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Oregon Football

Five Key Players to Know: Nevada Defense

September 5, 2019

The Nevada Wolf Pack are known for their offense. They were the first program to make effective use of the pistol formation, and in doing so stole some of the spotlight away from Boise State in the Mountain West Conference.

As a result of the offensive success, the Nevada defense plays second fiddle. But coming off a season that saw the Wolf Pack surrender an average of just 26.9 points and 387.5 yards per game, Nevada returns a wealth of talent that should lead to better numbers in 2019.

While it did surrender 31 points to Purdue, Nevada managed to limit the Boilermakers to just 7 points in the second half. It also forced 2 critical turnovers. 

Against an Oregon team that will press the run and still has health issues at receiver, Nevada matches up surprisingly well. If the Ducks are to come away with their first win of the year, they’ll need to prepare for a tough Nevada front seven and exploit a weak secondary.

Here are five key players from the Nevada defense. 

Gabriel Sewell Jr. (7), Senior LB

Gabe Sewell vs. Penei Sewell. It’s one of the big storylines of the Nevada-Oregon game and will be fun to watch develop on Saturday.

As part of this classic match-up of big brother against little brother, Nevada senior middle linebacker Sewell will look to continue being productive. After being named to the Chuck Bednarik Award preseason watch list, Sewell racked up 5 tackles (2 solo) against Purdue after leading Nevada in tackles in 2018.

Against the Ducks, he will have the tall task of stuffing the run while leading a 3-3-5 defense under coordinator Jeff Casteel. 

Daniel Brown (25), Senior DB

Football is a team sport, but Brown was a driving force in the Wolf Pack’s win over Purdue.

With two critical interceptions in the second half, Brown showed why he is one of the Mountain West’s top cornerbacks. The 5-11 Brown will have the tough task of limiting a physical and long Oregon receiving corps.

Redshirt freshman Spencer Webb (6-6) has moved from tight end to wide receiver. Bryan Addison is 6-5. And then there is the possible return of a healthy 6-5 Juwan Johnson.

Look for the Ducks to exploit their height advantage, thus making the play of Brown all the more important. 

Tyson Williams (6), Sophomore DB

A receiver and running back in high school, Williams made the switch to defensive back and has been serviceable ever since. A backup in 2018, Williams is now part of a safety unit of all newcomers.

Against a run-oriented team such as the Ducks, Williams will need to be at his best, assisting Nevada in both pass defense and run defense. 

Hausia Sekona (96), Senior NT

A Nevada team captain this year, Sekona will have to have the game of his life if the Wolf Pack are to have any shot of a big upset.

At 6-0 and 280 pounds, Sekona is slightly undersized but still a disrupting force. While recording just 1 tackle against pass-heavy Purdue, Sekona will be much more involved against the Ducks.

How he controls the line will be a key factor in whether Nevada is able to limit Oregon’s rushing attack.  

EJ Muhammad (4), Senior DB

Players coming back from surgery can be question marks, but Muhammad seemingly answered all of them in a confidence-boosting performance against Purdue.

After recovering from 2018 shoulder surgery, Muhammad was second on Nevada with 10 tackles (5 solo) in the season opener and proved he is ready to be physical once again. If Nevada is to have a shot against Oregon, he’ll have to have another big game.

Tags: Football, Oregon
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