In order for Auburn to win, the defense had to find a way to slow down the Oregon rushing attack and keep the offense out of its normal up-tempo pace. The Tigers, led by tackle Nick Fairley, dominated the Ducks in the trenches and limited the Oregon rushing attack to 81 yards. The Ducks entered this contest averaging over 300 yards on the ground and the struggles on the ground prevented the offense from finding its normal up-tempo pace.
Winning the national championship is quite a chapter on a storybook season from Auburn quarterback Cam Newton. Newton took a long route to Auburn, transferring from Florida and spending a year at the junior college level. Despite off-the-field distractions about his father involved in a pay-for-play scheme, Newton never seemed to be affected, winning the Heisman Trophy and lifting his team to the national title. Although the off-the-field issues may hang around over Newton’s career, there’s no denying he was the key piece in the run to the national championship. The junior will likely enter the NFL Draft, closing the books on a short, but very successful career at Auburn.
Offensive Player of the Game: Michael Dyer, RB, Auburn – Although Cam Newton makes the offense go, the Tigers came alive when Dyer entered the game in the second quarter. The true freshman rushed for 143 yards, including a key 37-yard gain on the final drive to put the Tigers into field goal position.
Defensive Player of the Game: Nick Fairley, DT, Auburn – Fairley certainly wasn’t the only defensive lineman making plays from Auburn, but he was the most dominant. Fairley made a key stop in the third quarter, preventing Oregon running back Kenjon Barner from scoring on 4th and 1.
News and Notes
Auburn’s victory was the SEC’s fifth straight national championship and the second consecutive title by a team from the SEC West.
Oregon’s 19 points scored were its second-lowest output of this season. The Ducks lowest output came in a 15-13 win over California.
Oregon quarterback Darron Thomas threw for a season-high 363 yards against Auburn. Although Thomas passed for 363 yards, his two interceptions tied the most in a game by the sophomore quarterback this season.
Auburn outgained Oregon in total yards – 519 to 449.
Auburn quarterback Cam Newton completed a season-high 20 passes in Monday night’s win over Oregon.
Auburn coach Gene Chizik is 8-0 in bowl games as an assistant or head coach.
“Nick Fairley proved he was the best defensive lineman in the country. It was a tough matchup for us.” – Oregon coach Chip Kelly
“They came up, had a good plan for us. They mixed it up a lot. Sometimes defensive end was crashing or sitting on it, but they came out with a good plan. Hats off to their defense.” – Oregon quarterback Darron Thomas
“When it comes down to the field goal at the last second, you can always point to a play here, a play there. But it really doesn't do much for you. We're a forward thinking operation, and we'll learn from this thing and move forward.” – Oregon coach Chip Kelly
“And this is the most unbelievable group of young men I have been around. I feel very blessed. God has blessed my life to be around a great administration, a great Auburn family. These guys represent Auburn on the field, off the field, in the community the right way. We said that we wanted to go from good to great. And I can sit here tonight and I can tell you that Auburn the Auburn Tigers are the best football team in the United States tonight.” – Auburn coach Gene Chizik
“Coach Chizik always challenged us on each level, you know, not only on the defense side of the ball and the offense side of the ball, offensive line, secondary. Throughout this season, everybody just responded and stepped up to the task. This week everyone knew the odds was on Auburn defense to see how they would respond to Oregon's offense. Not taking anything away from Oregon, because we played an excellent team. But our defense did their homework and, you know, they did the job.” – Auburn quarterback Cam Newton
“We really appreciate Cam throughout the things that he went through the whole season and things that were being said about him. He kept his head up and played great games. He kept us winning. He ran hard tonight. He came out there and he just played Auburn football. He is the Auburn man and we learned a lot. Tonight I kind of picked it up for him because I knew he was in pain and hurt and the frustration. But he still played. He didn't quit. He didn't have any reason. He don’t say "my back hurts so I couldn't do this or that." He just said "I'm going to suck it up and keep going," and he kept fighting for us. Our whole town and nation, we really appreciate what Cam Newton does for us.” – Auburn running back Michael Dyer