GLENDALE, Ariz. - For a brief moment, Michael Dyer stopped running.
Hold on. No whistle. No ref raising his hand.
So he started running again — past the tackler who thought he had him down, deep into Oregon territory. A once-in-a-lifetime run, the kind that wins championships.
Dyer's stop-and-go maneuver set up a short field goal on the last play that sent No. 1 Auburn over the No. 2 Ducks 22-19 in the BCS title game Monday night.
"All I knew was the whistle wasn't blowing and my coach was saying 'Go!'" Dyer said.
With his 37-yard run, sure to be preserved in college football's highlight reel, the freshman running back did what most fans thought was impossible — he upstaged his teammate, Heisman-winning quarterback Cam Newton.
BCS title game: Auburn 22, Oregon 19
Three plays later, Dyer ran 16 yards to push the ball to the 1 and set up Wes Byrum's 19-yard field goal with no time left. It was his sixth career game-winning field goal — one that capped a perfect, 14-0 season, brought the title back to Auburn for the first time since 1957 and left the Southeastern Conference on top for the fifth straight year.
"Fifty-three years, baby!" coach Gene Chizik said to the cheering crowd. "This is for you. War Eagle!"
Auburn won The Associated Press national title as well, earning 56 of the 59 first-place votes. TCU was second and Oregon came in third.
One of the most memorable championship games in recent memory began with a moment of silence to remember something much more somber. The six victims of the weekend assassination attempt on Rep. Gabrielle Giffords in Tucson were honored by having their names read, and a choir sang "God Bless America" while the crowd stood at attention.
A few hours later, it was standing for an entirely different reason.
Dyer was starring in a classic sequence that closed out a wild finish — five crazy minutes of football that made up for the first 55, which were more of a bruising battle than the offensive masterpiece everyone had predicted.
Oregon's offense, shut down by Nick Fairley & Co. most of the night, moved 45 yards over the next 2:17 and Darron Thomas threw a shovel pass to LaMichael James for a touchdown. Thomas hit Jeff Maehl for the tying 2-point conversion with 2:33 left.
And one last possession that will be remembered for one incredible play.
In a statement released after the game, Big Ten referee Bill LeMonnier said he was confident of the call: "The ruling on the field was there was nothing other than the foot that touched the ground," he explained.
Eddie Pleasant, the Oregon defensive back who almost made the tackle, seemed shocked.
"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."
Newton threw for 265 yards and two touchdowns and ran for 64 yards, most in short, punishing bites. He wrenched his back and had to go to the trainer after the game. All in a night's work: "I'm OK. It was worth it," he said.
It was a good performance, but not spectacular — par for the course in a game that was projected as a possible 60-55 thriller by South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier and a 74-point touchdown-fest by the oddsmakers who set the over-under.
CFT: Johnny Manziel nearly transferred out of Texas A&M before the 2012 season after being suspended, according to reports, but he stayed after his successful appeal.
About 325 former Penn State players, among them Kerry Collins and Paul Posluszny, have signed a statement supporting the lawsuit filed by the family of former coach Joe Paterno.
BCS title game
See top images from No. 1 Auburn's thrilling win over No. 2 Oregon.
Video: Football from NBC Sports
The Hype: How early is too early for sports scholarships?
There's a disturbing trend afoot in college football -- the offering of scholarships to middle school students. Despite never playing a down of high school football, Lindell Stone, an eighth-grader who already has an offer from UCLA, is the latest hot commodity. Michelle Beadle and Carolyn Manno discuss the absurdity of this trend and consider the possibility of scholarships for embryos
BCS title game
Pregame color, key plays and other moments from 'Bama's blowout win.
Check out the action from the postseason.
Check out which players were best of the best at each position.
Check out some of the college football cheerleaders from across the country.