GLENDALE, Ariz. – Freshman Mike Dyer had to wait to get his chance against Oregon on Monday in the BCS National Championship Game.
Mike Dyer finds running room/Todd Van Emst photo
But when his chance came, he made the most of it. Dyer rushed for 143 yards on 22 carries and in Auburn’s 22-19 victory. Last may, Dyer graduated from Little Rock Christian Academy. And Monday night he was the offensive MVP in the BCS National Championship Game.
But it was one run in the fourth quarter that will be part of Auburn lore.
Oregon had tied the game at 19-19 and the Tigers were racing the clock. Dyer’s 37-yard run to set up Wes Byrum’s game-winning field goal was the stuff of legend. He found some running room but was pulled down by Eddie Pleasant. But Dyer landed on top of Pleasant, rolled off and, after hesitating and looking, ran 37 yards to the Oregon 23.
“Really, it was going through my mind to get the first down, hold on to the ball and try to get a first down,” Dyer said.
Onterio McCalebb got the carries in the first quarter Monday night. Dyer did not play until the second quarter. Head coach Gene Chizik said that might have helped him in the fourth quarter when the game was on the line.
“We’ve got a way we substitute and a way we rotate everybody on our football team,” Chizik said. “There have been games when Michael has played a ton. There have been games when Onterio played a little bit more.
“One of the reasons I think Michael was stronger as the game wore on is because, No. 1, that’s kind of his forte. That’s what he does. But he was fresher probably from the beginning of not playing quite as much those first few series.”