There was nothing spectacular about Oregon’s defensive performance but what they did do was provide a workmanlike performance and consistently turned away a Colorado offense that was left to look hapless and defeated throughout the game.
Even when you factor in Colorado’s one big play; a 39 yard run from Christian Powell, the Oregon defense dominated the Buffaloes from start to finish. The Ducks limited the Buffaloes to 226 yards on 13 possessions and limited Nelson Spruce, the nation’s most prolific receiver to 2 receptions for 16 yards.
“It was probably our most solid effort all year long. We wanted to minimize [Spruce’s] effect as much as possible and make someone else beat us and we did that,” said head coach Mark Helfrich.
“We did a good job of making him try to beat us deep. We did not let him get his short routes which is where he gets a lot of his catches and threw him off guard,” said Ifo Ekpre-Olomu.
Early on, it looked as though Colorado may be able to exploit the Oregon defense underneath with swing and screen passes, but the defense adjusted quickly and whether it was Jordan Gehrke or Sefo Liufau the Ducks kept everything in front of them and did not allow a pass for more than 18 yards the entire game.
The Ducks were also able to shut down the running game consistently. The interior linemen for Oregon stood strong and allowed Erick Dargan and Torrodney Prevot to make numerous plays defensively. The Buffaloes only managed 4 yards a play on 30 carries.
“The thing that the defense did a good job of was there were not a lot of interior runs. The interior was really solid. I don’t think the continued to try and run it in there because it wasn’t happening. I think those guys played really well, whether it was a four man rush or a three man rush they continued to rush the passer and did really well,” said defensive coordinator Don Pellum.
The only thing missing from Oregon’s performance defensively was forcing a turnover. Ifo Ekpre-Olomu laid out for an interception early but just missed it and Chris Seisay came up just short of taking one to the house when he jumped a route in the second half. It shows that the defense was doing more than capitalizing on mistakes. They went nose to nose with their opponent and beat them on a consistent basis.
Next up is Oregon State. They have a senior quarterback and some dynamic receivers. If the Ducks can manage a defensive performance that matches the one they put up tonight, then a repeat of last season’s instant classic is unlikely.
Defense Demoralize Buffaloes
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