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)

GLENDALE, Arizona ( TheStreet) -- Auburn won the college football national championship, 22-19, Monday night on a 19-yard field goal as time expired in a game in which Heisman Trophy-winner Cam Newton wasn't much of a factor.

Wes Byrum kicked the winning field goal for the Tigers (14-0), whose victory gave the Southeastern Conference its fifth consecutive national title. Auburn freshman running back Michael Dyer, who rushed for 143 yards, was the game's MVP.

Dyer had a crucial 37-yard run on the game-winning drive in which it looked like he was stopped but his legs actually rested on an Oregon player. Dyer straightened up and kept running, finishing at the Oregon 20. He followed that up with a 16-yard burst to the 1, setting up the short field goal.

In a game featuring two potent offenses, both teams played outstanding defense. Consider that the Ducks (12-1) of the Pac-10 were held to about 30 points below their regular-season scoring average.

In the end, this game was won in the trenches. Auburn's defensive line asserted itself, and on offense, the Tigers managed to get numerous first downs during the game on the push of their offensive line on third-down-and-short situations. The 6-6, 250-pound Newton also was effective on keepers for first downs.

The game wasn't without its quirky plays. The scores were even unusual: 11-9, 16-11, 19-19, and finally 22-19. Even though the teams didn't put up many points, they did rack up some yards on offense. Auburn had 520 yards in total offense to Oregon's 455. Newton finished 20 of 34 for 265 yards passing and two touchdowns. He ran for 65 yards.

If you had told the Ducks beforehand that those would be Newton's stats, they probably would have been pleased. Oregon quarterback Darron Thomas completed 27 of 40 passes for 363 yards with two TD passes but two interceptions. Oregon's outstanding running back LaMichael James, who came into the game the nation's leading rusher, managed only 49 yards rushing on 13 carries.

Oregon, despite a sleepy second half in which it was dominated by the Auburn defensive line, managed to score a touchdown and tie the game at 19-19 on a spectacular two-point conversion pass by Darron Tomas to Jeff Maehl after James' two-yard touchdown reception with under three mintues to play.

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.

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