EUGENE — Oregon defensive coordinator Nick Aliotti had a wide smile on his face late Saturday night as he talked about a gratifying performance.
He didn't want the night to end, and for good reason.
He tried to defer credit for a 49-0 shutout of Arizona, instead asking that his players and defensive coaches be recognized for the team effort.
And it was, with numerous athletes making plays that contributed to that zero staying up on the Wildcats' side of the scoreboard from beginning to end.
"I want those kids to get a lot of love, and my assistant coaches, if you write an article, to mention their names," Aliotti said. "(Coaches Jerry) Azzinaro, (John) Neal, (Don) Pellum "… they did a great job of preparing their kids. So let's share some love with the rest of those guys."
One player was singled out on Monday. Senior linebacker Michael Clay was chosen Pac-12 Conference's defensive player of the week.
Clay equaled his single-game best of 13 tackles, including 10 unassisted stops.
In addition to his total number of tackles, the San Jose, Calif., standout also was credited with a pair of tackles for loss, one quarterback sack and one forced fumble.
The Ducks — who have climbed over LSU to No. 2 in the Associated Press Top 25 — had four interceptions, two by cornerback Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, who returned one for a touchdown. Kiko Alonso and Troy Hill had picks as well, with Hill also returning his for a score.
Five times Arizona got inside the Oregon 20, and each time the Wildcats came away without points.
Arizona got in the red zone on its first four possessions. Those ended with a botched hold on a field goal attempt, Ekpre-Olomu's first interception, turning the ball over on downs and, finally, Wade Keliikipi blocking a field goal. Three of those four drives were set up by turnovers from the Oregon offense.
The Wildcats also turned the ball over on downs in the fourth quarter at the Oregon 14.
"As a defense, we want to see how we respond to an adverse situation," said defensive end Dion Jordan, who had four tackles, a forced fumble and a pass breakup. "We stood up and it didn't matter who was in the game. They had to come through for the team. It was a different guy every time."
Clay said the Ducks gained somewhat of a mental edge as the game wore on and Arizona couldn't score.
"It's kind of demoralizing to the offense when you look up there and there's still a goose egg on the board," said Clay. "It builds our confidence to try to go out there and keep that shutout."
It would have been one thing to pitch a shutout against one of Oregon's first three opponents. It was another to do it against a Pac-12 foe that averaged more than 46 points and 600 yards in its first three games.
Arizona finished with 332 total yards, including just 89 rushing on 32 carries for a 2.8-yard average per attempt.
"It was just a whole defensive team effort "… and that's the stamp we want to put on the Pac-12," Clay said. "We knew going into Friday that after our practices we were going to play one of our best games we've played so far and it happened."