Know the Opponent: EWU has an experienced defense that won’t be phased by Autzen

Autzen Stadium can be intimidating even to the best in college football. It does help to bring in some experienced players so the atmosphere won’t be so overwhelming.

Eastern Washington will bring back seven starters off of last year’s team that went 10-3 last season and just one of those losses came on the road, a 57-41 loss to Montana in the FCS playoffs.

Leading the way will be a native Oregonian, Mitchell Johnson out of West Linn High School. The linebacker has made quite the career for himself in Spokane where he has accumulated 148 tackles in his 47-game career (30 as a starter). The 6-foot-3, 245-pound redshirt senior has 26.5 tackles for loss, 13.5 sacks, five interceptions, 16 quarterback hurries, nine passes broken up, three fumble recoveries, and four forced fumbles.

Oregon’s offensive line will have to pay attention to 6-foot-1, 280-pound defensive end Joshua Jerome who has played 35 career games for Eastern Washington (20 as a starter), has 143 tackles with 11.5 sacks, nine quarterback hurries, three forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries.

The secondary also brings plenty of experience to the game with safeties Anthany Smith and Tre Weed along with corner Ely Doyle, a transfer from Arizona State.

Smith, a redshirt junior, has 109 career tackles, two interceptions with four passes broken up in 30 games (11 as a starter). Smith played in just three games in 2019 before being lost for the season with an injury, and he was limited to six in the 2021 season. Seemingly healthy now, Smith began his season with five tackles last week.

Doyle played in five games for Arizona State in 2019 after redshirting the 2018 season. He then left Tempe for Spokane where he played in six games in 2020, collecting 36 tackles. Last season, Doyle appeared in 10 games, making eight starts. He was credited with 40 total tackles, but he missed the playoffs due to injury.

Weed, a redshirt senior, has 36 games under his belt (29 as a starter), and has career totals of 105 tackles, three interceptions, and 13 passes broken up.


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Story originally appeared on Ducks Wire