Winning is Bigger than Statistics

Statistics don't mean much to Oregon's head coach Chip Kelly. Winning or losing is all that really matters. While the Duck defense may have given up 27.5 points per game and are last in the Pac-10 in total defense, the statistics don't really tell the story of what is going on. Oregon will be tested again this weekend at Autzen Stadium when the Ducks host the Utah Utes with a 12:30 p.m. kickoff.

"The only statistic that counts is winning or losing," said Kelly during the weekly Pac-10 media conference. "We don't get caught up in any of that."

The Oregon defense has been on the field for nearly 40 minutes a game so far this season. While the Ducks are currently bringing up the rear in the Pac-10 in nearly every defensive category there a couple of surprises for those who devour numbers. Oregon's Kenny Rowe leads the Pac-10 in sacks (1.25 per game); Casey Matthews is second in the conference in tackles (11.0 tpg) while Javes Lewis is tied for 8th at 7.5 tpg. Both Mathews and Lewis have been part of big turnovers. Matthews intercepted a pass last week against Purdue that led to a field goal and in the same game Lewis picked up a fumble and ran the ball into the end zone.

The Ducks first two opponents also have some pretty good offenses. Purdue, the team the Ducks beat last week 38-36 is ranked No. 18 nationally in total offense at 493 yards. Meanwhile Boise State, the team Oregon lost to by a score of 19-8 is ranked 51st at 401 yards per game.

Interestingly, Purdue amassed 535 yards total offense in its opening game with Toledo but dropped nearly 84 yards (451) from that first game out put when they played the Ducks. Boise State had 361 yards of total offense against Oregon despite have the ball nearly 47 minutes. The next week against Miami (Ohio) the Broncos racked up 441 yards or 80 yards better than against Oregon.

"The defense played very well against two outstanding offenses," said Kelly. "I've been very impressed with our defense in the first two games."

Kelly thinks the strength of this year's defense is the secondary. Starting free safety T.J. Ward is sidelined with an injury and while he didn't practice on Monday, Kelly expects him back in practice by midweek. Ward is still listed as day-to-day and while he is out, red shirt freshman John Boyett has filled in. Boyett made his first career start last week and was the Ducks' second leading tackler for the game with nine tackles (seven solos).

"We were impressed with John," praised Kelly of Boyett. "I also thought Javes Lewis had one of his better games in the second start of his career replacing Pat Chung. Our secondary is going to be the strength of our defense. I was impressed with how John stepped in. I love our secondary, I like how our defense played."

The Ducks will need the Oregon defense to step up this week, as the Utah offense is ranked 12th in the nation at 509.00 yards per game. Kickoff for the contest is 12:30 and the game will be aired on ESPN.

Chung incidentally made his first appearance of the regular season on Monday night when his New England Patriots came from behind and beat the Buffalo Bills 25-24. Chung recorded a tackle on special teams play.

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