For Michael Dyer, it was stuff that dreams are made from. In the last play of the game, the running back ran like he never did, deep into the Ducks territory, to set up a short field goal which meant No. 1 Auburn tipped No. 2 Ducks 22-19 in the Tostitos BCS National Championship Game on Monday night.
It also meant they left the SEC on top for the fifth straight year along with winning the title for the first time since 1957.
Dyer's 37-yard run did the unthinkable - it overshadowed his team-mate, Heisman-winning quarterback, Cam Newton, who himself had a great game. Dyer had clocked 143 yards and was chosen Offensive Player of the Game.
The run, sure to be cherished for a long time from now, started when the game was down to the last possession. Dyer, wearing jersey No. 5 in honor of his brother who died two decades ago, had taken the handoff from Newton and ran off right tackle for a 6 -7-yard gain. However, he was not sure whether his knees had hit the ground. Neither was anyone else in the arena. Everything had come to a standstill. But the referee, Bill LeMonnier was sure it hadn't (hit the ground), and there was no whistle or raised hand. Dyer, urged by his coach, started running, running like he never did. He made it to the Oregon 23. As expected, there was an official review but the replays showed the ref was spot on with the call.
Dyer's run set up Wes Byrum's 19-yard field goal - his sixth career game-winning field goal for a perfect season of 14-0. It gave them the title.
Coach Gene Chizik was excited to the point of delirium. Fifty-three years, baby! This is for you War Eagle! he yelled to the elated crowd.
Dyer spoke of his historical moment - The run. Really, it was going through my mind to get the first down, hold onto the ball. And the time being tackled, my knee wasn't down. I didn't hear a whistle, not yet, so I was kind of, like, looking, like, what's going on?
The Oregon defensive back Eddie Pleasant who had made 'the tackle that never was', was in evident pain and disbelief. It hurts, you know, he said. It's not like he broke free and did some spectacular things. He was tackled. Everybody on the side of the defense stopped. He stopped and the coach told him to keep running and he ran. It's not like it was a blown assignment. It's not like he busted a 50-yard run down the middle. It was just a crazy play.
Big Ten referee Bill LeMonnier, in a statement released after the game, said he was confident of his crucial call. The ruling on the field was there was nothing other than the foot that touched the ground.
Dyer's run will steal the headlines but due credit has to go to Tigers' quarterback Cam Newton, whose game-changing performance with of 265 yards passing, despite a back injury, was instrumental in Auburn winning the title. He said, Anything is possible. I guarantee five or six months ago, that no one would bet their last dollar that Auburn would win the national championship. And now we're standing here.
A couple of hours after the game, when euphoria was still high amongst the Tigers, Auburn won the Associated Press national title as well, with 56 of the 59 votes. TCU was second, and Oregon came in third.
The party will go long into the night!