Oregon’s third down defense will be key against Washington State

Much has been made of how much better Oregon has looked on defense this season under first-year coordinator Jim Leavitt, who made similar improvements at Colorado in 2016. Nowhere is this more prevalent than on third down.

The Ducks lead the Pac-12 in third down defense, allowing conversions only 25.9 percent of the time. That success rate is eighth-best in FBS and a massive improvement from a year ago, when Oregon allowed a first down 48.5 percent of the time on third down for the second-worst rate in the conference.

Only one opponent has converted 40 percent of its third downs, that being Arizona State when it was 8-for-20 in a 37-35 win over Oregon in Week 4.

Oregon has allowed only nine third down conversions on run plays, in 31 attempts, yielding just 1.71 yards per carry in those scenarios. Its pass defense on third down has also been solid, with opponents completing only 43.6 percent of their passes with 13 first downs on 55 attempts.

Only seven of 33 pass attempts on 3rd and 7 or longer have led to conversion against the Ducks.

That third down defensive efficiency against the pass will get tested mightily by No. 11 Washington State, which leads the Pac-12 with a 53.9 percent success rate on third down. That ranks fourth in the nation, a big reason why the Cougars are 5-0.

The Cougars have completed 38 passes on third down this season, on 61 attempts, getting the first down 31 times. Senior quarterback Luke Falk is 33-of-52 with 27 first downs when throwing on that down.

The post Oregon’s third down defense will be key against Washington State appeared first on Diehards.

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