The hard work that linebacker Troy Dye put in during the season paid off for the Oregon Ducks on Friday in their 37-15 upset of the No. 5 Utah Running Utes in the Pac-12 Championship.
The Ducks will battle the Wisconsin Badgers in the Rose Bowl on New Year’s Day.
While having a cast on to protect his injured right thumb, he made one interception, eight total tackles and 1.0 tackles for loss for six yards. Although he injured his thumb in the Ducks’ October 19 game against Washington state, he only missed one game since the injury.
His defensive efforts helped the Ducks to an 11-2 overall record and an 8-1 Pac-12 record. The Ducks only allowed a total of 85 rushing first downs this season. Dye noted that the Oregon defense made stopping the run a priority.
“It’s a huge emphasis … so we try to focus on that and we set up drills, watch film,” he said. “We emphasize on stopping the run game, work in the box and different schemes.”
Their preparation proved to be advantageous, as they held Utah to 116 rushing yards in the title game. For the past three seasons, Dye had led Oregon in tackles; he is the second player to make that achievement in the history of Oregon football. He is on the verge of leading for a fourth season, as Dye made 75 total hits and 46 solo tackles.
Dye also has 9.5 tackles for loss for 26 yards. He had a season high of 10 tackles during the Ducks’ season opener against Auburn and versus Arizona State.
Last spring, Dye earned his undergraduate degree in General and Social Sciences with an Emphasis in Crime, Law, and Society. Dye credited the tutoring center at Oregon for helping him excel in his studies.
“If I had a problem with my paper and have somebody help me with my paper, somebody that’s qualified that’s there that’s professional,” he said. “I think that’s a big key to being able to have that safety net to go to them and know that you’re gonna be okay and that you got help.”
Getting a degree was a goal for Dye, he noted how relieved and excited he was to complete the accomplishment.
“It’s just a surreal moment because you know how much hard work, how much time and dedication goes into getting a degree,” he said. “How many late hours, how many times you stay up all night doing papers or doing a reading or have to wake up the next morning, go do a 6:00A.M. lift and you don’t want
to be there.”
Dye took an interest in learning about sociology, and complemented their department at Oregon.
“I like the sociology department as a whole,” he said. “I just like how the world works and how people think.”
Since his freshman season at Oregon, Dye received recognized for his talent and effort. He was named on the Phil Steele All-Pac-12 second team for two consecutive years and was an ESPN True Freshman All-American in 2016.