The Oregon line backers have gone under fire this season after some uninspired play against Washington State and in their loss to Arizona. However, this week the defense was led by the unit as the top three tacklers for the Ducks were all LBs. Rodney Hardrick and Derrick Malone each had 8 tackles and Joe Walker contributed 7 solo stops as Oregon shut down the Husky offense throughout the game.
The defense set the tone early after an offensive 3 and out, keeping the Huskies out of the end zone on the first two drives and limiting them to field goals. From that point, it wasn’t until the 4:45 mark in the third quarter when the Washington finally got in on a three yard touchdown pass on fourth down.
“We really picked up our tempo in practice. We just wanted to have a better focus and not let what happened against Arizona happen again,” said Reggie Daniels.
To this point in the season, the Washington offense had been neat and tidy with the ball, having no interceptions and only one fumble recovered by the defense. Oregon stung the Huskies for two turnovers, and interception by Erick Dargan and a fumble recovered by Tui Talia. The Ducks converted both of those turnovers into touchdowns.
“We had good defensive calls. You have to give credit to Washington, they tried their best but our defense came through and created some turnovers,” said Daniels.
Oregon has garnered a bit of a reputation as a team who is unable to stop the run. With the way last season ended, it has been difficult to argue with that assertion. However, tonight the defense limited the Dawgs to 133 yards on 36 carries while not allowing a ball carrier to gain 50 yards the entire night.
“It’s always a combination of factors. It’s the type of offense you face it’s them playing better and more soundly. We’re running to the ball better and tackling better, it’s a total group deal,” said head coach Mark Helfrich.
The defense has turned in its two best performances of the season in back to back games. Their performance against the Huskies though shines a little brighter as they kept the Huskies down throughout the course of the game.
It will be interesting to see if the Ducks can keep up the pressure as they travel down to Levi’s Stadium to take on the California Golden Bears this Friday on a short week. Jared Goff will provide a new challenge as the defense will be up against the “Bear Raid” offense who may be without Chris Harper who got dinged up today against the Bruins.
Stifling Defense Flattens Huskies
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