Auburn's first BCS Championship and the second college football national
championship in school history came down to a simple twist of fate.
Michael Dyer's spinning, twisting recovery from an apparent tackle produced a
game-changing 37-yard run late in the fourth quarter, and then he made an almost
identical play to give the Tigers the ball inside the 1-yard line and set up Wes
Bynum's 19-yard field goal as time expired, giving Auburn a thrilling 22-19
victory over Oregon in the BCS Championship Game on Monday at University of
Dyer, named the games outstanding offensive player, ran for about eight yards
when he appeared to be pulled down by Oregon safety Eddie Pleasant as Auburn
tried to get in scoring position after Oregon had rallied to tie the game with
2:33 left to play.
Almost everyone on the field stopped after Dyer rolled over Pleasant,
including Dyer, but the Auburn bench yelled for him to keep running because the
whistle never blew. Dyer took off, racing all the way to the Oregon 23 before he
was tackled by Oregon's John Boyett.
After a lengthly replay review, the call was upheld after replays seemed to
show Dyer's knee never touched the ground.
"I just tried to keep my feet moving and make a play," said Dyer, who had 144
yards on 22 carries.
Three plays later, on a third down at the Oregon 17, Dyer broke into the
secondary where he was again met by Pleasant, again rolled over him and this
time rolled into the end zone with 10 seconds left in the game. Officials ruled
it a touchdown, but this time the replay review showed Dyer's knee touched the
ground inside the 1-yard line.
After quarterback Cam Newton took a knee and ran the clock down to two
seconds, Auburn took a timeout and Bynum kicked the game winner that turned the
Tigers' half of the stadium into pure bedlam.
Auburn claimed its first national championship since 1957.
"Fifty-three years, this is for you," Clearwater native and Auburn head coach
Cam Newton said as he turned to face the delirious Auburn crowd. "War
The shootout many expected between two of the nation's highest-scoring teams
never materialized. After a scoreless first quarter, Auburn took a 16-11 lead
into halftime. It was 19-11 to start the fourth quarter after Bynum kicked a
28-yard field goal.
Auburn's defensive line contained Oregon's vaunted running game and Doak
Walker Award winner LaMichael James. Oregon averaged 303 rushing yards a game
during the regular season, and James led the country in rushing yards.
Against Auburn, the Ducks managed just 75 yards on the ground and James was
limited to 49 yards on 13 carries.
"I couldn't be more proud of our defense," Chizik said. "Those guys played
their butts off."
Outland Trophy winner Nick Fairley, the defensive player of the game, had
three tackles for loss, a sack and a key fourth down stop at the goal line to
prevent an Oregon score.
"As a defense this year, we bent a lot, but we never broke," Fairley
Oregon basically abandoned the run in the final 6 1/2 minutes as it tried to
rally from the 19-11 deficit. After five straight passes on one possession, the
Ducks ran James and he was stuffed for a four-yard loss.
"The matchup of their defensive line against our offensive was really the
game-changing thing about this football game," Oregon coach Chip Kelly said.
"Nick Fairley proved he's a great player."
Oregon's defense gve the Ducks one more chance when linebacker Casey Matthews
forced Auburn quarterback Cam Newton to fumble and cornerback Cliff Harris
recovered, giving Oregon the ball at its own 45-yard line with 4:54 remaining in
Quarterback Darron Thomas hit D.J Davis for a 29-yard gain on fourth down to
the Auburn 11 with 4:09 left.
Thomas, who was 27-of-40 passing for 363 yards, two touchdowns and two
interceptions, hit James with the short shovel pass three plays later to make it
19-17, then hit Jeff Maehl for the two-point coversion that tied the score at
19-19 with 2:33 remaining.
"I'm really proud of my players," Kelly said. "I love them. We'll be
Thomas also threw an eight-yard touchdown pass to James in the second quarter
that, along with a two-point conversion, gave Oregon an 11-7 lead.
Heisman Trophy winner Newton was 20-of-34 passing for 265 yards with two
touchdowns and zan interception. He also ran 22 times for 64 yards and was
sacked twice as Oregon's defense mostly limited his effectiveness on the
The Tigers tackled James in the end zone for a safety in the second quarter
to cut Oregon's lead to 11-9, and Newton found Emory Blake for a 30-yard
touchdown pass that gave Auburn a 16-11 halftime lead.
Oregon's Rob Beard opened the scoring with a 26-yard field goal early in the
It was the fifth straight BCS Championship for a team from the Southeastern
Conference and the SEC is now 7-0 in BCS title games overall.
stadium-record 78,603 watched the game and bowl officials said another 20,000
watched it on a huge television screen by the north parking lot.