It only took a few plays for the defense of the UVU football team to shake off the rust of a week-long break and a stinging loss, doing what it does best in their 13-0 win over the PG Spartans.
The defense has been a strong asset of this team from the beginning. In the first game of the season they held their opponent to negative yards and forced multiple turnovers. However, in the last game the defense seemed to show a glaring weakness by struggling with a mobile quarterback, speed to the outside and a lackadaisical attitude. They were unable to force signature three-and-outs or turnovers that the team had grown accustomed to.
In the onset of the game it looked like it was going to be the same story, as the Spartans were able to make big gains with a speedy back and running the quarterback. It looked as if the Spartans were going to score on their first drive until Jason Nua made a huge sack, taking them out of scoring range.
Nua’s play seemed to bring the fire back to this side of the ball that was lacking before, and then the defensive romp was on,
“I was able to get free and put pressure on the quarterback, caught his jersey. It was game over from there,” Nua said.
The UVU defense was stout all afternoon. They played with discipline by filling holes with their linebackers, and not allowing the Spartans get to the outside. The secondary played lock down on their receivers including a big interception from Kenny Jones that stalled another drive.
The defense will likely carry the team through the season. While the offense has shown flashes of productivity it has been too inconsistent to show that it is going to go out and win games as they found out a few weeks ago. It may be unfair to put this much pressure on the defense, but until the offense can find their footing the defense is going to need to play like this every week if they want to win their conference.
The biggest challenge that they may have to face is playing with intensity. With the sub-par talent in the league it has been easy for the defense to lose their edge at times and it has cost them. This week it was a good sign to see the competitive fire come out. There were several hard hits delivered and playing hard until the play was dead, which lead to a lot of small skirmishes on the field. Although fighting can show the ugly side of sports, it was a sign that the team was all in.
Moving forward it is hard to see whether or not they will revert back to being complacent in their attitudes, or maintain the urgency they exhibited this week. Even after putting up a zero on the scoreboard the defense is still looking for ways to improve.
“We have so much room to improve,” said middle linebacker Jake Jensen. “Mainly just playing our best for the whole game. If we play our game we will be putting people down and keeping them there.”