GLENDALE, Ariz. – Ah, the memories for all those who were there to watch and watched from afar Auburn football’s greatest moment Monday night.
Phillip Marshall, Senior Editor, AuburnUndercover.com
Perfection didn’t come to this Auburn party to end all parties, but it didn’t have to. There were too many turnovers. There were missed opportunities by both teams. It didn't matter. Auburn’s football team won the BCS national championship, beating Oregon 22-19 with a dramatic drive to Wes Byrum’s 19-yard field goal as time expired.
Etched now in Auburn history:
Senior Kodi Burns, the epitome of a team player, catching his first touchdown pass of the season in the biggest game Auburn ever played.
Freshman Mike Dyer showing just why he was rated the No. 1 running back prospect in the country when he signed with Auburn last February.
A third-quarter goal-line stand that turned Oregon away at the 1-yard line.
Special teams that were as near perfect as they could have been, rendering star returner Cliff Harris irrelevant.
Dyer’s remarkable run to set up the game-winning field goal.
Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Cam Newton pushing on through pain after taking a ferocious shot in the back from standout Oregon linebacker Clay Matthews.
Nick Fairley, in what was probably his last Auburn game, running over offensive linemen, ballcarriers or whoever else got in his way.
Defensive tackle Zach Clayton making big plays that few noticed and not caring whether they noticed or not.
Senior linebackers Josh Bynes and Craig Stevens playing their proud hearts out and slamming the door on the Oregon running game time after time.
Mike Blanc stoning All-America running back LaMichael James for a safety.
Demond Washington and Zac Etheridge making big, big interceptions.
It was, in every way, the most memorable of nights for the tens of thousands of Auburn fans who made the trip, for those who were stranded by bad weather, for those who watched on televisions wherever they happened to be.
This was to supposed to be a shootout between two new-age offenses. Instead, it became a blood-and-guts battle between two teams that had not lost and didn’t intend to lose.
Oregon coach Chip Kelly told his players as they left the field to keep their heads up, and they deserved to keep their heads up.
They were worthy of being here and fought proudly until Byrum’s field goal ended it and sent thousands as close to heaven as they’ll ever be without going there.
Pat Dye, who came so close in 1983 and 1988, was there to celebrate. Joe Whitt, who was with Dye every step of the way and was with Tommy Tuberville in the unbeaten season of 2004, was there, too.
An Auburn team that refused to lose won by three points or fewer for the fifth time. It came from behind for the ninth time. And when it was over, when Oregon had been beaten, the Tigers were 14-0. They were the champions of all college football.
Newton, wincing as he came late to the interview room, smiled at the crowd of reporters.
“We,” he said, “had the last laugh.”