The No. 6 Oregon Ducks emerged from Saturday’s showdown at Arizona State with a blowout win — as well as a significant injury concern.
The Ducks topped the Sun Devils, 49-13, to improve to 10-1 on the year. But they spent the majority of the afternoon without starting safety Evan Williams, as he left midway through the second quarter with an apparent hand injury.
Williams was later seen on the Oregon sideline with a bag of ice on his hand and wrist.
During his Monday press conference, Ducks’ coach Dan Lanning said Williams is expected to be full-go for Oregon’s rivalry showdown with Oregon State on Nov. 24, though.
“Yeah, Evan’s doing good. He was out there at practice today,” Lanning said.
That’s big news for the Ducks. Williams, who transferred in from Fresno State during the offseason, has been one of their most valuable defensive players this season. He leads Oregon with 65 total tackles and 38 solo tackles and is third among UO defenders with 5.0 tackles for loss.
Oregon’s depth at safety is thin at this point in the season, as senior starter Bryan Addison has been away from the team for personal reasons since Week 7. During that time, Williams, Johnson, and senior safety Steve Stephens IV have played nearly every meaningful snap for the Ducks.
When Williams left Saturday’s game due to injury, true freshman Cole Martin took his place and delivered his best performance of the season. The former 4-star signee grabbed his first career interception and led the Ducks with five solo tackles on the day.
“I was really proud of Cole Martin,” Lanning said on Saturday. “To go out there and perform the way he did. He’s a dynamic player. He’s a guy who is productive when he’s on the field. He shows up. He’s going to be around the ball. I think that’s something that’s hard to coach.”
Williams’ presence could be crucial for Oregon against Oregon State, which features one of the top running backs in the Pac-12 — sophomore Damien Martinez. Redshirt senior Deshaun Fenwick and quarterback DJ Uiagalelei are also dangerous threats in the running game.
The Ducks and Beavers will face off at 5:30 p.m. PT on Friday. The game will air on FOX.