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Friday, October 24, 2014

Only Guarantee Between Auburn-Oregon Is Lots of Points in Championship Game

Tonight’s BCS National Championship Game between the Auburn Tigers and the Oregon Ducks is sure to deliver a ton of scoring, specifically touchdowns. For those of you who like to watch lock-down defense, maybe you should focus on the Celtics-Rockets game. Both Auburn and Oregon allow an average of more than 20 points per game — not terrible by any means, but neither team has faced an offense like the one they’ll face tonight.

The Ducks led the nation in points per game with 49.1, putting them about a touchdown ahead of the Tigers’ fourth ranked 42.7. Oregon and Auburn rank first and seventh respectively in yards per game with 537.5 and 497.7. Both starting quarterbacks, Auburn’s Heisman Trophy winner Cam Newton and Oregon’s Darron Thomas, average right around 200 yards passing per game — the difference being Newton averages 108.3 rushing yards per game as well. Both have thrown 28 touchdowns this season, but Newton also rushed for 20 and caught one.

Auburn obviously has the advantage at quarterback, but the edge goes to Oregon when it comes to running backs. Sophomore LaMichael James led FBS with 152.9 rushing yards per game and would have led the nation in rushing yards had he not missed the first game of the season. James rushed for 21 touchdowns and caught another. Auburn’s top back, Michael Dyer, rushed for a respectable 950 yards — especially when you consider that his quarterback had 82 more rushing attempts than he did — but only 5 touchdowns. James finished third in the Heisman voting this year and will be among the favorites to win it next season.

The receiving edge would seem to go to Auburn, but not by much. Oregon’s Jeff Maehl led the Ducks with 943 receiving yards and 12 touchdowns this season, but no other Oregon receiver had more than 410 yards or four touchdowns. Auburn’s top receiver, Darvin Adams, had 909 receiving yards, but only seven touchdowns. What puts this receiving corps ahead of the Ducks’ is the production of their No. 2 and No. 3 receivers. Terrell Zachary had 585 yards and four touchdowns, while Emory Blake had 472 yards and seven touchdowns. Their second-tier guys produced just a little bit more than did those of Oregon.

The point here is that both teams have outstanding offenses. The only thing you shouldn’t expect a lot of tonight is field goals. That’s not to say that they can’t kick field goals, but just that they don’t have to. The Ducks have only attempted 16 field goals the entire season and none inside 20 yards. Auburn has attempted  just 15 field goals and two from inside 20 yards. These two teams score touchdowns. Lots and lots of touchdowns. Don’t expect anything different tonight.

Photo Credit: Christian Petersen/Getty Images



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