Stanford defensive end Henry Anderson will play against Oregon on Thursday night, a welcome return that could offset the loss of Ben Gardner to a season-ending injury.
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Head coach David Shaw announced Monday that Anderson would return after missing the last six games because of a knee injury he suffered in a win at Army.
Shaw also said kicker Jordan Williamson (leg) is set to return after missing two games and handle field goals, and that wide receiver Devon Cajuste (knee) is questionable.
Anderson, a 6-foot-6, 290-pound defensive end, had two tackles with one-half sack in the first two games of this season. Last season, Anderson had 50 tackles, 13 tackles for loss, 5.5 sacks and five pass breakups.
Anderson was especially effective in Stanford's 17-14 overtime win over the Ducks, posting seven tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss with one sack, and one forced fumble. His presence was critical in keeping the explosive Oregon offense off schedule and holding Chip Kelly's team to 4 of 17 on third down.
With Gardner out with a torn pectoral muscle suffered in the win at Oregon State, Anderson is going to have to be just as disruptive against Ducks left tackle Tyler Johnstone for Stanford to have a chance to defend its Pac-12 title.
The bigger question is whether Anderson will have the stamina to handle Oregon's breakneck pace after missing several weeks of action. Anderson has dropped five pounds, but his weight room performance has not diminished, Shaw said.
Anderson may not be the one key to stopping the Ducks, but his addition will be welcome in solving the matrix its spread-option offense creates.