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2011 BCS National Championship: Cal Edges Auburn For Best Defense Against Oregon

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Not much of interest to Bay Area fans tonight in the BCS Championship Game, as the Oregon Ducks fell to the Auburn Tigers 22-19 thanks to clutch running by Michael Dyer and a field goal by Wes Byrum on the last play. But Auburn won this game defensively, largely in part to the efforts of future NFL first-rounder Nick Fairley. Fairley dominated the Oregon offensive line, forced Darron Thomas into bad decisions and pressured him on multiple occasions. Auburn held down the Oregon offense for most of the game.

However, thanks to a big throw by Darron Thomas to Jeff Maehl for 80+ yards that set up one touchdown and a Casey Matthews forced fumble of Heisman-winner Cam Newton that set up the game-tying score in the final minutes, Oregon did manage to put more points on the board. So California Golden Bears fans can rejoice: Their defensive effort was still the best against Oregon all season!

What do you think? Stats after the jump.

First downs allowed: Auburn 24, Cal 20
Total yards allowed: Auburn 455, Cal 317
Rushing yards allowed: Auburn 81, Cal 162
Passing yards allowed: Auburn 374, Cal 155
Points allowed: Auburn 19, Cal 15 (and it was really 8, since 7 came off of a Cliff Harris punt return score)

It's pretty close, but in terms of raw stats we just get the edge. In terms of stage, it's all Auburn's.

And let's not forget Cal provided Auburn the blueprint to beat Oregon defensively, as mentioned by Brent Musburger on ESPN in the National Championship broadcast. Pioneers, oh pioneers.