ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — No. 11 Oregon (9-4 last season) vs. No. 16 Auburn (8-5), in Arlington, Texas, Saturday at 7:30 p.m. ET (ABC).
Line: Auburn by 3 1/2.
Series record: Auburn leads 1-0.
WHAT’S AT STAKE?
Both teams would love to make an early statement that they’re for real. Oregon hopes to sustain the momentum of a three-game winning streak to end coach Mario Cristobal’s first season. Auburn is breaking in a freshman quarterback while trying to rebound from a disappointing season.
Auburn’s defensive line against Oregon’s offensive line. The Ducks have a combined 153 career starts on the offensive line, most in the nation. The group includes tackle Calvin Throckmorton and guard Shane Lemieux, both preseason first-team All-Pac-12 Conference performers. Derrick Brown, Nick Coe and Marlon Davidson all opted to return to Auburn’s defensive front after considering entering the NFL draft.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Oregon: RB CJ Verdell could test Auburn’s defense as both a runner and receiver. Verdell was the only Power 5 player with 1,000 rushing yards and 300 receiving yards last season.
Auburn: QB Bo Nix is set to become the Tigers’ first freshman quarterback to start an opener since Travis Tidwell in 1946. He’s a threat to run as well as pass and is the son of former Auburn quarterback Patrick Nix, who coached his son to a pair of state titles in high school.
FACTS & FIGURES
The only previous meeting between these teams was when Auburn beat the Ducks 22-19 in the BCS national championship game in January 2011. … Oregon’s last trip to AT&T Stadium was for the first championship game in the four-team College Football Playoffs five seasons ago, when the Ducks lost to Ohio State. … Oregon hasn’t opened with a win over a ranked team since beating Wisconsin in 2001. The Ducks have won seven straight openers, though. Auburn is 6-0 against Pac-12 teams in neutral-site games. … With 39 consecutive starts, Auburn’s Davidson trails only Louisiana Tech’s Ethan Reed (40) among active players. … Auburn’s first depth chart listed six potential starters at tailback, but Gus Malzahn says JaTarvious Whitlow will take the field first.
More AP college football: https://apnews.com/Collegefootball and http://www.twitter.com/AP_Top25