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Players of the Game: Defense

The Ducks defense did enough to hold off a last second push from California to win the game 24-17.

As the Ducks have officially made it halfway through the season, the defense continues to be one of the biggest talking points for Ducks fans. While they have done enough to win five of the six games they’ve played, the bend-don’t-break mentality is something some fans are not fond of. That being said, Oregon’s defensive stop on fourth down was enough to shut down a Cal comeback. Here are the top performers from Oregon’s defensive unit.

Noah Sewell - Linebacker

Noah Sewell continues to be Oregon’s most active defender in every game. He was all over the field and made countless plays for the Ducks. He racked up a total of 12 tackles against Cal, with six of them being solo, and he also recorded a sack. He has won over the respect of all fans, and the coach as well.

“I think he’s the best,” Mario Cristobal said following the victory over the Golden Bears. “I think he’s the best I’ve been around in that position.”

Sewell now has 54 total tackles through six games, an improvement from last year’s season which was a shorter seven-game season because of the pandemic.

Kayvon Thibodeaux - Defensive End

After missing the first half due to a targeting call against Stanford, one half was all that Kayvon Thibodeaux needed to make an immediate impact in this game. Thibodeaux terrorized the left side of the California offensive line. He was able to blow through the line multiple times to make plays.

Thibodeaux ended the night with five tackles in the second half. His ability to pressure the quarterback helped the Ducks make big stops in the second half, including the final stop of the game.

With Thibodeaux’s suspension now done, the Ducks will really need him for the entire four quarters against UCLA.


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Mykael Wright - Cornerback

Mykael Wright had another good game for the Ducks. He amassed nine total tackles with seven of them being solo tackles. Wright played great in coverage at the end of the game and was one of the defenders that held in the closing seconds of the game.

The California native has also already improved from his 2020 season. He now has 37 total tackles through this season, which is 12 more than he had in 2020.

With the Ducks facing off against a UCLA team that averages 8.8 yards per passing attempt, Wright is going to have to have a huge game trying to slow down quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson.

The Oregon defense is preparing for the biggest conference challenge so far as the Ducks prepare to travel to LA to take on the Bruins this weekend. 

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