Troy Dye

Troy Dye bothered by knee, but nothing will stop him from playing in the Rose Bowl

Troy Dye bothered by knee, but nothing will stop him from playing in the Rose Bowl

PASADENA-- There is no stopping Oregon senior linebacker Troy Dye from playing in his Duck finale against No. 8 Wisconsin (10-3) in the 106th Rose Bowl.

Yes, Oregon’s leading tackler’s knee is bothering him.

Yes, he wears a cast on his right hand for a broken thumb suffered against Washington.

Yes, he will suit up for his final 60 minutes in a Duck uniform.

My thumb is doing great. My knee was bothering me but that’s just because I’m an old man… It’s just knicks and dings…Nothing major or crazy that is going to stop me from playing in the ‘Granddaddy of Them All,’ that’s for sure. I mean, I played the whole season with a broken thumb and a big club on, so if you think anything is going to stop me, you are crazy.  -Troy Dye

In his final Oregon practice in pads, Dye’s right knee was wrapped for the Ducks’ Rose Bowl practice in Los Angeles on Sunday. His right knee was not wrapped during Saturday’s practice.

For the 15 minutes media is allowed to watch practice, the AP First Team All-Pac-12 selection participated in drills, but did seem to be favoring the wrapped leg.

Yesterday was the last time I’ll have a full padded practice. It was kind of surreal to know that was the last time I put on that white practice jersey with pads underneath it. This whole year has been ‘Last Time Moments’ and I’ve enjoyed every one of them. At six o’clock on January 1, when it’s all said and done and I’m no longer a Duck, it’ll hit me a little bit harder. But once a Duck, always a Duck. –Troy Dye

The “Granddaddy of them All” will be Dye and the rest of the senior class’ finale as members of the Oregon Ducks. It's a chance to earn their most substantial win in green and yellow. A victory over the Big Ten opponent would give the Pac-12 Champion Ducks 12 wins this season and scratch out another bucket list item for Dye’s sensational senior season.

[READ: Troy Dye is sorry… but not for coming back for his senior season]

In 2019, Dye’s senior tour has featured 75 tackles with 9.5 for loss including 2.5 sacks, six pass breakups and two interceptions on one of Oregon’s strongest defenses in history.

As a freshman in 2016, Dye played on a team that finished 4-8 and left out of a bowl game. Now, Dye is leading a 11-2 team and only 12 tackles away from reaching 400 career tackles in front of his home crowd. Before he plays in the 2020 senior bowl, the Ducks are counting on his leadership as they prepare for their biggest challenge of the season.

Troy Dye's knee wrapped for Sunday's Oregon Rose Bowl practice

Troy Dye's knee wrapped for Sunday's Oregon Rose Bowl practice

Oregon senior linebacker Troy Dye’s right knee was wrapped for the Ducks’ Rose Bowl practice in Los Angeles on Sunday. His right knee was not wrapped during Saturday’s practice.

For the 15 minutes media is allowed to watch practice, Oregon’s leading tackler participated in drills but did seem to be favoring the wrapped leg. Dye is already wearing a cast on his right hand for his broken thumb, an injury he suffered at Washington.

[READ: Troy Dye is sorry… but not for coming back for his senior season]

No players or coaches have commented. The media has not been able to ask about the latest development because Sunday morning's media availability occurred before practice.

The Southern California-Native has his right hand back in time for the biggest game of his Duck career, the 106th Rose Bowl vs. Wisconsin (10-3) on Jan. 1 at 2 p.m.

The “Granddaddy of them All” will be Dye and the rest of the senior class’ finale as members of the Oregon Ducks. It's a chance to earn their most substantial win in green and yellow. A victory over the Big Ten opponent would give the Pac-12 Champion Ducks 12 wins this season and scratch out another bucket list item for Dye’s sensational senior season.

Man, I'll tell you what, I look back and it was totally worth it coming back for this senior season because there's moments that I've created and there's relationships that I've built over this past 11 months that are unbreakable and there's things that I've done that you can't take back: Undefeated at home, winning the Pac-12 Championship, beating Stanford and Washington on the road, USC on the road, it's great to check those things off the bucket list and just keep moving forward and there's one more to go, try to just finish off strong to a strong beginning. -Troy Dye

In 2019, Dye’s senior tour has featured 75 tackles with 9.5 for loss including 2.5 sacks, six pass breakups and two interceptions on one of Oregon’s strongest defenses in history.

 

Troy Dye is sorry… but not for coming back for his senior season

Troy Dye is sorry… but not for coming back for his senior season

Oregon senior linebacker Troy Dye feels bad for some Duck fans. With his broken right thumb (suffered in Oregon’s win at Washington) in a cast, his left-handed autographs are hardly legible. Then again, maybe that makes them more unique.

You can barely read it. I felt bad because I was signing some autographs and I was like, man, they will not be able to understand that's my autograph, but it'll be like a real authentic left hand Troy Dye signature that only happened for six days. –Troy Dye said ahead of the Rose Bowl.

While Dye’s cast has made tying his cleats, washing his back and putting his jersey on much more difficult… His treatment is progressing as planned. Dye has a new perspective on the importance of being able to move your dominant thumb. The Southern California-Native has his right hand back in time for the biggest game of his Duck career, the 106th Rose Bowl vs. No. 8 Wisconsin (10-3) on Jan. 1 at 2 p.m.

The “Granddaddy of them All” will be Dye and the rest of the senior class’ Oregon Duck finale and a chance to earn their most substantial win in green and yellow. A victory over the Big Ten opponent would give the Pac-12 Champion Ducks 12 wins this season and scratch out another bucket list item for Dye’s sensational senior season.

Man, I'll tell you what, I look back and it was totally worth it coming back for this senior season because there's moments that I've created and there's relationships that I've built over this past 11 months that are unbreakable and there's things that I've done that you can't take back: Undefeated at home, winning the Pac-12 Championship, beating Stanford and Washington on the road, USC on the road, it's great to check those things off the bucket list and just keep moving forward and there's one more to go, try to just finish off strong to a strong beginning. -Troy Dye

Flashback to a beautifully crisp winter day and Oregon’s win over Michigan State in the Redbox Bowl at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California. Then-junior Troy Dye hoisted his defensive MVP trophy in the air as fans congratulated Oregon’s leading tackler for three-straight seasons on possibly his last victory in a Ducks uniform.

It wasn’t. Despite gaining traction as a “freak athlete” in NFL circles with an opportunity to make major money in the 2019 NFL draft, Dye chose to stay at Oregon for his senior season.

360 days later, Dye is still leading No. 6 Oregon in tackles, has jumped up to a projected first round 2020 NFL draft selection and has the opportunity to be hoisting a more prestigious trophy in the air in his actual final season.

In 2019, Dye’s senior tour has featured 75 tackles with 9.5 for loss including 2.5 sacks, six pass breakups and two interceptions on one of Oregon’s strongest defenses in history.

His stats are mostly down from his first three seasons, in large part to the large amount of playmakers alongside Dye this season. And he’s okay with that.

No one is trying to be a super hero out there, no one is trying to be superman, make every play… It doesn't matter what my stats look like, as long as we're winning games I don't really care. I'm a team guy. I think I'm probably going to have one of my best years, but the stats don't show that, but I don't really care what the stats say because at the end of the day, shoot, we only lost two games. If you told me that my freshman year I would have told you you were crazy. –Troy Dye

As a freshman in 2016, Dye played on a team that finished 4-8 and left out of a bowl game. Now, Dye is leading a 11-2 team and only 12 tackles away from reaching 400 career tackles in front of his home crowd. Before he plays in the 2020 senior bowl, the Ducks are counting on his leadership as they prepare for their biggest challenge of the season.

We've been able to get to where we are today with great leaders like Troy… I think when Troy speaks, guys listen. Troy's played a lot of football here done a lot of things at the university. Leaders, number one, have to have credibility because of how they do things and how they work and obviously Troy's credibility is high and that speaks to what he's done. –Defensive coordinator Andy Avalos

A moment that seems so long ago now, in his final home opener, the smiling linebacker danced alone to familiar tune of “Shout”, letting loose and pumping up the rowdy crowd in a moment that won’t soon be forgotten.

On Jan. 1, Dye has a chance to etch his name deeper into Oregon history and cap off a senior season he is not sorry he returned for.

Duck seniors leaving Oregon football better than how they found it

Duck seniors leaving Oregon football better than how they found it

THE SCENE

In the middle of a media circle ahead of Oregon’s final conference game against rival Oregon State, Oregon senior linebacker Troy Dye stared at Autzen Stadium and stuttered.

In four years of covering Dye, he’s never stuttered.

Oregon’s leading tackler for the past three seasons exudes leadership, confidence and is always good for a sharp comment or mic-drop moment. However, when asked about running out of the tunnel in green and yellow for the final time in Autzen Stadium, Dye got caught up in the moment.

"No matter how it is, man, I'm going to have fun with it one last time in the big and crazy Autzen Stadium,” Dye paused. “I definitely will shed a tear, there is nowhere around that one… It's crazy how fast the time flies and I'm just enjoying every moment of it."

Since the minute Dye arrived in Eugene, Oregon, he’s disrupted backfields and locked down in coverage, surpassing 100 tackles as a freshman, sophomore and junior.

He’s been the heart and soul of the Duck defense through tumultuous times, including three different head coaches (Mark Helfrich, Willie Taggart, Mario Cristobal), three different defensive coordinators (Brady Hoke, Jim Leavitt, Andy Avalos) and countless scheme changes.

SPECIAL CONNECTION

The senior class and Oregon Coach Mario Cristobal have a special bond and connection. As freshmen in 2016, they played on a team that finished 4-8 and left out of a bowl game. In 2017, Cristobal joined the coaching staff and brought discipline with him. Later that season, more than 70 Duck players signed a petition to UO Athletic Director Rob Mullens, lobbying for Cristobal to take over the program when former coach Taggart departed for Florida State. Oregon’s current seniors, and a few juniors, are the only remaining players who signed that petition.

For that, Cristobal is deeply thankful.

THE LEGACY

Dye will shed a tear on an expected cold Saturday afternoon in Autzen Stadium and so will senior left guard Shane Lemieux. Lemieux has started 49 consecutive games, earning two Pac-12 offensive lineman of the week honors and first team midseason All-American by the Associated Press this season.

He will play in the 2020 Senior Bowl along with Dye. Lemieux says the senior class has achieved their ultimate goal: leaving the Oregon football program better than they found it.

“It’s bittersweet. I know I will probably cry when I walk out there because I love this program so much and I put so much work into this. The seniors have been through so much,” Lemieux said. “The love I have for these coaches and guys like Penei (Sewell) that I probably will never play with again, until, maybe, down the road hopefully… I feel like this program is headed in the right direction.”

PASS OF THE TORCH

Sophomore left tackle Penei Sewell stands close by answering questions about being named one of three finalists for the Outland Trophy. Sewell joins Oregon legend and five-time NFL pro bowler Haloti Ngata (2005) as the only two players in program history be a finalist for the trophy awarded annually to the nation's best college interior lineman on offense or defense.
Sewell smiles as he locks eyes with his teammate, Lemieux, who he credits as a mentor who helped him adjust to college football.

“Wooooooo, (the seniors) are my brothers, man,” Sewell said. “My man right there, Shane Lemieux! He’s always taken me under his wing and I’m going to miss him, for real. I’m going to make the most of (the games remaining). I’m going to make the most of it.”

HERBERT’S FINAL WISH

At Pac-12 Media Day in July, ahead of the 2019 football season, Washington State Coach Mike Leach made a comment about quarterback Justin Herbert.

“Seems like Herbert has been there forever,” said Leach of the four-year starter. “Somehow they granted him 10 years of eligibility.”

While it may feel like 10 years to coaches who’ve had to game plan for Herbert’s elite arm and sneaky fast wheels, Herbert’s time as a Duck is coming to a close.

Oregon is one win away from its first 10-win season since 2014 with a chance to be crowed Pac-12 Champions. Now that the national title is out of the picture, Herbert said, “It means everything,” to learn from the ASU loss and refocus on finishing the season strong.

“We are coming up on the end of our senior year and playing football here has been the best four years of my life,” Herbert said. “I’d do anything to have a couple more games. I know we are going to do everything we can this week to get better, learn from it and do our best to get ready for Oregon State.”

HATS OFF

Oregon will honor 26 seniors this Saturday, including: Herbert, Dye, Lemieux, linebacker La’Mar Winston Jr., offensive lineman Jake Hanson, offensive lineman Calvin Throckmorton, offensive lineman Dallas Warmack, wide receiver Juwan Johnson, tight end Ryan Bay, defensive tackle Drayton Carlberg, linebacker Bryson Young and punter Blake Maimone. Plus tight end Jacob Breeland and defensive end Gus Cumberlander, who both suffered season ending injuries.

Quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator Marcus Arroyo joined Oregon’s staff after the losing 2016 season. He’s seen how the instability and tumultuous Oregon careers has bonded the special class that stuck it out for the opportunity to turn around the Duck football program.

“Resilient. Tough. Educated in the game off and on the field,” Arroyo said. “Some of the things that have happened off the field, working through different schemes and coaches, my hat is off to this group of guys. They are phenomenal and a resilient group that is passionate about Oregon football.”

Ahead of the meaningful Civil War rivalry with Oregon State, the senior Ducks will have a moment with their families- families of blood, teammates and their chosen Duck football family.

So what do you say fans of Autzen Stadium, a farewell and hats off to the seniors who persevered to leave Oregon a better place than when they arrived?

What happens in Tempe, needs to stay in Tempe

What happens in Tempe, needs to stay in Tempe

TEMPE, ARIZONA- Wide receiver Johnny Johnson paced the Oregon sideline with his fists clenched as the clock winded down and the reality sank in. Despite the junior’s late heroics in front of his home crowd, including 40 family members and friends, Arizona State upset Oregon, 31-28. 

The loss killed all hopes of a College Football Playoff berth and marked Oregon’s first loss in Pac-12 Conference play. It was ugly, even cringeworthy at times, displaying a Duck defense repeatedly getting burned, allowing long passing plays and an offense incapable of coming through in the clutch.

Oregon quarterback Justin Herbert threw two interceptions. The Duck defense gave up the most passing yards allowed since 2015. Those are uncharacteristic anomalies, not the norm. There is still plenty to play for in 2019… but for the Ducks to find more success, what happened in Tempe must stay in Tempe.

In other words, one loss cannot turn into two losses like in did in 2018 when Oregon lost to Washington State and then Arizona the following week.

Senior linebacker Troy Dye added further perspective when giving advice to long-faced freshman after the defeat,

“You gotta keep moving forward. I mean, I lost seven straight my freshman year (2016), so it could be worse.”

The 2019 team is not the 2018 team and certainly not the 2016 team; they’ve already proven they can bounce back. After losing their season opener to Auburn, the Ducks rattled off nine-straight victories.

A bright spot, Johnson III set career-highs with 207 receiving yards, 10 catches and two touchdowns. Half of Herbert’s completions were to Johnson III, who became the first Duck to surpass 200 receiving yards this season. However, much of that production came in the fourth quarter, after Oregon trailed 24-7.

The sparks came too late for Oregon, ensuing literal fireworks of victory above Sun Devil Stadium as the fans stormed the field stomping on the Ducks’ highest goal.

The Ducks are confident they will let go of this loss to re-establish their mentality to go “1-0”. UO gets a chance to win the Pac-12 Title for the first time since 2014, which would earn an automatic berth to the Rose Bowl. Now that the national title is out of the picture, how important is it for Oregon to aim their ambitions to smell roses?

“It means everything,” Herbert said. “We are coming up on the end of our senior year and playing football here has been the best four years of my life. I’d do anything to have a couple more games. I know we are going to do everything we can this week to get better, learn from it and do our best to get ready for Oregon State.”

Looming is a date with rival Oregon State on senior night and an opportunity to prove Oregon can overcome adversity with a lot left to prove this season.

In search of his own legacy, Justin Herbert has one of his biggest nights with Marcus Mariota in the house

In search of his own legacy, Justin Herbert has one of his biggest nights with Marcus Mariota in the house

The No. 6 Oregon Ducks are Pac-12 Conference North Division Champions, contenders for the College Football Playoff, on a nine-game winning streak and have their first 7-0 start to Pac-12 Conference play since 2012.

In a 34-6 victory over Arizona, official King of the North quarterback Justin Herbert demonstrated how he helped lead Oregon (9-1, 7-0 Pac-12) to those massive accomplishments.

“Magical” is how teammate senior linebacker Troy Dye described Herbert’s performance.

“You get the ball in (number)10’s hands and it’s ridiculous, anything can happen,” Dye continued. “He’s a magician with the ball…I’ll tell you what, he makes throws even crazier in practice.”

Herbert’s 333 passing yards marks his most this season and fourth most in his Oregon career. He became just the second player in Oregon history to surpass 10,000 total career yards and 100 total career touchdowns, sharing the milestone with former Oregon quarterback and Heisman Trophy winner Marcus Mariota.  

Witnessing from the sideline donning an Oregon-clad baseball hat pulled down, was Mariota. Despite his efforts to remain incognito, the camera found him, which brought 54,219 Ducks fans to their feet in a standing ovation. He took his hat off and bowed to the crowd in appreciation.

“I can always tell when he’s in town because it’s the loudest the crowd ever gets,” Oregon Coach Mario Cristobal said of Mariota. “There is nothing like being a player and seeing not only all the greats, former Oregon Ducks coming back and being around the program…I love it, will continue to invite them and want to see it happen much more.”

Cristobal stressed the top priority to bring the “Men of Oregon” back to strengthen the Duck legacy and “Oregon family.” He continued to share that when he was a player at Miami, meeting alumni was one of his favorite aspects of the game. Crisobal emphasized that it brings a perspective that the current Ducks are “borrowing the jerseys” and apart of something bigger.

The attention shifted back to the other sneaky-quick quarterback with an elite arm.

Herbert’s show started right away. On the second play of the game, he launched a 73-yard touchdown pass to Johnny Johnson III, the longest pass play of his season. The highlights continued with a reverse flea flicker 53-yard touchdown toss to an extended Juwan Johnson, worthy of a SportsCenter Top 10 nod. Herbert whipped his third touchdown with a back-shoulder bullet to Spencer Webb for 24 yards. Herbert’s fourth touchdown went to Travis Dye on a perfectly-timed 33-yard screen pass, extending Oregon’s comfortable lead before turning the reins over to back-up quarterback Tyler Shough.

Picking the best moment would be challenging. Good thing it’s not necessary. What is mandatory, however, is keeping the offensive momentum as the Ducks finish their two remaining Pac-12 games and beyond. Arizona’s defense is the worst in the conference and looming is a title game against the stout No. 7 Utah Utes.

It'll be the first time Oregon competes for the conference title since 2014 during Mariota's final season. When Mariota is in town, his legacy is loud enough to hurt an eardrum. Now, it’s Herbert’s opportunity to establish his own.

Legacy of a Leader: Troy Dye's intensity guiding Oregon to a season worth coming back for

Legacy of a Leader: Troy Dye's intensity guiding Oregon to a season worth coming back for

Flashback to a beautifully crisp winter day and Oregon’s win over Michigan State in the Redbox Bowl at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California. Junior Troy Dye hoisted his defensive MVP trophy in the air as fans congratulated Oregon’s leading tackler for three-straight seasons on possibly his last victory in a Ducks uniform.

It wasn’t. Despite gaining traction as a “freak athlete” in NFL circles with an opportunity to make major money in the 2019 NFL draft, Dye chose to stay at Oregon for his senior season. 

317 days later, Dye is still leading No. 6 Oregon in tackles, has jumped up to a projected first round 2020 NFL draft selection and has the opportunity to be hoisting a more prestigious trophy in the air in his actual final season.

Through eight games, Dye’s senior tour has featured 42 tackles with 6.5 for a loss including a sack, three pass breakups and an interception on one of Oregon’s strongest defenses in program history.

His highlights are stunning:

  • In his final home opener, the smiling linebacker danced alone to the familiar tune of “Shout” letting loose and pumping up the rowdy crowd in a moment that will go down in history.
  • Dye recorded a career-high 15 tackles and the most in a season opener in Oregon history vs. Auburn.
  • Dye performed a snow angel in the middle of the W at Husky Stadium after overcoming the largest second-half deficit since 2008.
  • Back in his home of southern California, Dye jumped into the stands after handing USC its worst home loss since 2009.

The Ducks are undefeated in Pac-12 Conference play, one win from claiming the North Division and contenders for a spot in the College Football Playoff.

On a scale from 1-10, how much fun is Dye having?

“I’m at a 12. I’m having a blast. I wake up every morning with a smile on my face, I come here (to practice) with a smile on my face and I’m going to leave with a smile on my face.”

The most telling moment of his season may have come from suffering a broken thumb and gutting it out at Washington. The injury kept him on the sideline against Washington State, snapping his consecutive start streak at 40 games and bringing a reality that it takes only one snap for a football season, or career, to be over. In a cast the size of a club, Dye returned one game later to beat up on the Trojans and show the truth of his character.

“That’s a significant injury that a lot of people would have probably waited to be fully healed and then go and play,” Oregon Coach Mario Cristobal said. “But what he chose to do is different. When guys like Troy speak, those are strong, powerful and impactful words. This (season) means a lot to him and it shows in the way he approaches practice and everything he does. I can’t say enough great things about him, I think he’s as good as it gets in the country.”

His words impacted Oregon's home opener, in which the Ducks trailed Cal 7-0 at halftime. Dye’s halftime speech eloquently made it clear the Ducks needed to play to their standard. The sentiment was echoed and the Ducks overcame their slow start to beat the Bears 17-7.

His actions speak louder than his words. Since returning and still in a cast for his thumb, the linebacker has hit a new level with three conference games left to play.

“He’s done a tremendous job over the course of the season but you really see it now, down the stretch,” Oregon Defensive Coordinator Andy Avalos said. “In my opinion, I think he’s turned it up in practice, since the injury. It made him want it even more.”

Troy Dye agrees that he has hit a new intensity.

“I realized that it can be taken from you. Within a snap, it can be gone,” Dye said. “I’m super fortunate to be able to come back and play with my brothers and end the season how I want to end it. I’m happy, I’m having fun with it and enjoying my time here.”

His teammates couldn’t be happier for him, either. True freshman Mase Funa beams when he details all the tips he’s learned from Dye. Junior Thomas Graham loves to see Dye prosper after witnessing him help change the program from a 4-8 team (2016) to a team on an eight-game winning streak with the biggest goals, a conference title and playoff berth, still possible.

What’s it like for Cristobal to witness Dye live his best life this season?

“I’m jealous. I want to go back to college and do it like he’s doing it,” Cristobal said.

In his final season, the future opportunities are ever-present for Dye. Every Oregon game, more and more NFL scouts grace the media press box. Dye accepted a Senior Bowl invite, where he can show off his elite agility and lateral quickness.

But before all of that, the Ducks need their leader to finish a potentially history-making season, which is exactly the kind of season a junior hopes to return for.

Podcast: Oregon reaping the benefits of Justin Herbert, Troy Dye returning for senior seasons

Podcast: Oregon reaping the benefits of Justin Herbert, Troy Dye returning for senior seasons

Remember when Justin Herbert gave Duck fans the best Christmas present of them all? On December 26, 2018, Herbert announced he would forgo the 2019 NFL Draft and return to Oregon for his senior season.

On January 10, the good news kept coming: Linebacker Troy Dye would also return to Oregon for his senior season.

What a difference it has been for Oregon (8-1, 6-0 Pac-12) this season to have these two on the field.

Justin Herbert didn’t look like himself in the first quarter vs. USC last Saturday, but then went on a reign of terror over the Trojans to finish the game. You can’t get over that mental bump without experience, and Herbert has four years of it. The offense couldn’t get it together in weeks one and two of Pac-12 play, putting up just 21 points over Stanford and 17 on California, but now have found their groove.

The defense allowed just 25 points through five games before giving up 31 points to Washington, 35 to Washington State and 24 to USC. Those are a lot of points given up to good offenses, but the defense found a way to get it done. 

Talkin’ Ducks host Jordan Kent said on the latest Talkin’ Ducks Podcast:

“I look at what this Oregon team has done, and don’t forget you had Troy Dye and Justin Herbert come back for their senior seasons because they felt there was unfinished business, and the issue with the team last year was you got to the second half of the season and this team wilted. You got to the second half of games and this team would wilt. That’s not the case this year.”

The Ducks are reaping the benefits of having the senior leadership of Herbert and Dye out on the field. Their leadership and talent (duh) is helping Oregon finish games: Herbert’s final minute drive to set up the game-winning field goal vs. Washington State and the defense coming up huge vs. Washington stopping a fourth down conversion.

In the last eight games, Oregon has outscored its opponents 170-41 in the second half.

Last season, the Ducks struggled on the road: A 14-point loss at Washington State followed by a blowout loss at Arizona, and then a one-touchdown loss at Utah. Take a breath. This season is a different story. A 3-0 record on the road with big wins in front of hostile crowds: Washington and USC. 

And with just three conference games remaining, the Ducks must take care of business as their hopes and dreams of a College Football Playoff are slim, but exist.

Listen to the full Talkin’ Ducks Podcast below:

Troy Dye not suited up for Oregon vs. Washington State

Troy Dye not suited up for Oregon vs. Washington State

EUGENE - Oregon linebacker Troy Dye will not play against Washington State tonight.

The Duck senior is not in uniform and watching his teammates warm up in sweats with a bright pink cast.

Earlier this week, Oregon Coach Mario Cristobal said that Dye, who broke his thumb vs. Washington, would be monitored and limited in practice.  

Cristobal added that since Dye already played through the injury in Seattle, he was expected to play against the Cougars. With the team’s leader in tackles out, it appears Dru Mathis will start and MJ Cunningham and Sampson Nui will be the next men up against the Cougars’ active offense.

Why a healthy Deommodore Lenoir is crucial for Oregon vs. Washington State

Why a healthy Deommodore Lenoir is crucial for Oregon vs. Washington State

Oregon starting cornerback Deommodore Lenoir is on this week's depth chart and has been cleared to play against Washington State on Saturday, according to Mario Cristobal.

“(Lenoir) looks good,” Cristobal said. “We feel like he’s ready to go and will be ready to go (against Washington State)."

Lenoir, who has started 20 straight games, suffered an injury in the Ducks’ comeback win at Washington while making a tackle with teammate Nick Pickett. Lenoir left for the locker room, did not return to the game and true freshman DJ James filled in.

Cristobal also added that senior linebacker Troy Dye, who broke his thumb vs. the Huskies, will be monitored, but he already played through the injury on Saturday and is expected to play against the Cougars.

With zero conferences losses, No. 11 Oregon (6-1, 4-0 Pac-12) has control atop the Pac-12 North Division. While the Cougars (4-3, 1-3 Pac-12) are coming off their first conference win on Saturday, defeating Colorado 41-10 in a strong offensive showing.

Coach Mike Leach’s air raid offense is different than anything UO Defensive Coordinator Andy Avalos and the Ducks have competed against thus far this season.

However, Lenoir knows the Cougars all too well and has never beaten them in his Oregon career. WSU has beaten Oregon four-consecutive times. The health of the upperclassman is vital to stopping WSU.

Lenoir, who was recently named a mid-season All-American by Pro Football Focus, is allowing less than half the balls targeted in his direction to be caught, the best coverage grade in the Pac-12 and one of the best percentages in the nation.

That excellent coverage will be needed against WSU who spreads the field with their receivers. WSU quarterback Anthony Gordon threw four touchdown passes against Colorado, his fourth game with four or more touchdowns in a game this season.

“We have not done a good enough job against Washington State for the past four years,” Crisotbal said.
The Duck defense has dominated at home so far this season, giving up just 19 points in four home games this season while forcing 19 three-and-outs in 53 drives. The Ducks have nine different players with an interception, led by sophomore safety Jevon Holland who leads the nation with three picks.

Off to a 4-0 start in Pac-12 play for the first time since 2013, Lenoir and the Ducks look to avoid a letdown game and snap the four-game losing streak against Washington State on Saturday, October 26 at 7:30 p.m.