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In Defense of the Defense
Wednesday, Nov. 3, 2:30 p.m. PT

Sure the Ducks are 8-0, ranked No. 1 in the BCS standings and the top team in the country in scoring and total offense. Oregon's closest win to date was by 11 points, but the rest have been no closer than 20 and UO's average margin of victory is 37 points. And in two games against ranked opponents, the Ducks have totaled 105 points. From an offensive and scoring standpoint, I could go on and on.

But if there is one area of the program that's lacking, it's the defense... Right? Because that's the opinion being put forth by some in the glass-half-empty crowd, who still aren't ready to give the Ducks their due.

Wrong.

I said Ducks, as in a whole team full of Ducks and not just a handful of fast guys running some new wave offense. As it turns out, the guys who play on the defensive side of the ball just may be the real strength of this team or are at least deserving of equal credit.

Thanks to their penchant for turnovers – an NCAA-best 28 to date – and an ability to withstand more plays from the opposition while being on the field six and a half minutes longer per game than their counterparts, Oregon’s “D” allows the offense to capitalize on its breakneck pace. The Oregon offense can be overwhelming for opponents to deal with, but any dry spell while running plays at that pace can put a serious strain on the defense. But while they may bend, this group of defenders hasn’t broken yet.

While there is no way to know if the Ducks will maintain their current level of dominance, the first eight games are in the books. Those results aren't changing, and they are a direct result of quality play on offense, defense and special teams.

Some Oregon defensive numbers to chew on:

Opponent Average Yards per Play: 4.5
• 1st in Pac-10
• 12th nationally

Opponent Passing TDs: 8
• 1st in Pac-10
• 8th nationally
• What’s most impressive about this stat is UO is 113th nationally in passing attempts faced per game (37.6)

Opponent Yards per Passing Attempt: 5.6
• 1st in Pac-10
• 5th nationally

Second Half Pass Efficiency Defense: 86.91
• 1st in Pac-10
• 3rd nationally

Opponent Rushing Average: 3.34 yards per attempt
• 3rd in Pac-10
• 22nd nationally

Rushing Defense on 3rd Down: 1.26 yards per attempt
• 2nd in Pac-10
• 12th nationally

Scoring Defense: 17.9 points per game
• 2nd in Pac-10
• 17th nationally


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