Posts Tagged 'darron thomas'

BCS Title Game Breakdown: Part 3

The wait is nearly over.  Tomorrow college football fans will get to see the match they have been waiting for since mid-season when Auburn and Oregon bring their high-powered offenses to Glendale, Arizona to declare this year’s BCS Champion.  In case you missed it, College FootBlog provided two previous breakdowns for this match up, but in the finale, we will provide what we feel will ultimately be the difference in this shoot-out, and we will give our score prediction.

As we pointed out in our first breakdown, each team has an X-factor, and both Oregon’s Darron Thomas and Auburn’s Cam Newton are on the offensive side of the ball.  The difference in this game, however, will be who can make plays on defense.

For Oregon, there has been a lot of talk about senior linebacker Casey Matthews, and rightfully so.  If Oregon has a shot in this game, however, FS John Boyett must have a big game.  Boyett is tied for the team lead in interceptions with five and ranks third on the team in tackles with 67.  The talented sophomore defensive back has proven all season that he is dangerous against the pass, but he is also excellent in run support.  The Ducks will need the best of both worlds against Newton, who is the most dangerous dual threat quarterback in the nation.

Auburn DT Nick Fairley has dominated all season and will be key in the BCS Title Game on Monday (google images)

For Auburn, DT Nick Fairley is one of the most disruptive defensive linemen in the country, and the Tigers’ success or failure to limit Oregon’s potent rushing attack, led by the nation’s top rusher LaMichael James, will depend largely on how effective Fairly is against the very quick offensive line from Oregon.  The dominant defensive tackle has racked up 21.5 tackles for loss and 10.5 sacks on the season.

Final Analysis/Score Predicition

We agree with the experts that this game will light up the score board.  We believe that Fairely’s impact on this game could be the difference.  Fairley has dominated all season, many of those games coming at the expense of a solid running game (see Alabama).  While the Crimson Tide’s rushing numbers have been down considerably compared to last season, they were finally healthy and back up to full strength for the Iron Bowl match up and presented Auburn with a very balanced attack.  Fairley dominated against both the run and pass.

Although Auburn has faced the spread attack, they have not faced the speed and balance that Oregon presents.  Still, in the end, we expect Auburn to create a key turnover in the second half that could prove to be the difference, and most turnovers, even the interceptions, are caused by pressure up the middle.

As Terrell Owens would say, “Get your popcorn ready.”  This will be a fun game to watch that will likely not be decided until late in the game.  Our final score prediction:  Auburn wins 41-31.

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Week 9 College FootBlog 3rd & 1

Week 8 in college football was saw another big upset and saw a Heisman contender move to a Heisman front-runner.  We cover these topics and more in this week’s edition of our 3rd & 1.

1st:  Oklahoma’s lack of a vertical passing game finally caught up with them.  Whether it is conservative play calling or zero confidence in quarterback Landry Jones, the Sooners’ lack of the intermediate and deep passing game was finally exposed by the Missouri Tigers this past weekend.  In match ups against Florida State, Texas and Mizzou, it was abundantly clear that the OU coaching staff does not want the sophomore QB to make reads down the field.  Until the Mizzou weekend, Jones’ weaknesses were somewhat masked by a barrage of bubble screens and the fast pace of the no-huddle offense.  Mizzou walked their safeties and corners up to the line of scrimmage and kept the bubble screens in check, and begged OU to challenge their pass defense.  Still, the OU play calling was bubble screens and quick slants, and it cost the Sooners one loss and could easily cost them another if the coaching staff doesn’t improve the passing game.

QB Cameron Newton has led Auburn to an 8-0 start this season (google images)

2nd:  The Heisman Trophy is Cameron Newton’s to lose.  Auburn’s  junior signal-caller eclipsed the 1,000-yard rushing mark in last weekend’s victory over previously undefeated LSU.  Although his passing numbers were far from explosive (10 for 16 for 86 yards), the elusive QB rushed for over 200 yards and a pair of touchdowns against a LSU defense that had previously only allowed one player, Tennessee’s Tauren Poole, to break 100 yards.  Newton is 9th nationally in total yards per game with 305.1 and has already accounted for 27 touchdowns, despite going against the stout defenses of the SEC.  If he can put up similar numbers in the Iron Bowl, not only will he have a great shot at the Heisman, but he will have the Tigers in position for a BCS Championship.

 

3rd:  Oregon’s offense is scary-good.  The Ducks lead the nation with just under 570 yards per game.  Their lowest scoring output so far this season was against Arizona State, when the Sun Devils “held” them to a mere 42 points.  Last Thursday’s 60-point, 582-yard thrashing of UCLA gave the rest of the nation an opportunity to see just how explosive the 2010 Ducks are.  Quarterback Darron Thomas has made everyone forget about Jeremiah Masoli’s departure last spring.  The sophomore QB has accounted for over 1,500 yards passing and 17 TDs to go along with 269 yards and two TDs on the ground.  Sophomore running back LaMichael James has picked up right where he left off last season and currently leads the nation in rushing yards per game with just over 161 YPG.

….and 1:  Only Iowa stands in the way of a Big Ten Title for Michigan StateThe undefeated Spartans invade Iowa City this weekend and face the Hawkeyes, who lost a heart-breaker at home last weekend to Wisconsin (who Michigan State beat earlier this month).  MSU has the luxury of not having Ohio State on the schedule this year, and after this weekend’s trip to Iowa, they wrap up the rest of the regular season with home games against 1-7 Minnesota and 4-3 Purdue, before traveling to Penn State for the finale.  If the Spartans can knock off Iowa this weekend, they can still afford to lose one game and be guaranteed at least a share of the conference title.  Look for Kirk Ferentz and his Hawkeyes to give MSU all they can handle in what should be a great game.