BCS matchups: Cam vs. Oregon
SCOTTSDALE, ARIZ. (AP) - Keeping Cam Newton contained, keeping pace with the hurry-up Ducks and keeping the scoreboard from blowing a fuse.
The showdown between No. 1 Auburn and No. 2 Oregon has the potential to be the highest-scoring BCS championship in the title game’s 13-year history.
A look at some of the key matchups for Monday night at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Ariz.
CAM NEWTON vs. OREGON’S DEFENSE
Suggesting one or two players are pivotal to stopping Newton is pointless. The Heisman Trophy winner hasn’t played a poor game all season and does too many things well to pin the job of containing him on a few players. This will have to be a team effort by Oregon. The Ducks play about 24 defensive players to keep them fresh, but it doesn’t make them any bigger. Only five players on Oregon’s two-deep defensive depth chart weigh more than the 250-pound Auburn quarterback, who ran for 1,409 yards, threw for 2,589 and accounted for 49 touchdowns.
The teams that have slowed Newton a bit as a runner _ Alabama in the first half, Mississippi State until the fourth quarter _ managed to get multiple defenders around him quickly near the line of scrimmage. Defensive tackles Brandon Bair and Zac Clark need to get penetration and linebackers Casey Matthews and Spencer Paysinger need to get to Newton before he gets to them.
Of course, if Oregon puts all its attention on Newton, Auburn does have other dangerous ball carriers in Onterio McCalebb and Michael Dyer. Oh, and Newton is one of the best in the country at throwing it deep.
Heisman Trophy winners have gone 2-6 in BCS title games after they won the award, so the Ducks do have that going for them.
OREGON’S TEMPO vs. NICK FAIRLEY
Auburn’s All-American defensive tackle has the potential to be the Ducks’ biggest problem, literally and figuratively. The 298-pounder is quick off the ball and light on his feet. Oregon’s offensive line is workmanlike and solid, but asking center Jordan Holmes and guards Carson York and C.E. Kaiser to handle Fairley might be asking too much.
What the Ducks can do is wear out the big fella with the frenetic pace of their offense.
The Ducks had Oregon State’s All-American defensive tackle Stephen Paea gassed by the fourth quarter of their regular-season finale by making him chase plays to the edges, over and over. When he started to drag, the Ducks ran right at him.