomas said the Ducks have been able to shine in the spotlight. Today, on national television, they will get another chance.

"Knowing each team is going to give us their best shot," he said, "makes it even better."

The Arizona Daily Star's Ryan Finley contributed to this report.