Oregon-Washington Defensive Match-UpsThe No. 2 Oregon Ducks (5-0, 2-0) return home this Saturday to take on the No. 23 Washington Huskies (3-1, 1-0) at Autzen Stadium.
With the exception of one game this season, the defensive numbers have been dramatically better than last season making the overhaul of the defensive staff appear to have worked.
Oregon comes into the contest off of their first road game. The Duck defense dominated the Cougar offense for much of the game holding Washington State to just 214 yards of total offense through three quarters and did not let up until the outcome was all but decided.
Today Duck Sports Authority continues our weekly look at the in-depth match ups on both sides of the ball turning our attention now to the defense.
Washington: The Huskies run a 3-4 base defense which leaves them starting one defensive tackle. Getting the nod against the Ducks will be Danny Shelton (6-1, 317) a sophomore from nearby Auburn, Washington. Shelton will be making the fifth start of the season at nose tackle for Washington and his sixth career start Saturday night. Coming into the game Shelton has recorded 16 total tackles. He had a career high 7 of those tackles against LSU earlier this season. Behind Shelton will be Semisi Tokolahi (6-2, 340) a senior from Hawaii. Tokolahi has started 12 games over his career with the Huskies but has missed time with injuries over the past two seasons. Coming into Saturday's contest Tokolahi has 6 total tackles in four appearances.
A third nose tackle, Sione Potoa'e (6-2, 271) has seen time at nose tackle and defensive end this season. He has appeared in all four games for the Huskies notching just one tackle this year.
Oregon: Oregon brings a wealth of experience at defensive tackle. Starters Wade Keliikipi (6-3, 295) and Isaac Remington (6-4, 301) both saw action as starters last season with Keliikipi starting the final 11 games. Keliikipi recorded a career high 5 tackles in the win over Wisconsin in the Rose Bowl while Remington recorded 31 total tackles on the season. So far this season Remington leads the defensive tackles with 9 total tackles and 3 tackles for loss and one sack. After a great performance against the Cougars Keliikipi has raised his season total to 9 tackles with 3 tackles for loss of his own and 2 sacks.
The real difference for Oregon will come in the reserves as Oregon returns all the defensive tackles from last season. Ricky Heimuli (6-4, 305) showing promise with 22 total tackles in his 14 reserve appearances last season for the Ducks has also recorded 6 tackles in 2012.
Deforrest Buckner (6-7, 265) a true freshman from Hawaii has played well this season notching 8 total tackles and 2 tackles for loss and his first career sack through five game in 2012. The Ducks are also versatile here as Taylor Hart can move inside if needed. The Duck defensive line has been dominant most of the 2012 season.
The Ducks have superior depth and experience at the defensive tackle position. The team easily goes two deep and, when running a 3-4, Oregon has four defensive tackles capable of playing as well as a couple of defensive ends who can move inside and be effective. Shelton has played well early for Washington, but the Ducks just have too much depth and production out of this group.
Washington: The strong side defensive end position will be manned by Talia Crichton (6-3, 264) a senior who has started 16 games in his career. Crichton has not been particularly active for the Huskies recording just 4 tackles in his three starts this season. Behind Crichton is Pio Vatuevi (6-2, 281) a true freshman. Through his four appearances Vatuevi has 6 tackles for the Huskies.
On the weakside will be Andrew Hudson (6-3, 249). The sophomore, who appeared in all 13 games last season has recorded 14 total tackles with 1.5 tackles for loss and one sack through the first four games of the season. Behind Hudson will be Potoa'e.
Oregon: Oregon has a first team All Pac-12 defensive end hybrid in Dion Jordan (6-7, 243) who terrorized Pac-12 quarterbacks and coaches last season has looked explosive in early action this season recording 22 total tackles, 4 tackles for loss and 3 sacks. Backing up Jordan will be Tony Washington (6-3, 244) a sophomore who also moved over from defensive tackle. Washington saw action in 10 games as a freshman and recorded 18 total tackles. So far in 2012, Washington has 8 total tackles and one tackle for loss.
The other side has been taken over by Taylor Hart (6-6, 292) a junior from Tualatin. Hart moved over to defensive end after starting 14 games last season as a defensive tackle. Hart received honorable mention All Pac-12 last season. So far this year, Hart has notched 16 tackles with 4 tackles for loss and 4 sacks. Hart leads the team in tackles for loss and sacks through five games.
Behind Hart true freshman Arik Armstead (6-8, 297) has made his mark early in 2012. He made the most of his early arrival and has earned rave reviews early on from coaches and team mates alike. Armstead has 11 total tackles and 0.5 sacks through five games.
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