Defensive anchor takes home all-conference honor
Sophomore defensive lineman Ed Oliver added another accolade to his ever-expanding list of accomplishments by being named the American Athletic Conference Defensive Player of the Week Monday.
The award comes as no surprise after Oliver recorded 11 tackles — 1.5 of which were for a loss — a forced fumble and a blocked field goal attempt against Arizona. Saturday’s tilt marks the fourth career game in which Oliver has recorded at least 10 tackles.
“He played with great effort, phenomenal effort,” said head coach Major Applewhite at his weekly Monday press conference. “What we have to go back and see is the way (Oliver) is playing with his effort. Are we all playing that same way? We have to play harder on that side of the football.”
Applewhite said that holding Arizona to just 152 rushing yards shows the tenacity of Oliver and rest of the defense. The Wildcats combined to rush for more than a thousand yards in their last two games dating back to last season, but struggled to expose weaknesses in the Cougars’ front seven Saturday.
Even with impactful play in nearly all his 13 career games with the Cougars, Monday marks the first time the sophomore has come away with weekly all-conference honors.
Oliver — a preseason AP All-American selection — is widely regarded as the top defensive lineman in the nation. His 1.5 tackles for loss Saturday give him nine consecutive games with at least one such tackle.
The Houston-native will look to continue this streak against Rice University on Saturday when the teams meet for the first time since 2013.
Kickoff is scheduled for 6 p.m. from TDECU Stadium.