GLENDALE — No. 2 Oregon won the coin toss and elected to receive, with Josh Huff returning the opening kickoff to the 16-yard line as the Ducks set up their first offensive possession. Light bulbs flashed all around the stadium, as the 2011 BSC National Championship game got under way.
The two teams exchanged punts on their opening possessions, before a Darron Thomas pass bounced off Kenjon Barner’s hands on third-and-long, which landed in the grasp of senior cornerback Demond Washington. Auburn took over on Oregon’s 47-yard line, but on the opening play sophomore cornerback Cliff Harris intercepted Newton’s pass to give the Ducks the ball around midfield.
Oregon picked up a few good first downs from there, but with little time to throw, Thomas saw another pass land in a defenders hands, this time via safety Zac Etheridge in the Tiger red zone. Oregon’s Zac Clark had a big third down sack on Newton, and Auburn was forced to punt again.
The Ducks continued to march the ball on the ensuing drive, and a 12-men on the field penalty put the ball at the Auburn 11. Thomas connected with D.J. Davis a few plays later to put the ball on the Tiger three-yard line as the first quarter expired.