It’s probably just my natural reluctance to proclaim Ted Roof some sort of defensive genius, but this Michael Elkon observation strikes me as being spot on:
… Let’s not get carried away with the claim that this game was a defensive struggle because it finished 22-19. The teams combined for 975 yards of offense. Auburn-LSU ‘88 this was not. A related and somewhat contradictory point: this game finished with almost the same score as the Rose Bowl, but in this game, there were 25 possessions and 158 plays, whereas the Rose Bowl featured 16 possession and 116 plays. See how much can be squeezed into a game when the teams are playing at a fast pace? Also, these defenses accomplished a lot more than the Rose Bowl defenses did and vice versa for the offenses.
Due to some untimely turnovers and red zone drives that stalled on fourth down calls, there were a lot of points left on the University of Phoenix Stadium field (and wasn’t that a joke).
If anything surprised me, it was the talent gap. Auburn, which isn’t the most talented team in the SEC, had clear advantages on both lines over Oregon. I didn’t see a single area where I thought Oregon had an edge in talent. It’s a tribute to Chip Kelly and his staff that they were able to keep the game as close as it was. But Auburn had the better players and needed just about every one of them to secure the victory in the end.
So congrats to the Auburn family for the win. I suspect you’re going to learn in one form or fashion over the next year or so exactly what “All In” means, although I hope there’s no fire where there’s smoke. College football doesn’t need another scandal.