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Know Thy Enemy: Auburn Tigers

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Who are these Tigers that roam the Plains in Eastern Alabama?

NCAA Football: Oregon Spring Game Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports

2018 Record: 8-5 (3-5)

Key Numbers + Info (2018 season)

Head coach: Gus Malzhan

OOC Opponents: Washington, Alabama State, Southern Miss, Liberty

Points per game: 30.92

Points allowed per game: 19.15

Avg. yards per rush: 4.3

Avg. yards per rush allowed: 3.7

Avg. rush yards per game: 167.5

Avg. rush yards per game allowed: 135.9

Rushing TDs: 25 for, 9 against

Avg. pass yards per game: 222.46

Avg. pass yards per game allowed: 219.46

Passing TDs: 21 for, 16 against

Collective Pass Completion Rate: 61%

Collective Pass Completion Rate Against: 55%

Top returning rusher: Jatarvious Whitlow (150 carries for 787 yards and six TDs)

Top returning receiver: Seth Williams (26 receptions for 534 yards and five TDs)

Top returning tackler: DB Daniel Thomas (74 tackles, two for loss.)

Top returning sacks: BUCK Nick Coe (7.5 sacks)

Analysis

  • The Tigers were a run heavy team with a 57 to 43 run to pass ratio. Their opponents were slightly less run based with a 53 to 47 run to pass. They attempted more runs than their opponents in SEVEN of their 13 contests. SIX were wins with the lone loss being the blowout loss to Alabama.
  • Auburn had a fairly sizable advantage in terms of total yardage over their opponents with a margin of 5,069 to 4,620. They led their opponents in rushing by a margin of 2,177 to 1,767 while keeping it close in the passing game (2,892 to 2,853).
  • The highest point total they scored is 63 in a bowl win against Purdue. The lowest that they scored is 9 against Mississippi State. The most points they gave up is 52 against Alabama. The lowest that they gave up in a loss is 22 against LSU. The lowest that they gave up in a FBS win was 3 against Arkansas

Key prospects to watch

1. Derrick Brown 6’5 318 DT Senior

  • Brute strength is the name of his game but his athleticism is nothing to sneeze at. Has a bevy of pass rush moves in his arsenal. High motor that won’t stop until the play is over. Quick burst off the snap.

2. Prince Tega Wanogho 6’7 305 OT RS Senior

  • One of the nation’s best tackle prospects. He has the size and length to stay at tackle at the next level. Physical at the point of attack. Hand usage is a great. Still learning the technical points of the game as he started playing football in high school. Footwork is a plus.

3. Nick Coe 6’5 291 EDGE Junior

  • Position versatile athlete that played both end and tackle. Holds up well at the POA and is very strong against the interior. Needs to develop a counter move as he solely relies on the bull rush move to get by.

4. Marlon Davidson 6’3 278 EDGE Senior

  • A solid run defender that can hold up at the POA. Not the best athlete but he gets by on limited reps. Footwork isn’t the greatest either. Needs more development for the next level.

5. Daniel Thomas 5’11 209 S Senior

  • He’s top returning tackler for the Tigers. A good run defender with some pass coverage ability. More of a strong safety in the box type.

Keys to an Oregon win

  • The LOS. Oregon needs to control the line of scrimmage both ways, on offense in particular against a fearsome front four. They have the offensive line to do it with but haven’t seen a force the likes of Derrick Brown in a long time if ever. I would chip him with a back or a TE in motion. Auburn’s offensive line isn’t as heralded so pressure with the defensive front will be vital to throw off a true freshman making his first ever start.
  • Short and intermediate passing. Since Auburn’s defensive front is talented and the linebackers just breaking in for the most part, the Ducks need to exploit this with the quick passing game. Screens, crossers, slants, etc are the order of the day for OC Marcus Arroyo.
  • Run defense. Auburn’s run concepts are simple in its designs but effective due to the repetitive nature. Stop the run and they have no credible receiving threat to counter punch. Also, Bo Nix was a highly rated dual threat QB recruit so the defense has to account for that. RB Whitlow is a load to handle.

Keys to an Oregon loss

  • The LOS. If I were the Auburn defensive coordinator, I’d line up Derrick Brown against the right guard (whether that be Dallas Warmack or Brady Aiello) because that’s the one gaping liability on the offensive line. Can the line get to the second level? Auburn is Utah with a lot more offensive threat.
  • Justin Herbert. Can Herbert avoid making things simple for Auburn’s secondary by incessantly targeting only one receiver (Juwan Johnson the 2019 Dillon Mitchell)? He needs to diversify his reads to keep their secondary guessing and I just don’t know if he has it in him to do so. Mental makeup is an issue as well. He just doesn’t have the personality to command an offense to his will. Goes into a shell any time something is off.
  • Secondary. More specifically, can DC Andy Avalos “hide” Brady Breeze and/or Nick Pickett from Auburn’s offense? He’s a liability next to his secondary mates and Auburn has the personnel to beat them.

What are the odds?

The Westgate Superbook has Auburn being 4 point favorites. O/U is set at 55. The money line is Auburn -180 Oregon +150

William Hill has Auburn being 3.5 point favorites. O/U is set at 55.5. The money line is Auburn -150 Oregon +130.

Bovada has Auburn at 3.5 point favorites. O/U is set at 55.

Betonline.ag has Auburn at 4 point favorites. O/U is set at 56.

Score prediction: Auburn 24 Oregon 17