What’s the last thing you want to happen when facing the top defense in the country in terms of sacks? Lose a starting offensive lineman, that’s what.
Unfortunately, that’s the very situation Oregon could find itself in for its road trip to Utah Saturday night. Late in UO’s blowout win over Stanford, starting right tackle Matt Pierson sustained an injury to his left knee.
An MRI performed Monday revealed a sprained MCL, which leaves Pierson’s status as “day-to-day” according to offensive line coach Steve Greatwood.
The reason that Pierson was still in the game in what would turn out to be a 29-point win is simple: injuries along the line have left the Ducks painfully thin at that grouping. The lack of healthy personnel left O’s head coach lamenting the circumstances that helped lead to Pierson’s injury.
“When you have one less chess piece then another chess piece has to stay out on the board a little bit longer,” Mark Helfrich said. “That was very unfortunate. …
“We’re not trying to do anything other than get out, get the clock run out and get out of dodge.”
If Pierson is sidelined — that seems to be the case at this point — he would be replaced by either true freshman Tyrell Crosby or sophomore Cameron Hunt. While Hunt has started at guard and Crosby has played this season, they will be facing what will likely be the line’s most formidable test this season Saturday.
As a team, the Utes lead the nation in sacks with 39, and they’re third in tackles for loss with 73. Individually, linebacker Hau’Oli Kikana is tops in the country in sacks (15.5) and tackles for loss (21.5).
(Photo credit: Oregon athletics)