Auburn Claims BCS Title After ‘Unbelievable’ Run From Dyer – Opelika Auburn News
Mike Dyer felt nearly every part of his body hit the ground but the important ones, rolled over Oregon’s Eddie Pleasant and heard thousands of voices.
All telling him to keep on running.
“I kind of figured my knee wasn’t down. I didn’t hear no whistle,” Dyer said. “Even the crowd was saying, ‘Go! Go!’”
Dyer got back to his feet and ran 37 yards down to the Oregon 23, turning in one of those plays that will be talked about for years to come in Auburn.
It was that play — and a 16-yard run that followed — that set up Wes Byrum’s 19-yard, game-winning field goal at the buzzer to deliver Auburn a 22-19 win over Oregon in front of a record 78,603 fans at the BCS National Championship game at University of Phoenix Stadium on Monday night.
The Tigers’ first national championship in 53 years.
“We said that we wanted to go from good to great,” head coach Gene Chizik said. “And I can sit here tonight and I can tell you that the Auburn Tigers are the best football team in the United States.”
No. 1 Auburn (14-0) took over at its 26-yard line with 2:33 to go, after a 2-yard shovel pass from Darron Thomas to LaMichael James and a 2-point conversion from James to Jeff Maehl — one in which Maehl made a jumping catch in the back of the end zone — knotted the game at 19.
One of the rarest of all occurrences this season, a lost fumble by Cam Newton, set up the tying drive for No. 2 Oregon (12-1).
Newton finished with 265 yards, two touchdowns and an interception on 20-of-34 passing, also running 22 times for 64 yards and only his second lost fumble of the year.
“I said ‘We’re going to go down and score,’” offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn said. “They’ve done that all year. They found a way.
“Michael Dyer made one of those unbelievable runs that people in Auburn will remember forever, and helped us win the game.”
Newton started off the drive with a 15-yard pass to Emory Blake, then Dyer took an inside draw and appeared to go down after a 5-yard gain.
But none of the vital areas touched the ground, allowing him to scamper for 32 more. And a replay review upheld the call.
“He’s got great balance,” Malzahn said. “He’s one of those guys that spins around.”
It was a bizarre signature play for a bizarre championship game, one that included Oregon getting stuffed on a fourth-and-goal from the 1 but converting a fourth-and-8 with a fake punt; Auburn giving up 449 yards but only 19 points; and both teams going scoreless in the first quarter of a game that was supposed to be an epic shootout.
The two teams combined for 968 yards on the night but a pedestrian 41 points.
Defensive coordinator Ted Roof said all the predictions of a high-scoring game in the lead-up to Monday might have swayed his unit’s play.
“I hope so,” Roof said. “I think it may have.”
Oregon went up first on a field goal, then Auburn answered with a 35-yard pass from Newton to Kodi Burns.
The Ducks went back up on a pass to James — followed by an option to kicker Rob Beard for the 2-point conversion — then a Mike Blanc safety and a 30-yard pass from Newton to Blake put Auburn back up.
A 28-yard Byrum field goal gave Auburn an apparently stable 19-11 lead, especially with the way the Tigers were running the ball.
Until Newton’s fumble.
Another fourth-down conversion and eight plays later, the Ducks had a tie game.
Then it was time for Dyer, the offensive MVP after finishing with 143 yards on 22 carries, to take over.
“There’s a lot of things that happened this year that I never really expected,” Dyer said. “I’m just glad to be here with my team. Glad to be a part of this.”
Dyer picked up another 16 yards on another draw down to the 1 — after a review reversed a touchdown call — two plays later, and Byrum did the rest.
It was the senior’s 60th field goal at Auburn, his sixth game-winner in his college career and his third this season after hitting ones against Clemson and Kentucky.
He celebrated a bit more after this one than his subdued fist pump against the Wildcats. Then again, he didn’t get a hug and proclamation of “You’re the best kicker to ever play here” from Al Del Greco after he beat Kentucky.
“It’s an unbelievable experience, especially after the career he had at Auburn,” Byrum said. “It’s an unbelievable thing.”
There wasn’t much about Auburn’s season that wasn’t unbelievable.
“We’re the champions,” safety Zac Etheridge said. “That’s all I need to say.”
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