2011 BCS National Championship Game

The 2011 Tostitos BCS National Championship Game was the final college football game to determine the national champion of the 2010 NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) season. The finale of the 2010-2011 Bowl Championship Series was played at the University of Phoenix Stadium, the host facility of the Fiesta Bowl in Glendale, Arizona on January 10, 2011 (8:30 p.m. ET).

2011 Tostitos BCS National Championship Game
BCS Bowl Game
BCS Championship 2011 Logo.gif
1234 Total
Oregon 01108 19
Auburn 01633 22
DateJanuary 10, 2011
StadiumUniversity of Phoenix Stadium
LocationGlendale, Arizona
MVPOffense: Michael Dyer (RB, Auburn)
Defense: Nick Fairley (DT, Auburn)
FavoriteAuburn by 2[1]
National anthemAir Force Cadet Chorale
RefereeBill LeMonnier (Big Ten)
Halftime showAuburn University Marching Band
Oregon Marching Band
PayoutUS$21.2 million
United States TV coverage
AnnouncersBrent Musburger (play-by-play)
Kirk Herbstreit (analyst)
Erin Andrews and Tom Rinaldi (sideline) [2]
Nielsen ratings17.8 (27.3 million viewers)[3]
BCS National Championship Game
 < 2010  2012

The Auburn Tigers from the Southeastern Conference faced the Oregon Ducks of the Pacific-10 Conference for the national championship. A 19-yard field goal by Wes Byrum, as time expired, won the game for the Tigers, with the final score 22-19.

The game was the first BCS National Championship Game not televised on network television, instead being aired on ESPN[4] and simulcast on ESPN3, and recorded a 16.1 rating, the highest overnight rating on record for a cable television program, topping the previous high of 14.4, set by Patriots/Saints on ESPN in 2009.[5] This marked the second time that the national championship under the BCS system was played in Arizona.[6] It was also the first time that the BCS National Championship was streamed to a video game console, specifically the Xbox 360.


Finishing No. 1 and No. 2 in the final BCS rankings, respectively, the Auburn Tigers from the Southeastern Conference faced the Oregon Ducks of the Pacific-10 Conference for the national championship. Both teams finished the regular season undefeated. The Coaches Poll, which partially factored into the BCS rankings, had Oregon No. 1 and Auburn No. 2, though Auburn's higher rankings in the Harris Interactive Poll and computer polls gave them the edge for No. 1 in the BCS. The Associated Press Poll (AP), which did not factor into the BCS rankings, had Auburn No. 1 and Oregon No. 2.

Oregon DucksEdit

The Ducks led the Pacific-10 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 was led by tailback LaMichael James, who tops the conference with 1,682 yards on 281 carries, 21 touchdowns and averaging 152.9 yards per game. His longest carry was for 76 yards. Jeff Maehl was Oregon's top receiver at 78.58 ypg for 12 touchdowns. Casey Matthews had averaged 6.08 tackles per game for the Ducks, followed by Spencer Paysinger (5.7), Talmadge Jackson III (5.6) and John Boyett (5.6).

Oregon was wearing the Nike new Pro Combat uniforms, their 13th uniform combination worn this season.

Auburn TigersEdit

The Tigers completed the season on top of the Southeastern Conference in scoring offense (42.7 points per game), rushing offense (287.2 yards per game) and total offense (497.7 yards per game). Auburn also led the conference in pass efficiency (174 of 261 passes, 6 interceptions, 66.7%, 29 touchdowns), third-down conversions (77 of 145, 53.1%) and first downs (316 or 24.3 per game). Quarterback and Heisman Trophy winner Cam Newton led the conference in rushing, pass efficiency, total offense, and scoring. On the receiving end, Darvin Adams caught 13 of 48 passes for 909 yards (69.92 ypg) and 7 touchdowns. Josh Bynes, Zac Etheridge and Neiko Thorpe made 199 tackles for the Tigers during the season.

Game summaryEdit

Before the game a moment of silence was held for the victims of the shooting in Tucson, Arizona, two days before the game in which US Representative Gabrielle Giffords was shot in the head and 6 others, including Federal Judge John Roll, were killed.[7]

At halftime Auburn led 16-11; one of Auburn's scores was a safety where the Auburn defense tackled Oregon's LaMichael James in the Oregon end zone.[8]

In the 3rd quarter Auburn kicker Wes Byrum kicked a 28-yard field goal to give Auburn a 19-11 lead.[8] The teams traded possession several times until Oregon recovered a fumble on the Auburn 40-yard line with 5:05 left. Oregon then drove down the field and scored a touchdown with 2:33 minutes remaining in the game. They added a two-point conversion to tie the score at 19-19.[9]

On the game's final possession, Auburn drove 73 yards[10] to the Oregon 1-yard line and won the game with a field goal as time expired. The drive included a run by Michael Dyer in which he appeared to be tackled after 6-7 yards, but fell on top of defender Eddie Pleasant with neither his knees nor the ball touching the ground. The Auburn sideline urged Dyer to continue after getting back up, and the Oregon defense finally tackled him after a 37-yard gain. The play was reviewed and the ruling on the field was upheld. Dyer then rushed for a touchdown, but a subsequent review showed that Dyer's knee went down before crossing the goal line. The touchdown was reversed and the ball placed at the Oregon 1-yard line. From there, Auburn ran the clock down to 2 seconds, and Wes Byrum kicked a game-winning 19-yard field goal as time expired, giving Auburn the national championship.[11]

Scoring summaryEdit

Scoring summary
Quarter Time Drive Team Scoring information Score
Plays Yards TOP Auburn Oregon
2 14:13 10 62 3:01 Oregon 26-yard field goal by Rob Beard 0 3
2 12:00 8 82 2:13 Auburn Kodi Burns 35-yard touchdown reception from Cam Newton, Wes Byrum kick good 7 3
2 10:58 4 93 1:02 Oregon LaMichael James 8-yard touchdown reception from Darron Thomas, 2-point run good 7 11
2 3:26 1 -1 0:18 Auburn LaMichael James tackled in end zone for a safety by Mike Blanc 9 11
2 1:47 6 66 1:39 Auburn Emory Blake 30-yard touchdown reception from Cam Newton, Wes Byrum kick good 16 11
3 11:30 9 60 3:30 Auburn 28-yard field goal by Wes Byrum 19 11
4 2:33 8 40 2:21 Oregon LaMichael James 2-yard touchdown reception from Darron Thomas, 2-point pass good 19 19
4 0:00 7 73 2:33 Auburn 19-yard field goal by Wes Byrum 22 19
"TOP" = time of possession. For other American football terms, see Glossary of American football. 22 19


Statistics ORE AUB
First downs 23 24
Total yards 449 519
Rushes–yards 32–75 50–274
Passing yards 374 265
Passing: Comp–Att–Int 28–41–2 20–35–1
Time of possession 27:03 32:57
Team Category Player Statistics
Auburn Passing Cam Newton 20/34, 265 yards, 2 TD, 1 INT
Rushing Michael Dyer 22 carries, 143 yards
Receiving Emory Blake 4 receptions, 54 yards, 1 TD
Oregon Passing Darron Thomas 27/40, 363 yards, 2 TD, 2 INT
Rushing LaMichael James 13 carries, 49 yards
Receiving Jeff Maehl 9 receptions, 133 yards


By winning the game, Auburn was crowned as the BCS National Champion. In addition, Auburn was ranked as the number one team by the Associated Press.[12]


  • For the second time in BCS history, three No. 1 teams (Oklahoma, Auburn, and Oregon) were ranked in the first three standings of the year. In 1998, the first season of the BCS, UCLA debuted at No. 1, followed by Ohio State and Tennessee.
  • Three teams from non-Automatic Qualify conference schools (TCU, Boise State, Utah) were ranked in the top-five at the same time after three weeks of BCS rankings. TCU ended the season as the No. 2 team and won the 2011 Rose Bowl game. TCU was picked by a postseason poll as having won a share of the national championship, due to their 13-0 perfect record and win over #4 ranked Wisconsin in the Rose Bowl.[citation needed]


  • This was the first meeting between the two schools in football. Auburn had played one school from the state of Oregon (Oregon State at Birmingham in 1973) and Oregon had not previously played a team from the state of Alabama. Auburn had a 5–3 record against Pac-10 teams while Oregon was 4–4 against the SEC.[13][14]
  • As the Pac-10 and SEC never had a common bowl game tie-in during the entirety of the BCS era, the only ways for two teams from those conferences to meet in the postseason would be either for a team from each conference to qualify for the BCS National Championship Game, with this particular game being the only time that that happened during those 16 years, or for a team from either or both conferences to receive an at-large bid to a BCS bowl, something that never occurred (in 2002, the Sugar Bowl wanted USC to play Georgia, but the Orange Bowl, which had higher priority that year in terms of picks due to having a higher payout, beat them out and in 2013 the Sugar Bowl was considering picking Oregon to play Alabama, but ultimately passed them over in favor of Oklahoma). The most recent bowl game which featured a Pac-10 team vs an SEC team was the 1989 Freedom Bowl when the Washington Huskies defeated the Florida Gators 34-7. The Pac-10 and SEC both expanded in subsequent years (with the Pac-10 being renamed the Pac-12) and teams from those two conferences met again in the 2016 Peach Bowl with the Alabama Crimson Tide facing the Washington Huskies in a semifinal game of the College Football Playoff which replaced the Bowl Championship Series after the 2013 season.
  • Two Auburn teams were undefeated in 1993 and 2004, but did not play for the national championship.
  • Seven BCS Championship game records were broken or tied, including the longest pass play when Darron Thomas passed to Jeff Maehl for 81 yards, the most team passing yards (374, Oregon), and most 2-point conversions (2).[citation needed] The combined passing yardage of the two teams (639 yards) were also the most in the games. Auburn's 85 total plays were a new record, exceeding the record set at the January 4, 2006 game between Texas and USC with 82 plays.[citation needed]
  • The game was played two days after the 2011 Tucson shooting, an attempted assassination attempt on Rep. Gabrielle Giffords of Arizona, that took the lives of several others, including a federal judge and a 9-year-old girl. A moment of silence was held in honor of those lost before the game. Tucson is in Pima County in Arizona, and the adjacent county is Maricopa County, where Glendale is located.
  • Cam Newton's performance was somewhat limited due a back injury, evident at the game's conclusion when he was lying in pain waiting on the trophy presentation.[15]


  1. ^ The Odds, Los Angeles Times, January 10, 2011
  2. ^ "Herbstreit, Musburger to call title game". nbcsports.com. 12 November 2010. Archived from the original on 21 July 2011. Retrieved 14 April 2018.
  3. ^ "BCS: Auburn/Oregon Down, Still Sets Cable Record - Sports Media Watch". sportsmediawatch.net. 11 January 2011. Retrieved 14 April 2018.
  4. ^ Dufresne, Chris (June 13, 2009), "Rose Bowl game moving to ESPN in 2011", Los Angeles Times
  5. ^ "BCS draws record cable rating", ESPN, January 13, 2011
  6. ^ Hedding, Judy (2010), 2011 BCS Championship Game Will Be In Arizona
  7. ^ The Associated Press (10 January 2011). "BCS game holds moment of silence before start". The Washington Post.[dead link]
  8. ^ a b "Auburn vs. Oregon - Box Score - January 10, 2011 - ESPN". ESPN.com. Retrieved 14 April 2018.
  9. ^ "LaMichael James #21 RB". ESPN.
  10. ^ "Auburn Tigers vs. Oregon Ducks - Drivechart - January 10, 2011 - ESPN". ESPN.com. Retrieved 14 April 2018.
  11. ^ "Auburn vs. Oregon - Game Recap - January 10, 2011 - ESPN". ESPN.com. Retrieved 14 April 2018.
  12. ^ "Auburn wins first AP title since 1957". ESPN.
  13. ^ http://cfbdatawarehouse.com/data/div_ia/pac10/oregon/vs_conf.php?start=1894&end=2011[permanent dead link]
  14. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-10-23. Retrieved 2011-10-15.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  15. ^ "Cam Newton X-Rayed Following BCS Championship, May Have 'Significant Back Injury'". SBNation.com. Retrieved 14 April 2018.