The magnitude of Oregon's defensive effort is hard to communicate. Perhaps its best described as…
Ducks Smash Arizona 49-0
"First and goal on our two yard line, and those kids stopped them," said Defensive Coordinator Nick Aliotti of a Duck defensive stand. "That was pretty special."
Oregon's defense throttled UA's Matt Scott by frustrating the Cats inside the Duck 25 with a solid pass rush and very consistent play by the Oregon secondary. Scott was picked off three time on way to a 22-for-44 passing effort that netted 210 yards. Perhaps the last interception by Ifo Ekpre-Olomu was the most painful because Ekpre-Olomu stepped in front of a Wildcat receiver and returned the ball 54 yards for a touchdown. For the night Ekpre-Oloum had two picks. Things weren't any easier for Arizona when Scott took a seat as back up B.J. Denker served a ball to Troy Hill for the second Oregon pick-six of the game.
"We just stepped it up in the red zone," said senior linebacker Michael Clay about the Duck defense effort protecting the Oregon goal line. "We just wanted to get stiffer and stiffer as they got closer and closer to the end zone."
Meanwhile the Oregon offense was not the high-powered machine many had anticipated it would be and only scored 13 point in the first half. Quarterback Marcus Mariota hit Daryle Hawkins on a 17-yard pass for a TD but that was the only touchdown in the first half. Robby Beard kicked two field goals of 27 and 41 yards.
In the second half a new wrinkle to the Oregon offense produced points as tight end Colt Lyerla moved to running back and scored on a one-yard plunge, even though quarterback Bryan Bennett was still holding onto the ball for the hand off so Bennett, Lyerla and the ball crossed the goal line for the score. Lyerla had a total of seven carries for 63 yards including a long run of 23.
"I wouldn't want to tackle him," said Mariota speaking to reporters about Lyerla. "I don't know about you guys."
Kenjon Barner was the leading rusher for the game with 86 yards while DeAnthony Thomas ended up 48 yards and for only the second time in his Oregon career, did not cross the goal line. Thomas was not his usual spectacular self, unless you don't count the electrifying 38-yard punt return that set up Lyerla's score. Thomas though also drew the oohs and aahs on a simple first down conversion in the second half when took the ball on a six yard run, stopped, started, shifted gears and caused a Wildcat defender helplessly grabbing at air as No. 6 trotted by and picked up a first down. That play might not be the most important play of the game, but it surely caused everyone's jaw to drop just watching the play.
Mariota was 20-of-35, 260 yards and in addition to the TD pass to Hawkins, also hooked up with Braylon Addison on a post-pattern that covered 55 yards. Bennett also had a touchdown run of eight yards in the fourth quarter.
The Ducks stole the show on defense with six total tackles for loss. Linebacker Michael Clay was the leading tackler with 13 tackles (10 solos) including a ferocious sack of Scott in the third quarter. For the game Clay was credited for two tackles for loss including the sack. Kiko Alonso had nine tackles (six solos) including a TFL and for the second week in a row had an interception. Isaac Remington was credited with a TFL among his three unassisted tackles as did Tony Washington with his TFL as part of his two solo tackles. Wade Keliikipi had two solos including a TFL also.
"It's our job to make that score on the other end as low as possible and today we made it as low as possible," said safety Brian Jackson.
The Duck defense had a total of seven break ups and three quarterback hurries.
Arizona was led on defense by Jared Tevis with 12 tackles (seven solos), two forced fumbles and two break ups. Jonathan McKnight picked off Mariota, and Arizona's Jake Fischer accounted for Arizona's only fumble recovery of an Oregon miscue.
Arizona was the No. 24 team prior to the Oregon game and this marks the eighth time Kelly has beaten a top-25 team at home. Over all Kelly is now 8-1 against ranked opponents at home and is 11-5 overall (against top-25 teams).
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