Lee Ann Herring-Olvedo MESPORTS SOUTH
ARLINGTON– The day of reckoning is finally upon us as one of the biggest match-ups in Week 1 of the college football season is here. While this may be only the second time in the history of either program in which the Auburn Tigers have collided with the Oregon Ducks there is a lot of blood, sweat, and tears in their already short meeting history. The last time these two squared off the Tigers had the last word and a BCS title to show for it in 2011.
Will the Oregon Ducks finally be known for more than holding uniform combo accolades this season? Will Auburn finally return to a team that looks like they are of the SEC stature led by the young Bama Buck, Bo Nix? So many questions to be answered and you can be sure that some will be answered tonight from Arlington. I will say expect this game to be one that is won in the trenches of the gridiron and it will be filled with big boys making big plays!
What will it take for either team to be the victor today and be one game closer to the promised land in 2019? Here are your Kick-Off Keys To The Game.
Saturday, Aug. 31st,2019
Kick-Off: 6:30 PM CT
Venue: AT&T Stadium, Arlington, TX
Keys To The Game
Backfield in Motion
Oregon may have a stout O-Line and a future Heisman hopeful in Justin Herbert but even with that sort of experience they still are susceptible to many things. The more the Tigers can get in that backfield and put Herbert under pressure they will control this game and more. While Herbert has good control he has shown he can’t quite get the total control under pressure and you can be sure the Tigers will have that and more tonight.
Execute Start to Finish
Auburn is stacked on both sides of the ball but we also know how easily their train can get derailed under certain circumstances. Malzahn and his ball club need to execute and control from start to finish. They can’t afford to show up in one half and not the other or I can promise you the Tigers are in for a long evening. If they want their “Mr.Alabama” young buck to take lead they are going to have to do the same. This is where I fear Auburn could be weak even with his talent and strength. He is talented but this a different stage for this kid so one for all and all for one is where their headspace needs to be heading into tonight.
Breaking Down The D
This probably going to be one of the games where it’s going to come down to the O-Line & the D-Line to be the game-changers. This match-up will showcase probably some of the nation’s top offensive and defensive lineman. While the Ducks may boast some of the best O-Lineman this season. Their offense is going to have more than the Great Wall in Auburns D-Line unit to get through today. Heisman Herbert along with his frontline is going to have to move soundly and swiftly to wear down an extremely stout and technically savvy defense. Not only does the Auburn defensive front have big bodies they can walk the walk and talk the talk in their play. Their execution and understanding of what they need to do and when it needs to be done from blocking to gap schemes you name it they know more than just the back of their hand which can be the endgame for the Ducks. When your line has players lie Coe, Brown, and Davidson who will no doubt be first-rounders and already All-SEC and more yeah it’s going to be necessary to find a way to slow that down if you stand a chance Oregon.
Divide and Conquer
Auburn is stacked and has depth and talent up the wazoo. However, if Oregon can manage to control the game by the clock and on the field and force the Tigers to have to be in more places than once so to speak then they just might find their “Trojan Horse” in to just slide in and slide by. It will be essential for Oregon to remain focused on each task at hand. They can not force themselves to make to many mistakes or not seize any opportunity if they don’t want to have a repeat of 2011. They must remain united but they must also try to divide any solidarity the Auburns’ fronts present early. They won’t be able to downright stop either unit but slowing them down enough and making them scramble especially putting the heat on Bo Nix could just be a recipe for success.
As Joseph Conrad wrote in Lord Jim, “reveal the inner worth of the man; the edge of his temper; the fibre of his stuff; the quality of his resistance; the secret truth of his pretences, not only to himself but others. ”
Tonight’s match-up lets just say it is about which of the teams can better tickle their truths into submission and grab a hold of it. This game is about opportunity and revelation for both ball clubs to really test the waters heading into the rest of their respective seasons. This will be an interesting watch for Week 1 as it will be a position to position the battle of the trenches. Will it be #WarEagle or #MightyOregon in Week 1?
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Lee Ann Herring-Olvedo is a veteran SEC sports journalist and NFL beat writer. She is our Sr. Editor and columnist for MESPORTS digital. A Brown University graduate who loves good cigars, good games and a smooth glass of bourbon — not necessarily in that order. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @Misskyus2011