Auburn quarterback Cam Newton celebrates after a first-half touchdown during
the Tigers' 22-19 victory over Oregon in the BCS college football
national championship game Monday night in Glendale, Arizona. ( AP photo)
Oregon's late score was set up by a terrific play by linebacker Casey Matthews, who pursued Newton from across the field and popped the ball loose with a diving tackle, with Oregon recovering. Perhaps the turning point in the game was a decision by Oregon Coach Chip Kelly to go for the touchdown on fourth down on the Tigers' 1 in the last minute of the third quarter, with Auburn up 19-11. The Tigers' line, led by defensive MVP Nick Fairley, stuffed the run, and Auburn kept its 8-point lead. The call was surprising in that it appeared that points would be hard to come by on the Auburn defense. Defense wins championships. It applied here. That stand served the Tigers well, as the margin of victory ended up being three points.