Tue Jan 11 12:05am EST
BCS National Championship: Auburn 22, Oregon 19. The final three minutes in Glendale were a bit of a blur, as expected, so in case there's any doubt: Yes, it's over. Auburn is your 2010 national champion at 14-0, with one of the most harrowing victories in BCS Championship history, courtesy of freshman running back Michael Dyer's abrupt transformation into a muscle-bound ballerina down the stretch.
For most of the second half, it didn't look like it was going to get that far: From the second quarter into the fourth, Oregon's chart-topping offense went six consecutive possessions without generating a point, its longest drought of the season. As thoroughly as the Tigers seemed to dominate the nation's most prolific attack, though, in the end, the difference between effectively clinching a championship and rolling the dice in overtime came down to this question: Was Dyer's knee or wrist down on the 37-yard run that put Auburn in position for the game-winning field goal with two minutes to play? It was so close, even Dyer didn't seem to know before teammates egged him to keep running:
When the replay booth upheld Dyer's run – coming barely 30 seconds after Oregon's struggling offense tied the game at 19 with an improbable 55-yard touchdown drive and even more improbable two-point conversion – it might as well have carted out the crystal trophy. With the ball already in position for the go-ahead field goal, Dyer popped a 16-yard run to the goal line two plays later, setting up senior kicker Wes Byrum for a 19-yard chip shot from the Oregon half-yard line. Byrum's boot sailed through the uprights as time expired, the confetti began to fall from the rafters and Auburn officially claimed its first national crown in 53 years.
Here is what Dyer told Yahoo! Sports after the game:
[Related: Odd moment during BCS championship]
It was a hair's breadth away, on an all-time combination of first-rate athleticism and dumb luck that will pass into Auburn and SEC myth for generations. After 14 games and 58 minutes – not to mention two other undefeated, uncrowned seasons in 1993 and 2004 – that's how close it comes: A knee, a wrist, a few blades of grass and a very patient whistle. But the crystal football is the same, and the celebration, and the title: Best college football team in America.
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Matt Hinton is on Twitter: Follow him @DrSaturday.
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