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2010 Oregon Ducks football team

2010 Oregon Ducks football
Pac-10 Champions
Civil War Champions
BCS Championship Game vs. Auburn, L 19–22
Conference Pacific-10 Conference
Coaches #3
AP #3
2010 record 12–1 (9–0 Pac-10)
Head coach Chip Kelly (2nd year)
Offensive coordinator Mark Helfrich (2nd year)
Offensive scheme No-Huddle Spread Option
Defensive coordinator Nick Aliotti (14th year)
Base defense Hybrid 3–4
Captain Game captains
Home stadium Autzen Stadium
(Capacity: 54,000)
2010 Pacific-10 football standings
Conf     Overall
Team   W   L         W   L  
#3 Oregon   9 0         12 1  
#4 Stanford   8 1         12 1  
USC*   5 4         8 5  
Washington   5 4         7 6  
Arizona   4 5         7 6  
Arizona State   4 5         6 6  
Oregon State   4 5         5 7  
California   3 6         5 7  
UCLA   2 7         4 8  
Washington State   1 8         2 10  
† – BCS representative as conference champion
‡ – BCS at-large representative
  • USC ineligible for championship and post-season due to NCAA sanctions
    As of January 11, 2011; Rankings from AP Poll[1]

The 2010 Oregon Ducks football team represented the University of Oregon in the 2010 college football season. The team was led by Chip Kelly in his second season as a head coach. The Ducks played their home games at Autzen Stadium for the 44th straight year.

On October 16, 2010, Oregon was ranked number 1 in the AP Poll for the first time in program history. On October 31, 2010, after beating USC and moving to 8–0, Oregon achieved the number 1 ranking in the BCS rankings. The Ducks repeated as Pac-10 Conference champions and finished the regular season undefeated with a school-record 12 wins, the first undefeated and untied regular season in the school's 117-year football history. They earned a berth in the BCS National Championship Game, which they narrowly lost to Auburn on a field goal as time expired. It was the closest that a team from the Pacific Northwest has come to winning a share of the national championship since Washington was crowned national champion by most outlets in 1991.

In recognition of the team's performance during the season, Kelly received the Eddie Robinson Award and the Associated Press College Football Coach of the Year Award. Running back LaMichael James, who finished third in balloting in for the Heisman Trophy, received the Doak Walker Award.


  • Before the season 1
    • Recruiting 1.1
  • Schedule 2
  • Game notes 3
    • New Mexico 3.1
    • Tennessee 3.2
    • Portland State 3.3
    • Arizona State 3.4
    • Stanford 3.5
    • Washington State 3.6
    • UCLA 3.7
    • USC 3.8
    • Washington 3.9
    • California 3.10
    • Arizona 3.11
    • Oregon State 3.12
    • Auburn (BCS National Championship Game) 3.13
  • Roster 4
  • Notes 5
  • Awards and honors 6
  • Coaching staff 7
  • Rankings 8
  • Statistics 9
  • References 10
  • External links 11

Before the season

The team was plagued with numerous off-field incidents during the off-season, which saw nine separate players either be dismissed from the team or be involved in criminal activities starting in January 2010.[2] On March 12, 2010, Coach Chip Kelly suspended starting quarterback Jeremiah Masoli for the 2010 season for his role in an Oregon fraternity house theft that resulted in a guilty plea to misdemeanor second-degree burglary, and left the option for Masoli to redshirt in 2010 and return to the Ducks in 2011.[3] On the same day Kelly also suspended LaMichael James and Rob Beard for the season opener after pleading guilty to harassment.[4] The trend unfortunately continued into the summer time, as on June 7, 2010 suspended Oregon QB, Jeremiah Masoli, was arrested for a second time for marijuana possession and driving with a suspended license. Two days later Masoli was dismissed from the football program.[5] with the Ducks naming sophomore Darron Thomas the starting quarterback.

On March 19, 2010, athletic director Mike Bellotti left Oregon to join the cable sports network, ESPN, as a football analyst.


Name Hometown High school / college Height Weight 40 Commit date
Lache Seastrunk
Temple, TX Temple HS 5 ft 11 in (1.80 m) 188 lb (85 kg) 4.4 Jan 27, 2010 
Scout:5/5 stars   Rivals:5/5 stars   247Sports: N/A    ESPN grade: 83
Curtis White
Eugene, OR Henry D. Sheldon HS 6 ft 5 in (1.96 m) 240 lb (110 kg) 4.8 Feb 29, 2008 
Scout:5/5 stars   Rivals:4/5 stars   247Sports: N/A    ESPN grade: 81
Dior Mathis
Detroit, MI Cass Technical HS 5 ft 9 in (1.75 m) 170 lb (77 kg) 4.4 Jan 9, 2010 
Scout:4/5 stars   Rivals:4/5 stars   247Sports: N/A    ESPN grade: 81
Ricky Heimuli
Salt Lake City, UT Brighton HS 6 ft 4 in (1.93 m) 283 lb (128 kg) 4.9 Feb 3, 2010 
Scout:4/5 stars   Rivals:4/5 stars   247Sports: N/A    ESPN grade: 81
Bryan Bennett
Encino, CA Crespi Carmelite HS 6 ft 3 in (1.91 m) 185 lb (84 kg) 4.6 Jun 18, 2009 
Scout:4/5 stars   Rivals:4/5 stars   247Sports: N/A    ESPN grade: 77
Erick Dargan
Pittsburg, CA Pittsburg Senior HS 6 ft 1 in (1.85 m) 195 lb (88 kg) 4.7 Feb 3, 2010 
Scout:4/5 stars   Rivals:4/5 stars   247Sports: N/A    ESPN grade: 77
Nick Rowland
Peoria, AZ Centennial HS 6 ft 5 in (1.96 m) 298 lb (135 kg) 5.2 Oct 7, 2009 
Scout:4/5 stars   Rivals:4/5 stars   247Sports: N/A    ESPN grade: 77
Ryan Clanton
San Francisco, CA City College of San Francisco 6 ft 6 in (1.98 m) 305 lb (138 kg) 5.1 Nov 30, 2009 
Scout:4/5 stars   Rivals:4/5 stars   247Sports: N/A    ESPN grade: –
Dontae Williams
Houston, TX Aldine HS 5 ft 11 in (1.80 m) 204 lb (93 kg) 4.5 Nov 18, 2009 
Scout:3/5 stars   Rivals:4/5 stars   247Sports: N/A    ESPN grade: 80
Keanon Lowe
Portland, OR Jesuit HS 5 ft 10 in (1.78 m) 170 lb (77 kg) 4.4 Jan 24, 2010 
Scout:3/5 stars   Rivals:4/5 stars   247Sports: N/A    ESPN grade: 79
Benjamin Ansong
Chicago, IL Amundsen HS 5 ft 8 in (1.73 m) 150 lb (68 kg) 4.2 Feb 2, 2010 
Scout: N/A   Rivals:4/5 stars   247Sports: N/A    ESPN grade: 74
Josh Huff
Houston, TX Chester W Nimitz HS 5 ft 10 in (1.78 m) 186 lb (84 kg) 4.4 Feb 3, 2010 
Scout:3/5 stars   Rivals:4/5 stars   247Sports: N/A    ESPN grade: 76
James Scales
Greensboro, NC Central Carolina Sports Academy 5 ft 10 in (1.78 m) 180 lb (82 kg) 4.7 Sep 11, 2009 
Scout:3/5 stars   Rivals:3/5 stars   247Sports: N/A    ESPN grade: 78
Issac Dixon
Miami, FL Monsignor Pace HS 6 ft 0 in (1.83 m) 195 lb (88 kg) 4.5 Oct 8, 2009 
Scout:3/5 stars   Rivals:3/5 stars   247Sports: N/A    ESPN grade: 77
Derrick Malone
Colton, CA Colton HS 6 ft 2 in (1.88 m) 195 lb (88 kg) 4.5 Dec 6, 2009 
Scout:3/5 stars   Rivals:3/5 stars   247Sports: N/A    ESPN grade: 77
Troy Hill
Ventura, CA St. Bonaventure HS 5 ft 11 in (1.80 m) 163 lb (74 kg) 4.5 Dec 9, 2009 
Scout:3/5 stars   Rivals:3/5 stars   247Sports: N/A    ESPN grade: 76
Terrance Mitchell
Sacramento, CA Burbank HS 5 ft 11 in (1.80 m) 168 lb (76 kg) 4.6 May 27, 2009 
Scout:3/5 stars   Rivals:3/5 stars   247Sports: N/A    ESPN grade: 76
Tony Washington
Rancho Cucamonga, CA Los Osos HS 6 ft 4 in (1.93 m) 233 lb (106 kg) 4.7 Nov 1, 2009 
Scout:3/5 stars   Rivals:3/5 stars   247Sports: N/A    ESPN grade: 76
Hroniss Grasu
Encino, CA Crespi Carmelite HS 6 ft 3 in (1.91 m) 255 lb (116 kg) 4.9 Jul 19, 2009 
Scout:3/5 stars   Rivals:3/5 stars   247Sports: N/A    ESPN grade: 75
Isaac Remington
Phoenix, AZ Phoenix CC 6 ft 6 in (1.98 m) 265 lb (120 kg) NA Dec 13, 2009 
Scout:3/5 stars   Rivals:3/5 stars   247Sports: N/A    ESPN grade: –
Brandon Williams
Joliet, IL Joliet JC 6 ft 4 in (1.93 m) 240 lb (110 kg) 4.5 Nov 15, 2009 
Scout:3/5 stars   Rivals:3/5 stars   247Sports: N/A    ESPN grade: –
Alejandro Maldonado
Colton, CA Colton HS 5 ft 11 in (1.80 m) 185 lb (84 kg) NA Jan 31, 2010 
Scout:3/5 stars   Rivals:2/5 stars   247Sports: N/A    ESPN grade: 73
Eric Dungy
Tampa, FL Plant Senior HS 6 ft 1 in (1.85 m) 183 lb (83 kg) NA Jan 31, 2010 
Scout:2/5 stars   Rivals:2/5 stars   247Sports: N/A    ESPN grade: 40
Drew Howell
Tehachapi, CA Tehachapi HS 6 ft 2 in (1.88 m) 210 lb (95 kg) NA Nov 23, 2009 
Scout:2/5 stars   Rivals:2/5 stars   247Sports: N/A    ESPN grade: 40
Overall recruiting rankings: Scout: 13   Rivals: 13  ESPN: 22
  • ‡ Refers to 40 yard dash
  • Note: In many cases, Scout, Rivals, 247Sports, and ESPN may conflict in their listings of height, weight and 40 time.
  • In these cases, the average was taken. ESPN grades are on a 100-point scale.


  • "Oregon Football Commitment List 2010". Retrieved April 15, 2011. 
  • "Oregon College Football Recruiting Commits 2010". Retrieved April 15, 2011. 
  • "Oregon Ducks Commits 2010". Retrieved April 15, 2011. 
  • " Team Recruiting Rankings". Retrieved April 15, 2011. 
  • "2010 Team Ranking". Retrieved April 15, 2011. 


Date Time Opponent# Rank# Site TV Result Attendance
September 4 12:30 PM New Mexico* #11 Autzen StadiumEugene, OR CSNW W 72–0   59,104[6]
September 11 4:00 PM at Tennessee* #7 Neyland StadiumKnoxville, TN ESPN2 W 48–13   102,035[7]
September 18 3:15 PM Portland State* #5 Autzen Stadium • Eugene, OR CSNW W 69–0   58,086[8]
September 25 7:30 PM at Arizona State #5 Sun Devil StadiumTempe, AZ FSN W 42–31   60,326[9]
October 2 5:00 PM #9 Stanford #4 Autzen Stadium • Eugene, OR ABC W 52–31   59,818[10]
October 9 2:00 PM at Washington State #3 Martin StadiumPullman, WA W 43–23   24,768[11]
October 21 6:00 PM UCLA #1 Autzen Stadium • Eugene, OR ESPN W 60–13   59,372[12]
October 30 5:00 PM at #24 USC #1 Los Angeles Memorial ColiseumLos Angeles, CA ABC W 53–32   88,726[13]
November 6 12:30 PM Washingtondagger #1 Autzen Stadium • Eugene, OR (Rivalry) ABC W 53–16   60,017[14]
November 13 4:30 PM at California #1 California Memorial StadiumBerkeley, CA Versus W 15–13   65,963[15]
November 26 4:00 PM #21 Arizona #1 Autzen Stadium • Eugene, OR ESPN W 48–29   59,990[16]
December 4 12:30 PM at Oregon State #1 Reser StadiumCorvallis, OR (Civil War) ABC W 37–20   46,469[17]
January 10, 2011 5:30 PM vs. #1 Auburn* #2 University of Phoenix StadiumGlendale, AZ (BCS National Championship Game) ESPN L 19-22   78,603[18]
*Non-conference game. daggerHomecoming. #Rankings from AP Poll. All times are in Pacific Time.

University of Oregon official schedule

Game notes

New Mexico

1 2 3 4 Total
Lobos 0 0 0 0 0
#11 Ducks 28 31 6 7 72

In the first-ever meeting between Oregon and New Mexico on the football field, the Ducks were victorious 72–0. With first-string tailback LaMichael James serving a one-game suspension by Chip Kelly, Kenjon Barner received the majority of carries offensively for the Ducks. Barner scored 5 touchdowns with only limited carries in the second quarter. Meanwhile, second-string punt returner Cliff Harris tied an Oregon Duck school record by returning the first two punts of his career for touchdowns. After the game, the Pac-10 announced Barner and Harris as players of the week.


1 2 3 4 Total
#7 Ducks 3 10 14 21 48
Volunteers 6 7 0 0 13

Oregon faced Tennessee for the first time, with the teams playing at Neyland Stadium. The game was delayed for over an hour to lightning in the Knoxville area. The Volunteers jumped to a 6–0 lead until the first quarter delay. After the delay, the Ducks fell behind even more, 13–3. Despite falling behind early, Oregon took control in the 2nd half to win by 5 touchdowns.

Portland State

1 2 3 4 Total
Vikings 0 0 0 0 0
#5 Ducks 21 24 24 0 69

On September 18, Oregon defeated Portland State 69–0. LaMichael James rushed for 227 yards on 14 carries and scored two touchdowns. Quarterback Darron Thomas completed 4 passing touchdowns with one interception and one fumble. No Ducks received Pac-10 player of the week honors for their performance, however.[19][20]

Arizona State

1 2 3 4 Total
#5 Ducks 14 14 14 0 42
Sun Devils 7 17 7 0 31

On September 25, 2010, Oregon defeated Arizona State in Tempe, Arizona by a score of 42–31. Though a night game, kickoff temperatures for the game soared at 100 °F (38 °C). Arizona State took an early lead in the game, but Oregon responded with a season-high 4 team interceptions. The Sun Devils held primary running back LaMichael James to only 114 rushing yards, but the total was enough to move James past the 2,000 yard mark for his career. Oregon quarterback Darron Thomas had 290 passing yards in the game, including a 61-yard pass to tight end David Paulson, which were career longs for both players. The win moved the Ducks from 5th to 4th in the September 27 AP Poll.[21][22]


1 2 3 4 Total
#9 Cardinal 21 10 0 0 31
#4 Ducks 3 21 14 14 52

The Ducks and Cardinal entered the game ranked 4th and 9th in the AP Poll, respectively. Stanford surged to an early 21–3 lead after the Cardinal recovered a fumbled kickoff return by Cliff Harris. Shortly thereafter, the Ducks would respond with a touchdown and recover a surprise on-side kickoff by specialist Rob Beard. With those scores, the Ducks gained momentum, outscoring Stanford 49–10 to close the game with a 52–31 victory. Turnovers were critical in the game as Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck was intercepted twice by defensive back Cliff Harris—opportunities upon which LaMichael James would then translate into touchdowns. James finished the day with over 250 rushing, moving him into 8th place all-time in Oregon's career rushing standings. Oregon quarterback Darron Thomas contributed 4 total offensive touchdowns and 355 yards of offense. The win was the 13th straight victory for Oregon in Autzen Stadium and helped move the Ducks into third place in the AP Poll.[23][24]

Washington State

1 2 3 4 Total
#3 Ducks 15 14 7 7 43
Cougars 14 3 6 0 23

The Ducks went into this game as highly touted favorites, however they had to convert on 4th down twice in the opening drive to score. Backup running back Kenjon Barner suffered a big hit during a kickoff return and had to be carted off. Quarterback Darron Thomas suffered an injury to his right shoulder and was replaced by Nate Costa. Casey Matthews suffered an ankle injury but was able to continue playing. The Ducks moved up to No. 2 in the rankings after Alabama lost to South Carolina.


1 2 3 4 Total
Bruins 0 3 3 7 13
#2 Ducks 15 17 14 14 60

The Ducks started the game on defense and stalled a UCLA drive that was going well and racked up 15 first quarter points and held UCLA to 6 points going into the 4th quarter. Darron Thomas played his best game to date completing 22 of 31 passes for 308 yards 3 TD and no interceptions. LaMichael James rushed for 123 yards and 2 touchdowns. UCLA was only able to manage 290 total yards versus 582 yards by the Ducks.


#2 Oregon at #24 USC
1 2 3 4 Total
Oregon 8 21 14 10 53
USC 10 7 15 0 32

Jeff Maehl stepped up and caught 8 passes for 145 yards and 3 TD's. LaMichael James rushed for 239 yards including a 42 yard scamper in the 2nd quarter. Thomas threw for 288 yards and four touchdowns. The performance moved the Ducks to a top BCS ranking for the first time in school history.


1 2 3 4 Total
Huskies 0 6 10 0 16
#1 Ducks 0 18 21 14 53

The Huskies entered the game without star quarterback Jake Locker on the road. Kenjon Barner also returned to the lineup for the Ducks after recovering from a concussion suffered against Washington State. The Ducks started slowly, being held scoreless in the first quarter, but wound up routing Washington 53–16.


#1 Oregon at California
1 2 3 4 Total
Oregon 0 8 7 0 15
California 7 0 6 0 13
Cliff Harris scores on a 64-yard punt return, which earned him Pac-10 Special Teams Player of the Week honors

The Ducks had not won in Berkeley since 2001 and Cal had been extremely dominant at home. The Bears began their first possession with good field position at the Oregon 48-yard line and behind Shane Vereen, were able to put together a drive that he finished off with a 2-yard touchdown run. The Oregon offense was held scoreless for the second week in a row, and the Ducks did not score until more than halfway through the second quarter on a 64-yard punt return for a touchdown by Cliff Harris, with a successful 2-point conversion. The Ducks failed to add to their lead when a 37-yard field goal attempt missed.

The third quarter opened with a fumble by Vereen that Oregon recovered.

  • 2010 Oregon Football Multimedia Guide

External links

  1. ^ 2010 NCAA Football Rankings - AP Top 25 Week 14
  2. ^ Oregon football: The rap sheet, The Oregonian, John Hunt, March 12, 2010.
  3. ^ Oregon suspends quarterback Jeremiah Masoli for the 2010 season, Los Angeles Times, March 12, 2010
  4. ^ James, Beard, Masoli punished 2010
  5. ^ Oregon Ducks dismiss quarterback Masoli, The Associated Press, June 9, 2010
  6. ^ [1] "New Mexico Lobos vs. Oregon Ducks Box Score"].  
  7. ^ "Oregon Ducks vs. Tennessee Volunteers Box Score".  
  8. ^ "Oregon Ducks vs. Portland State Vikings Box Score".  
  9. ^ "Oregon Ducks vs. Arizona State Sun Devils Box Score".  
  10. ^ "Stanford Cardinal vs. Oregon Ducks Box Score".  
  11. ^ "Oregon Ducks vs. Washington State Cougars Box Score".  
  12. ^ "UCLA Bruins vs. Oregon Ducks Box Score".  
  13. ^ "Oregon Ducks vs. USC Trojans Box Score".  
  14. ^ "Washington Huskies vs. Oregon Ducks Box Score".  
  15. ^ "Oregon Ducks vs. California Golden Bears Box Score".  
  16. ^ "Arizona Wildcats vs. Oregon Ducks Box Score".  
  17. ^ "Oregon Ducks vs. Oregon State Beavers Box Score".  
  18. ^ "Auburn Tigers vs. Oregon Ducks Box Score".  
  19. ^ Oregon Football, Retrieved September 21, 2010
  20. ^ The Oregonian, Retrieved September 21, 2010
  21. ^ Oregon, Retrieved September 28, 2010
  22. ^ Oregon Release, Retrieved September 28, 2010
  23. ^ Oregon Release, Retrieved October 3, 2010
  24. ^ Oregon Release, Retrieved October 3, 2010
  25. ^ "Oregon ducks an upset at Cal". San Francisco Chronicle. November 13, 2010. Retrieved November 14, 2010. 
  26. ^ Mosely, Rob (November 14, 2010). "Dodging them blues". The Register Guard. Retrieved April 12, 2011. 
  27. ^ "Oregon at California – Play by Play". Yahoo!. November 13, 2010. Retrieved November 14, 2010. 
  28. ^ "Coach Jeff Tedford denies that his team was faking injuries on defense against Oregon". San Jose Mercury News. November 18, 2010. Retrieved December 1, 2010. 
  29. ^ "– Cal suspends coach vs. Washington". ESPN Internet Ventures. November 27, 2010. Retrieved December 1, 2010. 
  30. ^ a b c d e "Ducks wrap up BCS berth by bouncing Beavers". ESPN. December 4, 2010. Retrieved April 12, 2011. 
  31. ^ "Oregon State unveils special football uniform". Democrat Herald. September 1, 2010. Retrieved April 12, 2011. 
  32. ^ a b Summers, Steve (December 4, 2010). "We Ain’t Done Yet". eDuck. Retrieved April 12, 2011. 
  33. ^ "2010 Oregon vs Oregon State Play by Play". ESPN. Retrieved April 12, 2011. 
  34. ^ "Jeremiah Masoli suspended for 2010 season; LaMichael James, Rob Beard will sit one game". March 12, 2010. Retrieved March 12, 2010. 



Ranking Movement
Legend: ██ Increase in ranking. ██ Decrease in ranking. ██ Not ranked the previous week.
Poll Pre Wk 2 Wk 3 Wk 4 Wk 5 Wk 6 Wk 7 Wk 8 Wk 9 Wk 10 Wk 11 Wk 12 Wk 13 Wk 14 Wk 15 Final
AP 11 7 5 5 4 3 2 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 2 3
Coaches 11 8 6 6 4 3 2 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 3
Harris Not released 2 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 2
BCS Not released 2 2 1 1 1 1 2 2


  • Chip Kelly – Head Coach
  • Steve Greatwood – Offensive Line
  • Nick Aliotti – Defensive Coordinator
  • Mark Helfrich – Offensive Coordinator
  • Gary Campbell – Running Backs
  • Jerry Azzinaro – Defensive Line
  • John Neal – Secondary
  • Tom Osborne – Tight Ends & Special Teams
  • Don Pellum – Linebackers & Recruiting Coordinator
  • Scott Frost – Wide Receivers
  • Jim Radcliffe – Head Strength and Conditioning Coach
  • Alex Miller – Graduate Assistant Coach
  • Peter Sirmon – Graduate Assistant Coach
  • Jeff Hawkins – Senior Associate Athletics Director, Football Operations
  • Kyle Wiest – Asst. Director of Football Operations
  • Jim Fisher – Asst. Director of Football Operations/Recruiting

Coaching staff

Doak Walker Award

Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year and Associated Press College Football Coach of the Year

Awards and honors

The Ducks lead the conference in scoring offense (592 points, 49.3 average), rushing offense (42 touchdowns, 303.8 yards per game), rushing defense (11 touchdowns, 117.6 yards per game), and total offense (71 touchdowns, 537.5 yards per game). The team is led by tailback LaMichael James, who tops the conference with 1682 yards on 281 carries, 21 touchdowns and averaging 152.9 yards per game. His longest carry was for 76 yards.


On November 10, 2010, back-up quarterback Nate Costa was ruled out for the season with a knee injury.

On March 12, 2010, it was announced that 2008–09 starting quarterback Jeremiah Masoli would be suspended for the entire season following his guilty plea for burglary.[34] He was dismissed from the football program on June 9 for an arrest while on his current suspension.


At Auburn, the words "War Eagle" would almost surely suffice.

"Winning a championship for the Auburn family, I can't really describe it right now," Chizik said. "To try would probably cheapen it."

Tide fans, of course, will remind you that it still has five more AP titles than the Tigers. But this celebration is going on at Toomer's Corner in Auburn, where the traditional toilet-papering of the drugstore and the rest of the street was going on in full force in the bitter cold as Monday night turned into Tuesday morning.

So, really, this one is for all the Bos and Beasleys and Terrys and Tracys in the Auburn family who came close but couldn't close the deal. And it fashions a nice symmetry with that team up the road—the Crimson Tide—which took home the Heisman and the same crystal championship trophy one short year ago.

And now, Auburn, the school that has loads of tradition—the Tiger Walk, the War Eagle yell and a case full of Heisman and other big-time individual trophies—but not nearly as many titles to go with it. Bad luck in the polls doomed their one-loss season in 1983, probation kept them from capitalizing on a perfect record in 1993 and the vagaries of the BCS left them on the outside in 2004, maybe the most painful of all the snubs.

LSU. Florida twice. Alabama.

The SEC improved to 7-0 in BCS title games. Four different teams from the conference have won it in this latest five-year run.

Standing with a crystal football, the biggest jewel in a bowl season that, at times, felt never-ending, beginning on Dec. 18 with the BYU-UTEP game and wrapping up in Arizona with a most improbable finish.

"Anything is possible," Newton said. "I guarantee, five or six months ago, that no one would bet their last dollar that Auburn would win the national championship. And now we're standing here."

If he goes pro—as some people expect—this will mark the end of a tumultuous stay at Auburn, shadowed by an NCAA investigation into his failed recruitment by Mississippi State. The governing body cleared him to play before the SEC championship but said his father, Cecil, solicited money from the Bulldogs.

Newton was a game-changer, as always, helping Auburn to its ninth comeback win of this improbable season. He has now won the national title three straight years—in 2008 as a backup to Tim Tebow at Florida, last year in junior college at Blinn and now with the Tigers.

Fairley, Auburn's 298-pound defensive tackle, had the Ducks moving backward much of the night. He lived up to his reputation as a game-changer for better, with three tackles for loss, including a sack—and for worse, when he got a 15-yard penalty for shoving James' face into the turf after the whistle.

"When it comes down to a field goal at the last second, you can always point to play here, a play there, but it really doesn't do much for you," Oregon coach Chip Kelly said. "We're a forward-thinking operation, and we'll learn from this thing and move forward."

The Ducks finished 12-1, three points shy of their first national title, but not making apologies for the effort they gave in the desert.

Oregon didn't come close to its nation-leading 49-point average and the fast-paced offense that turned most opponents into mush in the second half couldn't wear down Auburn.

Wearing white jerseys with gray numbers, green pants and DayGlo shoes and socks, the Ducks got only 49 yards rushing from James. An offense that had been held under 37 points only once all year managed just the two touchdowns. The last one came on a simple shovel pass from Thomas, who finished with 363 yards—81 of which came on a long pass to Maehl that set up the first touchdown.

It was a good performance, but not spectacular—par for the course in a game that was projected as a possible 60-55 thriller by South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier and a 74-point touchdown-fest by the oddsmakers who set the over-under.

Newton received X-rays on his back following the game, ESPN's Tom Rinaldi reported.

Newton threw for 265 yards and two touchdowns and ran for 64 yards, most in short, punishing bites. He wrenched his back and had to go to the trainer after the game. All in a night's work: "I'm OK. It was worth it," he said.

Dyer finished with 143 yards and was chosen Offensive Player of the Game—no small feat considering he had Newton playing well on the same offense.

"It hurts, you know," he said. "It's not like he broke free and did some spectacular things. He was tackled. Everybody on the side of the defense stopped. He stopped and the coach told him to keep running and he ran. It's not like it was a blown assignment. It's not like he busted a 50-yard run down the middle. It was just a crazy play."

Eddie Pleasant, the Oregon defensive back who almost made the tackle, was as shocked as anyone.

In a statement released after the game, Big Ten referee Bill LeMonnier said he was confident of the call: "The ruling on the field was there was nothing other than the foot that touched the ground," he explained.

"Really, it was going through my mind to get the first down, hold onto the ball," Dyer said. "And the time being tackled, my knee wasn't down ... I didn't hear a whistle, not yet, so I was kind of, like, looking, like, what's going on?"

Dyer, who chose jersey No. 5 because that's how old his brother was when their father died in a car accident nearly two decades ago, took the handoff from Newton and ran off right tackle for what looked like a 6- or 7-yard gain. Nothing routine about this one, though. He wasn't sure his knee hit the ground, so, urged by his coaches on the sideline, he popped up and kept going. Almost everyone on the field had stopped playing, but the referee never blew the play dead. Dyer made it to the Oregon 23. An official's review ensued and the replay showed that, indeed, his knee had never touched the turf.

And that possession will be remembered for one incredible play.

Oregon's offense, shut down by Nick Fairley & Co. for most of the night, moved 45 yards over the next 2:17 and Darron Thomas threw a shovel pass to LaMichael James for a touchdown. Thomas hit Jeff Maehl for the tying 2-point conversion with 2:33 left and the game was down to the last possession.

The craziness began when Casey Matthews, son of the 1980s NFL linebacker Clay, knocked the ball from Newton's hands while he was trying to ice a 19-11 lead.

Dyer was the star of a classic sequence that closed out a wild finish—five crazy minutes of football that made up for the first 55, which were more of a bruising battle than the offensive masterpiece everyone had predicted.

A few hours after the game, Auburn won the Associated Press national title as well, earning 56 of the 59 first-place votes. TCU was second, and Oregon came in third.

"Fifty-three years, baby!" coach Gene Chizik said to the cheering crowd. "This is for you. War Eagle!"

Three plays later, Dyer ran 16 yards to push the ball to the 1 and set up Wes Byrum's 19-yard field goal with no time left. It was his sixth career game-winning field goal—the one that capped off a perfect, 14-0 season, brought the title back to Auburn for the first time since 1957 and left the Southeastern Conference on top for the fifth straight year.

With his 37-yard run, sure to be preserved in college football's highlight reel, the freshman running back did what most fans thought was impossible—he upstaged his teammate, Heisman-winning quarterback Cam Newton.

"All I knew was the whistle wasn't blowing and my coach was saying 'Go!' " Dyer said.

Dyer's stop-and-go maneuver set up a short field goal on the last play that sent No. 1 Auburn over the No. 2 Ducks 22-19 in the Tostitos BCS National Championship Game Monday night.

So he started running again—past the tackler who thought he had him down, deep into Oregon territory. A once-in-a-lifetime run, the kind that wins championships.

No whistle. No ref raising his hand.

Hold on.

For a brief moment, Michael Dyer stopped running.

1 2 3 4 Total
#2 Ducks 0 11 0 8 19
#1 Tigers 0 16 3 3 22

Auburn (BCS National Championship Game)

In the third quarter, a touchdown pass from Ducks quarterback Darron Thomas to wide receiver DJ Davis was set up by a fake punt where upback Matthew Clay took the snap and ran up the center for a 64-yard gain.[30] The Beavers were able to whittle the Ducks' lead down with two field goals but the Ducks scored two consecutive touchdowns in the fourth quarter. The Beavers scored a touchdown with 1:18 left in the game and attempted an onside kick, but the Ducks recovered the football and took two knees to secure their spot in the National Championship Game.[30][33]

The game proved to be intense from the very first play when Oregon linebacker Casey Matthews hit the Beavers' quarterback Ryan Katz hard, causing him to sit out for the drive.[32] Oregon State scored first with a touchdown with 3:23 left in the first quarter, but would not score another touchdown until roughly the last minute in the game when victory was already out of reach.[30][32] By halftime, the Ducks were up 16–7.

The 114th Civil War meeting between the two teams came with high stakes for both sides. With a Rose Bowl berth already secured, the Oregon Ducks were playing for a spot in the BCS National Championship Game and the Oregon State Beavers were playing to earn a bowl berth by not finishing below a .500 win-loss record.[30] The TCU Horned Frogs also had a vested interest in the game as they needed the Ducks to lose the game in order to be considered for the National Championship Game.[30] The Beavers wore their throwback uniforms that paid tribute to their 1967 "Giant Killers" team.[31]

#1 Oregon at Oregon State
1 2 3 4 Total
Oregon 6 10 7 14 37
Oregon State 7 0 3 10 20

Oregon State

Oregon once again started slow in the first half and took off in the second half. The first half featured two Darron Thomas touchdowns as the Wildcats played well. Both sides were heavily penalized as Adam Hall of Arizona was flagged for two personal fouls. The second half's opening Duck drive began with an option pitch to Josh Huff that went for the longest single play of all year. Arizona only managed 10 second half points but they did score a touchdown in the fourth quarter as Oregon racked up 35 second half points. LaMichael James rushed for 126 yards and 2 touchdowns surpassing LeGarrette Blount's single season scoring record. With the win over Arizona the Ducks have their best start in history and matched 2001's team school record 11 wins.

Fans storming the field following the 48–29 victory.
1 2 3 4 Total
#21 Wildcats 14 5 3 7 29
#1 Ducks 7 7 20 14 48


The Oregon offense was held to a season-low 317 yards, with LaMichael James, the leading rusher in the country, held to 91 yards, while Darron Thomas threw for 155 and a score. In his second career start, Cal quarterback Brock Mansion threw for only 69 yards as the Bears were unable to mount an effective offense with the exception of Shane Vereen, who rushed for 112 yards and a touchdown. After the game Cal head coach Jeff Tedford denied that his players had faked injuries in order to slow down the Oregon offense, a tactic Oregon's opponents were accused of all season.[28] On November 27, defensive line coach Tosh Lupoi was suspended for Cal's final season game for instructing a player to fake an injury during the matchup against Oregon. Lupoi was determined to have been the only person involved in such behavior.[29]

[27] at Cal's 11-yard line to preserve the win and stave off an upset.knees After getting the ball back with nine and a half minutes left in the game, Oregon never relinquished the ball, sustaining a time-consuming drive that ended with Thomas taking three straight [26] After the game, Tevecchio suggested that the noise caused by visiting Oregon fans contributed to the disruption of the kicking team's rhythm.[25]

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