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Sunday, December 17, 2017

Football

Oliver ends season with defensive player of the week award


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Sophomore defensive tackle Ed Oliver ended the regular season with a bang in the Cougars’ 24-14 win against Navy at TDECU Stadium on Friday.

The American Athletic Conference named Oliver defensive player of the week Monday for his 14-tackle effort that helped lead to a win over the Midshipmen. The 6-foot-3, 290-pound All-American finishes the season with more tackles than last year and a defensive effort that has trumped any worry of a sophomore slump for Oliver.

Navy, with its triple-option, run-first offense, was the latest team to see what Oliver can bring to the table. They attempted to run despite his presence on the line and paid the price on multiple occasions.

Oliver found motivation in his recognition after being named a finalist of the Outland Trophy and Nagurski Trophy Nov. 20. His 14-tackle performance was the seventh game this year in which he posted more than five tackles. It was also a career day in total tackles, with his previous high of 12 coming against Tulsa last season.

The Houston native added two sacks to his career total of 10.5 against Navy and was all over the field Friday.

Oliver’s stat line for 2017 matches up well against his 2016 All-American campaign. He finished the regular season with 69 total tackles, 5.5 sacks, two forced fumbles and 14.5 tackles for a loss. Last season featured more tackles for a loss, but his 2017 performance was one of the best among defensive tackles.

Although the Cougars finished unranked with a 7-4 record, there are high hopes for Oliver’s junior year. It might also be his last year with the Cougars before he declares for the draft.

Oliver and the rest of the Cougars still have one game left to play this season with bowl selections on the horizon. It will be another opportunity for him to show off exactly why he is a finalist for so many awards and set the tone for next season.

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