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A look over the defensive numbers

The defense was the true MVP of last night and held Arizona to just a shade under 300 yards, a full 113 yards under their season average.  As well as holding them to roughly half their average point total--Arizona scored as many points in the 1st half last week as they did last night in the whole game. Here's a look at the leading tacklers:

Player Total Solo TFL Sacks
Greg Laybourn 11 8 1.5/ 2
Keaton Kristick 8 7
Bryant Cornell 6 6
Al Afalava 6 5
Slade Norris 6 2 2.5/ 9 0.5
Keenan Lewis 5 5
Victor Butler 5 3 2/ 10 1.5/ 9
Dwight Roberson 5 1
Christopher, Booth 2 2
13 players with 1

Some notes:

  • It seems fitting that the two players who were assigned to Gronkowski the most--Kristick and Laybourn-- led the team in tackles. Now, there were times when Gronkowski seemed to have our defense beat but couldn't reel in the catch, but I thought that Keaton and Greg did a great job of bullying big Rob all night long. On his touchdown catch, Kristick barely made contact as Rob was coming off the line of scrimmage (he might have had a different assignment, not sure), but it allowed Rob to run to the corner, catching the pass over Keenan Lewis (if memory serves). I'll take three catches for 50 yards from one of the Pac-10's best receiving tight ends. Remember-- he had 12 catches for 143 yards last week at Autzen.
  • Cornell had 5 tackles very early into the game, and his effectiveness in stopping the run seemed to have a tangible cause-and-effect relationship with Arizona's playcalling. 
  • Victor Strong Butler threw down Willie Tuitama for a sack near the end of the first half when the Wildcats were inside the Beaver 5 yard line. That goal line stand isn't being talked about much today, but it was huge for the Beavers to keep Antolin and Co. out of the end zone on that drive, and force them to settle only for a field goal.
  • On a similar note... The Wildcats had been averaging 22.1 points in the first half this season, and the Beavers held them to just a field goal.
  • Before their touchdown in the 2nd half, it had been 3 seasons since Arizona had scored an offensive touchdown against Oregon State.
  • Great job by the defense to stick with it on Arizona's last possession. It definitely seemed deflating when Willie Tuitama ran for 10 yards on 3rd and 8 with the clock around three minutes (that's when I changed my shirt), but the defense rallied to stop Antolin three times (nice play calling, UA). 


I'm sure there's lots more than this to add. If you've got a comment about the defense, the thread is all yours.