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Sunday, October 27, 2013
Oregon defense ready for prime time

By Mark Schlabach



EUGENE, Ore. -- Oregon defensive coordinator Nick Aliotti likes to joke that the Ducks' high-flying offense is a fast sports car.

The way Aliotti explains it, offensive coordinator Scott Frost is the car's GPS and quarterback Marcus Mariota is its driver.

So what exactly is Oregon's defense, then?

"We're just on the field when our offense needs a rest," Aliotti said.

The Oregon defense proved Saturday night that it's much more than that. When the No. 3 Ducks left their locker room at halftime, they were tied 14-14 with No. 12 UCLA, surprising much of the crowd of 59,206 at Autzen Stadium. For a team that's trying to jump No. 1 Alabama and No. 2 Florida State in the BCS standings, it was hardly a dominating performance.

Oregon's high-octane offense seemed to be stuck in neutral for the first time this season, and Aliotti knew his defense would have to deliver in the final 30 minutes.

In fact, a couple of Oregon's defensive players promised Aliotti that the Bruins wouldn't score another point in the second half.

"I love it when they do that stuff," Aliotti said. "I love it when they talk dirty to me."

To read the complete column, click here.