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January 10, 2011

Auburn wins first BCS title

More: Box Score The Tigers went into the 2010 season with one goal in mind. On Monday evening, they completed it.

Auburn pulled off a 22-19 win over Oregon in Glendale, Ariz., and earned the right to call itself this year's BCS National Champion.

"I couldn't be more proud of everybody involved," head coach Gene Chizik said. "And I love everybody."

The win marks the first ever BCS title for the Tigers and the first national championship since 1957.

Although Auburn held the lead for the majority of the game, the scoreboard displayed a tied score with less than three minutes on the clock. The outcome came down to senior kicker Wes Byrum's ability to make critical field goals under pressure for the third time this season.

At 19 apiece with about two minutes remaining, Auburn started a 73-yard drive with true freshman running back Michael Dyer making two crucial plays.

First he rolled over an Oregon tackler and, with most of the players and even Dyer thinking the play was over, took off for 30 yards to the 23. A play later, Dyer went through the middle for a 16-yard gain.

After an official review, Dyer was ruled down at the half-yard line with 10 seconds remaining. Rather than keep the offense on the field, the Tigers initially opted for Byrum going for the game-winning field goal.

Following some deliberation on the sidelines, quarterback Cameron Newton and his group attempted a run up the middle. The Oregon defense pushed him back a yard, so it was left up to Byrum to seal a win.

He came through for Auburn as his 19-yard field goal smoothly sailed through the uprights.

Considering Auburn has come from behind to win eight games this season, Chizik said at no point was he worried that his team wouldn't come out on top despite being tied with two minutes remaining.

"Nothing went through my mind," Chizik said. "We've been there so many times. We just said we had to line up and do what we do."

The Oregon defense managed to hold Newton to 65 rushing yards, but it allowed Dyer to put up 143 yards on the night. Newton passed for 265 yards with two touchdowns.

Senior receiver Kodi Burns scored the first touchdown of the game off a 35-yard pass from Newton. Sophomore Emory Blake scored off a 30-yard pass to make it a 16-11 game going into halftime.

The Tigers also scored off a safety as defensive tackle Mike Blanc brought down Oregon running back LaMichael James early in the second quarter.

Auburn finished the night with 520 yards of total offense and allowed Oregon 455 yards.

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