WSU defense could be a tough nut to crack for the Ducks on the road

·2 min read

This hasn’t been said for quite some time, but the Washington State defense is the strength of its football team.

So far in 2022, it’s been the Cougar defense that has shined. It held Wisconsin to just 14 points in the upset victory in Madison. Now the Badgers are exactly throwing “The Greatest Show on Turf” out there, but to hold a Big Ten to just two touchdowns in their home stadium tends to catch a few eyeballs.

The Cougars are led by linebacker Daiyan Henley, a transfer from Nevada. The transition from Reno to Pullman hasn’t affected the redshirt senior. He leads the Cougars with 30 tackles, 7.5 for loss, and four sacks through the first three games.

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Perhaps Henley’s early success shouldn’t be a huge shock as he is coming off a season where he was Second Team All-Mountain West with 103 tackles and four interceptions.

According to Oregon offensive lineman Alex Forsyth, the new Cougar linebacker is the real deal.

“His play speed is really impressive. He just has a nose for the ball,” Forsyth said about Henley. “They’re one of the few teams on film that you see all 11 guys sprint to the ball. They’ve always been that way since I’ve been in college. It’ll be a really good challenge.”

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It’s good that Henley is producing because WSU’s All-Conference defensive end Ron Stone is off to a slow start. As a redshirt sophomore, Stone had 63 tackles, 11.5 for loss, five sacks and even a blocked kick. But for some reason, those numbers have dropped off. Yes, the season is still young, but it is 25 percent of the way through and Stone has just three total tackles.

In the secondary, Washington State will have an All-Conference safety back there in Armani Marsh. He already has 17 tackles.

But Henley isn’t the only former Nevada Wolfpack to leave Reno for Pullman. Defensive back Jordan Lee was an Honorable Mention last season for Nevada with 86 tackles. He did miss the Cougars’ last game against Colorado State, however, and it’s not known whether he’ll be down for the Ducks or not.

Story originally appeared on Ducks Wire