AUBURN, Ala. (WBRC) - The last time Auburn and Oregon played was when the Tigers hoisted the national championship trophy up in 2011, but that was eight years ago.
Now with new coaches, new players, and the Tigers starting a true freshman at quarterback, Gus Malzahn says this top-20 matchup is exactly what he wanted to open the season.
“When you’re playing one of the best teams in the country, you get the advantage of seeing exactly where you’re at. Whatever gets exposed gets exposed against a good team and that’s the positive,” Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn said Tuesday.
For the first time since 1946, Auburn will start a true freshman at quarterback - former Pinson Valley football star Bo Nix. Is there pressure? The Tigers say no.
“For his age, he does not play like an 18-year-old kid. He really took control during camp, and for a freshman to come in mid-year, he's confident,” said Auburn offensive lineman Jack Driscoll.
“We're going to try and do some things that he feels comfortable with, we're taking in a game plan that is built around him,” Malzahn added.
But does comfortable mean fans will see a conservative offense?
“Nah, I wouldn’t say that. I don’t think you can be conservative against one of the top teams in the country and be successful,” said Malzahn.
Malzahn’s focus is surrounding his young QB with playmakers. As far as injuries, one of Auburn’s fastest players, wide receiver Anthony Schwartz, will be a game time decision after breaking a bone in his left hand early in fall camp.
#16 Auburn and #11 Oregon kickoff Saturday at 6:30 p.m. at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.