Week 1 Preview: Oregon Ducks vs Auburn Tigers
By: Tony Thomas
August 31, 2019
The game of the day will kickoff tonight at Jerry’s World, AT&T Stadium in Arlington, TX with the #11 Oregon Ducks taking on the #16 Auburn Tigers.
Head Coach Gus Malzahn and the Tigers are coming off a 8-5 record in 2018 and beat Purdue 63-14 in the Music City Bowl. After clearly underachieving in 2018, Malzahn will again call the plays this year.
For the first time since 1946, Auburn will start a true freshman at quarterback. Bo Nix gets the nod as the starter after winning the job over redshirt freshman Joey Gatewood.
The Tigers return their leading rusher from last year, JaTarvious Whitlow (787 yards, 6 TD’s), and their top 2 receivers. The defensive line is one of the the best in the country. Sr. Derrick Brown (4.5 sacks and 6 TFL’s) and Sr. Marlon Davidson (3.5 sacks, 1 TFL, 11 QB hurries).
Oregon, coached by Mario Cristobal, is coming off a 9-4 season and a 7-6 win over Michigan State in the RedBox Bowl. The Ducks return 17 starters from a year ago: 10 on offense, 7 on defense.
Sr. QB Justin Herbert returned for his senior season and is a legitimate Heisman contender. A four year starter, Herbert passed for 3151 yards, 29 TD’s and 8 TD’s last year. In his career, Herbert has passed for over 7,000 yards with 63 TD’s and 17 TD’s. All 5 starters (4 seniors) return on the offensive line, the most experienced in college football. As a unit, they have combined for over 150 starts. So. RB C.J. Verdell was a 1000 yard back last year,scoring 10 TD’s. The Ducks also return their top 2 receivers.
The Duck defense will be tough, led by LB Troy Dye (115 tackles, 2 sacks, 6 TFL’s) and incoming Fr. DL Kayvon Thibodeaux, the #1 recruit in the country. The secondary returns 3 players who combined for 11 INT’s last year.
Auburn is a 3 point favorite in this game. Cristobal has got it going on in Eugene, and is one of the better football coaches in the country. Oregon has too much offense for Auburn to overcome. This will be the beginning of the end for Malzahn on the Plains.
My pick: Oregon
Thanks for reading.
Material for this article sourced from: Phil Steele’s 2019 College Football Preview, vol.25, pages 1-352.; http://sportslogos.net