Auburn Stops Oregon’s Running Game to Win National Championship

And it wasn’t because Cam Newton played the game of his life as many expected.  However, Auburn adjusted to the fact that Oregon’s defense was pressuring and stopping Newton and up stepped freshman running back Michael Dyer, who  did play the game of his life.  Okay, technically the second best game of his life as he rushed for 143 yards, which was less than the 180 yards he put up in a 51-31 win over Ole’ Miss (but clearly less critical). On the other side, while Oregon had no problem throwing the ball, Auburn effectively eliminated the Ducks’ ground game and they did not adjust the plays accordingly.   Two early interceptions thrown by Darron Thomas must have made the coaching staff wary.  On their first trip to the red-zone they tried to run on third down, lost 6 yards and had to settle for a field goal.  They wised up and on their next trip and passed for a touchdown.   After that they found themselves on their own one-yard line thanks to a huge goal line stand from their defense.  On the first play, Thomas threw a risky pitch that got them out of danger, but it was deleted by an illegal motion penalty.  Instead of doing what worked, they attempted a running play next and not surprisingly, LaMichael James was sacked in the end zone for a safety.  Note to offensive coordinators, if you can’t run through Nick Fairley, then pass over his head!  But the worst display of poor play calling came when Oregon had the ball on Auburn’s one-yard line.  Oregon had four tries to move the ball one single yard and could not score a touchdown because they tried to run each time.  Oregon never accepted that their running game was shut down–nor did they accept that the zone-read option was taking too long to unfold and that perhaps they should just drop back and directly pass the ball.  In the final drive, Oregon scored their second touchdown of the night and tied the score with a two-point conversion, both by passing the ball.  But it was too late as Auburn had the ball back with time to score the game winning field goal.  In the end it was the lost opportunities that hurt Oregon, the ones spent running the ball when they should have been passing.

To get some additional quick highlights of the game, read “Dyer dazzles, and defense wins championships.”

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