Oregon will face the toughest defense yet this season as they host the Washington in Eugene on Saturday. The Huskies come in with the second-ranked total defense in the conference, most of that production coming from stopping the pass. They have second-best defensive pass efficiency holding opponents to just a 53 percent average.
Desmond Trufant is the senior defensive leader on the team. Mandatory Credit: Steven Bisig-US PRESSWIRE
The running defense does give up close to 150 yards a game and six total touchdowns, which the Ducks would like to expose. But there are three players that will hope to stop that, and these are names that you will likely hear a lot during the game.
Thomas Tutogi (#50, linebacker)
- Junior from Chula Vista, California
- 6-foot, 242 pounds
Tutogi is emerging as the top linebacker on Washington’s defense. Already in his first four games (and just one start against Stanford), he has 10 more tackles than all of the 13 games he played in last season. His 29 total tackles (14 solo, 15 assisted) is most of any other defender on the Huskies. Two of those tackles were for a loss and he also has a sack.
He’s steadily improving, coming off of a game-high 10 tackles in his first start against the Cardinal. But it may be more telling that while he does lead the team in tackles, he ranks just tied for 27th in tackles in his conference.
Desmond Trufant (#6, cornerback)
- Senior from Tacoma, Washington
- 6-foot, 186 pounds
Trufant was voted as a captain for this season, and he has all the numbers to back it up in his hot start. While he may not be quite on pace to get his 64 tackles a season ago, he’s already had an interception to secure the victory over Stanford, a sack for an eight-yard loss, 3.5 of his 12 total tackles (8 solo, 4 assisted) are for a combined total loss of 18 yards, and has broken up two passes. Last season, Trufant had six solo tackles against the Ducks, tied for second-most in a game last season – he had 11 in the win over Eastern Washington.
Shaq Thompson (#7, safety)
- Freshman from Sacramento, California
- 6-foot-2, 215 pounds
Already off to a great start, Thompson is already at third place in total tackles with 20 (13 solo, 7 assisted) and three of those are for a combined loss of 13 yards. Like the other two players above, Thompson played his best in the game against Stanford with seven tackles.
Kickoff is slated at 7:30 p.m. PT at Autzen Stadium on Saturday.
Brian Spaen is the lead editor for Autzen Zoo. See his banter with other FanSided writers and love for his favorite west coast professional teams by following him on Twitter.