Can Oregon Stop Auburn's Running Game at All?

Nathan Deal@@NateDawgAUCorrespondent IDecember 30, 2010

AUBURN, AL - SEPTEMBER 20:  Offensive lineman Ryan Pugh #50, Tyronne Green #71, Lee Ziemba #73 and tight end Tommy Trott #5 of the Auburn Tigers prepare for a play while taking on the LSU Tigers at Jordan-Hare Stadium on September 20, 2008 in Auburn, Alabama. LSU defeated Auburn 26-21.  (Photo by Doug Benc/Getty Images)
Doug Benc/Getty Images

The BCS National Championship Game on January 10 features an SEC program, Auburn University, and a Pac-10 program, the University of Oregon.

It does promise to be a shootout. There's no doubt that both teams will get their points.

But if the stats I'm going to give you hold true, Auburn will easily score more.

Auburn averages 287.2 rushing yards per game, easily best in the SEC. The SEC is generally known for its stout defenses.

Auburn ran for 440 yards on LSU, who was giving up just 83 rushing yards per game coming in.

Auburn ran for over 300 yards against Arkansas State, South Carolina, Kentucky, Arkansas, Ole Miss and Georgia. They ran for over 200 against Clemson, UL-Monroe, UT-Chattanooga and against South Carolina in the SEC Title Game.

Prior to the Alabama game, where Auburn was held to 108 rushing yards by a feisty 'Bama defense, the lowest rushing total for Auburn all year was 198 rushing yards at Mississippi State.

QB Cam Newton is a key factor in this. RB Onterio McCalebb's speed is also a big factor. Blocking wide receivers? They have been key as well.

But one thing that people rarely bring up is that Auburn has the best offensive line in the nation. Better than Wisconsin. Better than TCU. Better than Oregon.

Statistics show that the average weight of an Auburn offensive lineman on a two-deep depth chart is over 300 lbs. The average weight of an Oregon defensive lineman on a two-deep depth chart? Just over 250 lbs.

Auburn's LIGHTEST starter on the offensive line is Byron Isom, who is 291 lbs. Oregon's HEAVIEST starter on the defensive line, Brandon Bair, is 272 lbs. Auburn's lightest offensive lineman is 19 lbs. heavier than Oregon's heaviest defensive lineman.

Auburn has shown this year they can, and will, impose their will on the defense, especially smaller defenses. Oregon's defense might be fast, but to contain Auburn's running attack, you need to be big. Oregon is not big.

If I'm an Oregon fan, this is alarming. No, it's actually disturbing. If Auburn could run for over 400 yards on a big LSU defense, one can only imagine how big the holes will be in the National Championship Game.

Here is a breakdown of Auburn and Oregon's offensive and defensive lines, respectively:

Auburn offensive linemanWeight
LT Lee Ziemba (Senior)319 lbs.
LG Mike Berry (Senior)316 lbs.
C Ryan Pugh (Senior)297 lbs.
RG Byron Isom (Senior)291 lbs.
RT Brandon Mosely (Junior)299 lbs.


Oregon defensive linemanWeight
DE Terrell Turner (Junior) -OR-261 lbs.
DE Dion Jordan (Sophomore)230 lbs.
DT Brandon Bair (Senior)272 lbs.
DT Zac Clark (Senior)270 lbs.
DE Kenny Rowe (Senior)232 lbs.

I'm not sure about you, but head to head, I would take the Auburn offensive line in a heartbeat.

Will Oregon be able to slow down Auburn's rushing game? You never know, but if the offensive line doesn't accidentally leave their toughness in Auburn, then this could be a long night for the Ducks defense.