The #11 Oregon Ducks will play the #16 Auburn Tigers Saturday, 730 PM Eastern at AT&T stadium. The Tigers are a 3.5 point favorite.
Under Chip Kelly, Oregon compiled 33-3 record in the Pac-12. Mark Helfrich and Willie Taggert destroyed the Ducks program. In Helfirch’s last year, he was 2-7 in conference play and Taggert went 4-5 in 2017. All that changed last season when the Ducks hired Mario Cristobal. In his 1st season he compiled a 9-4 record. Senior quarterback Justin Herbert threw for over 3,100 yards last season and had 29 touchdown passes. The Ducks offensive line has played in over 150 games together. CJ Verdell and Travis Dye provide a great 1-2 punch at the running back position. The Ducks defense is led by linebacker Troy Dye. He led the team with 115 tackles . Cristobal is building the program in his own image. It is predicated on power football upfront but also built on speed. This is not Chip Kelly’s offense, but it could be equally successful with their results.
The question for Auburn could be their head coach. Is Gus Malzon on the “Hot-Seat“?. In 2013, the Tigers went to a national championship but since that time, their record is as follows:
Malzon has been a little better than average since 2013, but that didn’t stop Auburn from giving him a contract extension last year. He signed a 7-year, $49 million deal. The Tigers were ranked 79th in total offense last season. Quarterback Jarrett Stidham was drafted by the New England Patriots so the Tigers will have an inexperienced signal caller under center. Auburn didn’t have a 1,000 yard rusher last season but wide receiver, Anthony Schwartz had 7 touchdowns. Auburn’s defense always has tremendous team speed. Senior’s Derrick Brown and Marlon Davidson, could disrupt offenses all season long. They could be an elite defensive unit by season’s end.
Both of these teams have post-season aspirations. The Ducks have a better offense with more playmakers. If Auburn gets down early, will their young quarterback be able to respond? Malzon is going to use trick plays and all sorts of formations to try and confuse the Oregon defense. Whoever controls the line of scrimmage will win this game. I expect the Ducks offensive line to wear down the Auburn defense over 4 quarters and Justin Herbert to make big plays in the 2nd half.
Take the Ducks in an upset 24-20.
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