Dyer dazzles, and defense wins championships
The Auburn Tigers are the champions of college football -- and the fifth consecutive Southeastern Conference team to win the BCS national title game. We recap the action, including the two must-see plays that highlighted the dramatic final five minutes of play.
Slow to Start: In what was expected to be an offensive battle, this game began with a convincing display of defense. Three interceptions were thrown on consecutive drives, but neither offense could take advantage of them.
Stuffing the Run: While both teams moved the ball well through the air, the major difference came on the ground, where Auburn stifled Oregon's rushing game. The Ducks recorded their lowest rushing total in their last 25 games, and not even the nation's top rusher, LaMichael James, could move the ball against Auburn's defense. Oregon's play-calling was aggressive and risky, but in the end the Ducks didn't have an answer for defensive player of the game, Nick Fairley.
The two must-see plays of the Game:
1.In a desperation play with about five minutes left in the game, Oregon's leading tackler Casey Mathews, whose brother, father, uncle and grandfather have all played in the NFL, chased Cam Newton from behind and forced a fumble. Cliff Harris, who recovered both turnovers for Oregon in this game, came up with the ball and the Ducks tied the game at 19 on their ensuing possession.
2. With the ball back and just two minutes remaining, Auburn's true freshman Michael Dyer (pictured) dazzled on what would be the final drive of the game. Dyer took a handoff from Cam Newton and rushed for about six yards, at which point he was tackled -- or so it appeared. But because Dyer had maintained his balance and put only his hand down (by rule his hand is not deemed to be a part of his body), the Auburn sideline yelled at him to keep running. Dyer did, and the result was a 37-yard gain into Oregon territory. That play set up Wes Byrum's game-winning field goal, and earned Dyer the offensive player of the game distinction.
After the game: Auburn received the $30,000 Waterford crystal BCS Championship Trophy, which the Tigers started casually passing around as if it were a football. Okay, so technically it is shaped like one... but that could have been one expensive fumble.