Auburn has the best players in College Football on Offense and Defense, NFL size & speed all over the place, they have been tested many times in the 4th quarter and have come out on top each time. Auburn has the right pedigree coming from the Iron Man SEC conference that has won the last 4 National titles. Auburn is indeed Goliath and Oregon is David. The match up is of SEC power vs Pac 10 speed. The match up is about which team can come out and play 4 quarters of football. Will Auburn overwhelm the Ducks with their physical play over the course of the game and tire them out??? Will the Ducks run Auburn silly by getting them into space and making them defend the entire field sideline to sideline???
Here's how it goes:
Auburn is going mix runs with Cam Newton and WR Screens to create running lanes for later in the game. They are going to attempt to suck Oregon Safeties into helping with the run and then run play action & go for the home run. Don't be surprised if Auburn scores a few times early and has a two touchdown lead going into halftime. If Auburn decides to run Newton more than usual which I fully expect to happen, look for him to wear down in the seconds half. You will know he's wearing down because he may miss some throws he usually makes and get mentally tired just looking at his first pass option and then tuck and run. I think you will see a lot of Michael Dyer in this game between the tackles attempting to smash Oregon in the mouth. Auburn will show some sets with Dyer & McCalleb in the backfield with some triple option and then pass out of that formation. If they run wide out of that formation look for them to run towards Cliff Harris' side. Gus Malzahn is going to throw the playbook at Oregon but don't expect it all early in the game. Look for Auburn to overload the runs opposite of Kenny Rowe and I expect to see Auburn slowly look to get Eddie Pleasant & Casey Matthews into some one on one match ups against their slot receivers & running backs. In the second half don't be surprised if they throw at Pleasant a bunch. Oregon can combat this by dropping a linebacker to help bracket the slot but that will leave a shortage against the run to the opposite side. This is why Oregon must tackle well tonight. If there is one thing that would guarantee Oregon a loss, it would be poor tackling.
Oregon has made it no secret on bringing pressure to Cam Newton early and often. I think the key is you must confuse Newton pre-snap. Newton is a good passer but he has a habit of throwing to his first or second receiver and if they aren't open he then flees the pocket. I can't stress how important its going to be to for Oregon to contain Newton in the pocket. When they get there they must open their hips, breakdown and make the play. I CANNOT STRESS THAT ENOUGH! He's a fast guy but not super quick when he's starting to run so Oregon MUST get to him before he gets his momentum moving or it will be trouble because I don't think there are many guys in Oregon's secondary that can tackle him one on one. Oregon needs to drop tackles and ends to confuse him and use overload & zone blitzes to force the action. The key however will remain pre-snap and getting Newton to make a few mistakes over the course of the game. You will not stop him every play but its about wearing him down over the course of the game. On offense Oregon will need to keep Auburn at bay with multiple formations and make them guard the entire field. I think Oregon will look to get mismatched defenders into space and make them tackle one on one. Look for Oregon to use some formations they haven't used all season and don't be surprised to see some fly sweep plays to keep Auburns line honest. Oregon will bring the physical play at Auburn and I think they will really focus on frustrating Fairley hoping his hot headed nature will show its true colors. Don't be surprised to see Oregon substitute heavily often on Defense to keep players fresh later in the game.
I think the difference will be Oregon's ability to create big plays on special teams and their opportunistic defense will come up when it needs it the most. Oregon's depth & conditioning will prove to be too much for Auburn in the 4th quarter and the Ducks will Dethrone the mighty Tigers of the SEC with a 47-35 victory. I think this game Auburn will have a chance to win it late but Oregon will force a turnover and cash it in late for a 12 point victory. I think this game will be an all out donnybrook, an instant classic on ESPN!
Thanks for reading,