Henry Anderson figured to be a major contributor in the defensive line rotation for the Stanford Cardinal in 2013. Last season, the senior recorded 50 tackles, including 4.5 sacks as a key piece of the Pac 12 championship run and Rose Bowl win for Stanford. But after suffering an injury against the Army Black Knights, he’s been sidelined since the second game of the season. With the Cardinal defensive line hurting with even more injuries, however, Anderson is prepared to make his return just in time for the biggest game of the year.
With the Oregon Ducks coming to Palo Alto on Thursday, the Stanford defense will face their biggest test yet. They’ll have to do it without one of their defensive leaders as well after Ben Gardner was lost for the season with an upper body injury against the Oregon State Beavers two weeks ago. Anderson returns to the lineup just in time to step into the void left by Gardner’s injury and has reportedly come back in great shape to step into a significant role right away.
The Cardinal will need him to do just that as well. Last year, Anderson was instrumental in disrupting the Oregon offense by re-establishing the line of scrimmage in the offensive backfield by driving his lineman back into the play. The havoc he wreaked single-handedly allowed the Cardinal to keep defenders back against the pass while still containing the Oregon rushing attack. Anderson finished the day with seven tackles, including 2.5 tackles for loss and a forced fumble.
He will need to jump right back in on Thursday and have the same kind of game if Stanford hopes to win back-to-back games against the high-powered Oregon attack. How quickly the senior defensive end can get back into the flow and overcome the rust of being sidelined for the last two months will be a major key for the Cardinal defense as they attempt to recapture control of the Pac 12 race.