The 2011 BCS championship game lived up to the hype as it came down to the wire between Oregon and Auburn. Auburn's win gives them their first national title since 1958 and it gives the SEC more bragging rights as Auburn becomes the fifth team in a row from the SEC to win the BCS championship. During that span the SEC has had four different teams win the five titles with only the 2006 and 2008 Florida Gators winning two titles during that span.
The game started off sluggish in the first quarter as both quarterbacks tried to find themselves in the game, but Oregon's Darron Thomas threw two interceptions where Auburn's Cam Newton threw a pick. The first quarter went back and forth with no teams putting up any points. Oregon was able to strike first by moving the ball well into Auburn territory as the first quarter ended and were only able to kick a field goal as they took an early 3-0 lead. On that drive Oregon was able to get the ball to the Auburn nine yard line, because the Oregon spread offense does not have a package where they can put the quarterback under center and run the ball up the gut. The inability to have a running back run the ball up the middle would come back to bite Oregon later in the game.
The second quarter was when the offenses started clicking as both teams combined for 27 of the 41 points during that span. Auburn's first touchdown drive was an impressive eight play 82 yard drive that consisted of Cam Newton beating the Oregon defense with his arm as he completed five of six passes for the touchdown. The scoring play was a 35 yard strike to Kodi Burns.
Oregon did not want to feel left behind so they returned the following kick 70 yards by Josh Huff to the seven yard line. The Ducks went onto score, but the interesting play happened when Oregon lined up for the typical field goal and then faked the extra point by running the option with the holder and the kicker which was successful and caught Auburn off guard.
The fake extra point in the second quarter was not the oddest play of the night, and it probably was the third on the list in bizarre or surprising plays in Tuesday's game. The second oddest play was a safety that Auburn forced upon Oregon. The Ducks were pinned at their one yard line -- after Auburn failed to convert on a fourth-and-goal from the one yard line -- when the Ducks lined up in their traditional shot gun formation and on their first play gained some yards, but there was an offensive penalty which put Oregon even closer to their own goal line. The next play Oregon again was in the shotgun and a running play by LaMIchael James was blown up in the backfield and James was tackled a yard inside their own endzone which resulted in a safety.
On the ensuing kickoff Auburn got that touchdown back by driving down the field with freshman running back Michael Dyer running a few times for a good chunk of yardage which set up a 30 yard touchdown pass to Emory Blake which put Auburn up 16-11 which was a lead they would never relinquish.
Oregon had one last shot to tie the game down 19-11 and they put together a great drive which included a fourth down conversion en route to a touchdown. Their two-point play was an amazing feat as well as Darron Thomas was being pressured while rolling out to his right and threw the ball off his back foot while being hit across his body to the left part of the field to an open Jeff Mahel to tie the game at 19-19.
Auburn took the ball back with 2:33 left and plenty of time to move the ball down the field for a potential game winning field goal. The play on the drive that essentially sealed the win was the play where Auburn running back Michael Dyer looked to be tackled but was actually on top of an Oregon defender. Dyer thought he was down as well when the Auburn bench told him to keep running and when he did he gained another 20 yards to essentially seal the game for Auburn.
Auburn eventually kicked a 19 yard field goal to win their first national championship since 1957. The game lived up to the hype as both teams were evenly matched. Oregon did a good job of containing Cam Newton in the rushing game as he ended up with only 64 yards, but he cleaned up in the passing game with 264 yards and two touchdowns.