Sugar Bowl: Auburn's Secret Weapon for Oklahoma

The 17-ranked Tigers will take on the seventh-ranked Oklahoma Sooners Monday, Jan. 2, at 7:30 the Allstate Sugar Bowl in New Orleans. Since October 1, Oklahoma has been arguably the nation's best offense.

While Baker Mayfield and the Sooners offense rank ninth in the FBS, the defense is down at 87th in total defense with 5,277 total yards allowed (440 per game). Otherwise, it won't be a good look for a team that made the Final Four before losing three starters past year.

No clue: Since it's a Big 12 vs. Here are a few things to watch for during tonight's battle in the Bayou. But a 13-7 loss to Georgia and a 30-12 loss in the Iron Bowl brought their record to 8-4 on the season. Sure, they're not that under the radar - with a good performance in the game, Johnson could break the 1,000-yard mark - but if Auburn is going to win, both Pettway and Johnson are going to need to run effectively to open things up for Sean White to take advantage of Oklahoma's bad pass defense.

He never played a down for the Sooners, but he did blaze a trail along with the three other black players who joined the team that season. Auburn could follow the same blueprint if OU loses the battle in the trenches.

Baker Mayfield and Dede Westbrook have been a dynamic duo for the Oklahoma Sooners this season. DeMarco Murray set the mark with 2,171 yards in 2008.

And hours later, Auburn defensive players found that opinion more than interesting.

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"A lot of the chemistry comes from when there are no cameras around and there's none of that", said Mayfield. "We've had a great year and having one last big game together would mean a lot".

While it's a luxury to have White back and healthy, Auburn's most important playmaker is running back Kamryn Pettway. Mixon has 1,183 rushing yards, 449 receiving yards, 494 kickoff-return yards and 25 punt-return yards this season. Current South Carolina PK Elliott Fry has a 155-PAT streak going. But whether Auburn can stop either one depends on whether the Tigers' touted defensive line can handle OU's offensive line.

The Tigers' secondary has only given up one completion over 60 yards this season, while the defensive front is led by two future pros, Montravius Adams and Carl Lawson. White, lacking the profound playmaking ability of Mayfield, relies even more so on his backs to carry the offense as he looks to find receivers Kyle Davis, Tony Stevens and Darius Slayton for a timely big play downfield.

But the sophomore QB could be baited into some mistakes if Mike Stoops dials up creative pressure of his own and keeps the backs from finding an early comfort zone.

DP: I think it's a little of both. And that's what we did, you know, two and a half years ago, and I feel like this young 18 year old deserved that opportunity and has made the most of it, really, overall. "And hopefully, that will happen here, save our best for the last". While the run game could help benefit the pass game, make no mistake, Auburn will run the ball no matter if the Sooners try to stack the box.

Herbstreit did mention a wild-card factor for the Tigers offense. Take that away from the Sooners' offense, and it's possible that he will be baited into the kinds of mistakes that killed this team in its two losses this season. The fact that this team is in the New Year's Six at all is baffling.

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