Tulsa linebackers set tone against UCF offense
BY MIKE AVERILL World Staff Writer
Sunday, November 18, 2012
11/18/12 at 6:53 AM
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On the first play Saturday against Central Florida, Tulsa linebacker DeAundre Brown drilled running back Latavius Murray for no gain.
Three plays later Brown deflected a pass.
Then two plays later he stopped Murray again for no gain, forcing the Knights to punt.
That first drive set the tone for a 23-21 Golden Hurricane victory led by solid play from its linebacking corps.
"We knew from watching film that on everybody they've been smashing it hard," Brown said. "We showed them how we were and we ended up coming out victorious."
TU coach Bill Blankenship credited defensive coordinator Brent Guy for setting up the defense with multiple linebacker options for run and pass situations.
"We knew we would have some power football and we tried to match up and put DeAundre (Brown) at outside linebacker and Trent Martin, who's a little bigger, more physical linebacker, inside when they were going to run-based downs and then be able to move DeAundre back inside and go to a little more of our conventional set when we knew it was a little more of a pass-oriented game," Blankenship said. "I think we matched up their routes pretty well."
The Hurricane held Murray, UCF's leading rusher, to 60 yards, breaking his streak of four games with 100-plus rushing yards.
The Knights were held to just 85 yards of offense in the second half.
"I think defensively our guys are just pretty dang tough," Blankenship said.
TU's ability to limit the Knights' yardage on first down was critical.
"When they gain 4 or 5 on first down they're a lot better offense," Blankenship said. "So first down we were winning, and some batted balls and some quick tackles outside. There was just some solid defense."
Brown ended up with nine tackles, one sack, two and a half tackles for loss and three pass breakups.
Brown said he was playing for his family and his pastor, Danny Kirk, who was killed in his Fort Worth church a couple of weeks ago.
"I play for him every game," he said.
Linebacker Shawn Jackson led the team in tackles with 10, six solo and four assisted, along with half a sack and half a tackle for loss.
Jackson came up big on the Knights' final possession of the game.
On the first play, he tackled Murray after a 1-yard gain. On the next play, he and defensive end Jared St. John sacked quarterback Blake Bortles for a 4-yard loss.
Then on fourth-and-long, Jackson pressured Bortles, forcing an errant throw and a turnover on downs.
"Get a stop, get off the field," is what Jackson said was going through his head during that series.
"It was on our shoulders and we stood up," he said.
Brown said forcing the turnover on downs and sealing a Western Division title was exciting.
"We're hungry and we want to go back to a championship. Our boys, they've been great. Defensively, we've been picking it up," he said.
Original Print Headline: Defense helps stuff UCF offense
Mike Averill 918-581-8489
TU's Demarco Nelson (left) and DeAundre Brown pursue UCF's Jeff Godfrey during the first half on Saturday. Tulsa's defense set the tone early in the Golden Hurricane's win. TOM GILBERT / Tulsa World