PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — The start of the Oregon Ducks 2019 football season is just around the corner. Here are six things to keep in mind ahead of the showdown against the Auburn Tigers on Aug. 31.
1. Rematch of the 2010 BCS Championship
Things are much different now from what they were when these teams faced off in the BCS National Championship Game in 2011. The Tigers defeated the Ducks 22-19 in a nail-biter. Looking to establish themselves back into the mix of the college football powerhouses, led by potential NFL top pick and Heisman hopeful Justin Herbert, the Ducks want to make a statement against the Tigers that they are the real deal. For the Tigers, they are coming into the game with freshman Bo Nix as their starting quarterback. The Tigers offense did not live up to expectations last season, but they return with key defense pieces.
2. Ducks’ offensive line
The Ducks’ offensive line is one of the most experienced in all of college football, with a total of 153 starts and loaded with talent. Headlined by AP preseason all-Americans Shane Lemieux and Calvin Throckmorton, the Ducks offensive line is a strong point of the team and could show just how good they are when they face off against an SEC defensive front.
3. Auburn’s defensive line
The SEC is known for its defensive dominance and, for the Tigers, it all starts upfront. Auburn’s defensive line is loaded with veterans and led by arguably the best defensive tackle in the country in Derrick Brown. Between the talent with Brown, Davidson, and Nick Coe, the Tigers’ defensive front is seen as one of the nation’s best. It’s going to be a flat out battle in the trenches.
4. Cristobal vs Auburn
Cristobal is no stranger to the Tigers, since he’s faced them four times when he was an assistant on Nick Saban’s Alabama squad. Cristobal was a part of a dominant run over the Tigers, going 3-1 against them while coaching at Alabama. This could prove to be vital as Cristobal can prepare his Ducks for what is to come ahead of the matchup.
5. Ducks vs SEC
The Ducks have struggled against the powerhouse conference of the SEC, going 5-6 in the all-time matchup against the conference. The Ducks dropped games against LSU in 2013 and the BCS National Championship in 2011. But, this Oregon Ducks team is reloaded, and with Cristobal having SEC coaching experience, it could be an opportunity to make a statement for the Pac-12.
6. Auburn QB situation
True freshman Bo Nix was named the starter for the Auburn Tigers and now, the Ducks can game plan. Standing at 6’2 and weighing 215, Nix is primarily a guy who will stay in the pocket but could pick up some extra yards with his legs if need be. Nix has his first college “In the moment” game when he faces a Ducks defense that is going to bring the pressure and is anchored by a talented linebacker Troy Dye.