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De'Anthony Thomas says he's back to having fun for the No. 5 Ducks

  • Oregon running back DeAnthony Thomas dives for a touchdown reception during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Utah in Eugene, Ore., Saturday, Nov. 16, 2013. (AP Photo/Don Ryan)The Associated Press

  • Oregon running back DeAnthony Thomas, right, struggles for yardage against Utah defenders Jason Whittingham, left, and Tenny Palepoi during the first half of an NCAA college football game in Eugene, Ore., Saturday, Nov. 16, 2013. (AP Photo/Don Ryan)The Associated Press

  • FILE - In this Nov. 16, 2013 file photo, Oregon running back DeAnthony Thomas, left, celebrates his touchdown catch with quarterback Marcus Mariota (8) and other teammates during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Utah in Eugene, Ore. Before you pencil in Alabama and Florida State, know that only six times since the BCS was implemented in 1998 have the top two teams in the BCS standings with three weeks to go in the regular season played in the championship game. So there's hope Ohio State and Baylor. And Auburn and Oregon and Missouri. (AP Photo/Don Ryan)The Associated Press

With an 86-yard kickoff return against Utah, Oregon's De'Anthony Thomas authoritatively announced that he's back.

The dynamic running back had been hobbled this season by an ankle injury that kept him out of nearly four entire games. Now he insists he's fully healed and ready for the final stretch of his junior season.

Thomas' big return coincided with Oregon's rebound in the Pac-12 Conference. Following the Ducks' 44-21 victory over Utah last Saturday, USC defeated Stanford 20-17, popping No. 5 Oregon back into the top spot in the league's northern division.

The Ducks (9-1, 6-1) had fallen behind the Cardinal in the division standings following their 26-20 loss at Stanford the week before.