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Oregon Football

Players of the game: Defense

November 21, 2020

1. Noah Sewell

Prior to exiting the game with a leg injury in the third quarter, Sewell was putting together a phenomenal performance. His best play of the game may have been his sack of Chase Griffin. Griffin rolled out and faked a throw downfield, which prompted a big leap from Sewell before he came crashing down on top of him for the second sack of the game. 

Sewell was a constant force in this game, as he punched the ball out of Chase Griffin’s hands to force a fumble in the first quarter. He finished with 5 total tackles, 3 solo, 1 sack, and a forced fumble on the day.

His performane today proved the gap between him and Isaac Slade-Matautia may not be as big as some may have thought.

It’s a shame he got injured, as he was becoming the face of this defense in just his third game. The Ducks will likely lean on Dru Mathis to take over those snaps, as the freshman linebacker was later seen on the sideline cheering on his teammates in a boot with crutches.

2. Verone McKinley

McKinley turned in his best performance of the season in Oregon’s nail-biting victory. He got things going when he scooped up the fumble caused by Sewell in the first quarter. He showed his high football-IQ by tapping the ball forward to himself, keeping it out of the UCLA player’s reach.

He was instrumental in the defense’s response to losing Sewell, as he picked off Chase Griffin when UCLA was driving near the red zone. 

McKinley finished with 7 total tackles, 5 solo, 1 interception, and a fumble recovery. The defense looked shaky for most of the game, but he proved to be one of the reliable pillars that helped slow the Bruin’s arial attack.

3. Adrian Jackson

This one was the hardest to decide, and I think I could have gone with a bunch of different guys.

It was a welcome sight for Duck fans to see No. 29 back in action. He was playing out of his mind on the last drive of the game, flying in off the edge to collapse the pocket and force Chase Griffin into difficult throws. 

He didn’t show up on the stat sheet in a big way, but he did account for one of Oregon’s two sacks on the day. 

I think if he doesn’t apply the pressure he did on that last drive, UCLA is able to keep moving the ball and might’ve gotten into field goal range to force overtime or perhaps go for the win.

Honorable mentions

Jordan Happle

Happle was the leading tackler for the Ducks defense with 11. He snagged a crucial pick-six to provide some much-needed momentum heading into the half, receiving a big block from Kayvon Thibodeaux in the process. 

His leadership was felt in a big way for the Ducks, and I anticpate we see him on the field more moving forward.

Brandon Dorlus

With so many players rotating throught the game, Dorlus was a steady presence inside. He was responsible for applying the pressure that lead to Jordan Happle’s interception, crushing Chase Griffin in the process. 

He’s going to be a ‘DUDE’ for this defense in years to come, which may have been evidenced by Andy Avalos favoring him over Jordon Scott as the the game wore on.

Who do you think stood out the most from this game?

Tags: Oregon, Football
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