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Tuesday, January 11, 2011
Instant analysis: Auburn 22, Oregon 19

By Ted Miller

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- It had a thrilling ending, but Oregon falls 22-19 to Auburn in the Tostitos BCS National Championship Game.

How the game was won: It was supposed to be a battle of two high-powered offenses, but the star of the game was Auburn's defense, which throttled the Ducks, holding them to just 81 yards rushing. The Tigers rushed for 255 yards.

Turning point: Oregon scored a clutch TD to tie the game at 19-19 late in the fourth. The turning point was it wasn't late enough. With 2:33 left, the Auburn offense had plenty of time to drive for the winning field goal.

Stat of the game: Auburn was 9-of-17 on third-down conversions. Oregon was 5-of-15.

Player of the game: Oregon receiver Jeff Maehl caught nine passes for 133 yards, including an 81-yard reception that set up the Ducks' first TD. He also made a brilliant leaping catch for a 2-point conversion that tied the game.

Second guessing: It seems like when good teams get extra time -- Boise State, Ohio State and now Auburn -- they figure out a way to stop the high-powered Oregon offense. We don't have an answer to that, but Oregon coach Chip Kelly needs to find one.

What it means: It means the SEC wins its fifth consecutive national title, this time at Oregon's expense. It means the Ducks fall short in a second consecutive BCS bowl game as Pac-10 champions. The Ducks will be the favorite in the conference again in 2011, but it's hard to lose the last game of the season on a big stage two years in a row. You don't get too many opportunities to win national championships.