Primetime College Football: BCS National Championship Game
This game goes down on the ESPN network and it features University of Oregon Ducks taking on Auburn University Tigers in the 5th actual BCS National Championship Game to be played at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona.
Auburn, 13-0, 8-0 SEC, Tigers have had a magical season in part to the play of Heisman Trophy winning quarterback Cam Newton as the team went undefeated on the year. Head coach Gene Chizik Tigers definitely had some scares along the way to reaching Glendale as Clemson took them into overtime and they had to rally to defeat the defending national champion Alabama while a lot of speculation surrounded Newton. The Tigers carried that over that momentum into the SEC Championship game where they routed South Carolina.
The Tigers put up some gaudy offensive numbers as they ranked 4th in the nation with 42 ppg, 5th in rushing at 287.2 ypg and 7th in total offense at 497.7 ypg. Newton was the reason for those numbers as the junior quarterback rushed for 1,409 yards and 20 touchdowns while throwing for 2,589 yards and 28 touchdowns with 6 interceptions.
Newton was definitely the showcase of the offense but did share the spotlight at times with running backs Michael Dyer, who rushed for 950 yards and 5 touchdowns and Onterio McCalebb, 763 yards and 9 touchdowns. When Newton looked to throw the ball he wide receivers more than capable of catching his passes like Darvin Adams who had 48 receptions for 909 yards and 7 touchdowns and Emory Blake’s 500 yards and 7 touchdowns.
Defensively the Tigers as whole is nothing all that spectacular but they do have an impact player in junior tackle Nick Fairley who has 21 tackles for loss and 10.5 sacks on the season.
The Tigers have one national title to their credit but that came back in 1957.
Oregon, 12-0, 9-0 Pac-10, Ducks navigated through their season without much of a fight except for a game in mid November against California where they came out with a 15-13 win. The rest of the season second year head coach Chip Kelly watched as his team destroyed the competition, by winning the rest of their 11 games by double digits. The Ducks won it’s second straight Pac-10 title and became the first team in conference history to win nine league games.
Like Auburn, Oregon is too an offensive jugernaught as they led the nation in scoring with 49 ppg and total offense at 537.5 ypg while ranking 4th in rushing with 303.8 ypg.
It is Oregon’s team speed that presents the most problems for teams and it starts with Sunday bound badass LaMichael James. The sophomore running back is simply as good as it gets and finished as the nations leading rusher with 152.9 ypg and a total of 1,682 yards on the season with 21 touchdowns all the while sitting out the season opener. When James leaves the game his backup Kenjon Barner has kept the offensive going and has done so on limited carries. Barner has 80 carries and has gained 519 yards and 6 touchdowns.
Quarterback Darron Thomas has been impressive under center this season as both a passer where he has 2,518 yards and 28 touchdowns with 7 interceptions while rushing for 492 yards and 5 touchdowns. It’s easy to get lost on this offensive with such stars as James and Thomas, both from the state of Texas, but wide receiver Jeff Maehl is as dangerous and very reliable target downfield. Maehl has had a huge senior season, earning All-Pac-10 honors with 68 catches for 943 yards and 12 touchdowns.
The team has also excelled elsewhere with an offensive line that has only allowed 8 sacks on the season and has All-American returner Cliff Harris on special teams who has 4 punt returns for touchdowns on the season.
Defensively the Ducks are loaded with speed that has forced 35 forced turnovers and 31 sacks. The Ducks have a few impact players on this side of the ball and it begins in the middle with linebacker Casey Matthews team-high 73 tackles, 8.5 tackles for loss, 3 sacks, 3 interceptions and 3 fumble recoveries and Spencer Paysinger, 68 tackles, 6.5 tackles for loss, 3 sacks, 1 fumble recovery. The secondary is as good as it gets with Talmadge Jackson 2 interceptions, John Boyett 5 interceptions, Cliff Harris 5 interceptions. Defensive end Kenny Rowe is also a force on the line with his 12.5 tackles for loss and 6 sacks.
This is the first ever meeting between the two schools.
PICK: University of Oregon Ducks