Double Vision

There is no debate about who are the best two teams in the land. And, there is no debate about who is the best college football player in the land.

Auburn vs South Carolina in Atlanta for the SEC Championship game, and Oregon vs Oregon State in The Civil War clash in Corvallis.

Read what happened, as it happened, as the Ducks and Tigers took their final step in anticipation of facing each other for glory.

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Corvallis

The Civil War kicks off first. Corvallis, Reser Stadium, Home of the Beavers. Surely the 45,674 capacity is exceeded. Oregon State is taking the field, out from an inflatable helmet with “The Beavs” on the front. Looks high-schoolish. The players are wearing old-fashioned looking uni’s – matte-finish black helmets with nothing on them but top stripes; large orange numerals on black tops with bicep striping that’s the same as the helmet’s; white pants with orange and black striping. Nothing old fashioned about the patent-leather-looking orange shoes, though. And, nothing high-schoolish about the look in the players’ eyes.

Here come the Oregon Ducks, wearing yet another uniform combination. This looks like a classy, business gray outfit – helmets, pants. They better make it their business to contain a Beaver Nation looking for their biggest win ever over their hated rival. This isn’t good old clean hate. This is pure hate up here in the great northwest. Oregon kicks off…

First play from scrimmage, Oregon State’s QB Ryan Katz gets pummeled by the Duck MLB on a pass play, resulting in a dying-duck pass and Katz damned near out of his senses lying on his back. A redshirt-freshman comes in for the Beavs to QB. Nothing going, except that State regains possession after the Oregon punt returner has the ball stripped out of his hand. Katz back in at QB, but the Beaves give it right back as a pass is tipped at the line of scrimmage and a Duck lineman gets the INT.

Atlanta

Forty minutes from kickoff. Buildup, buildup, buildup…

Corvallis

Oregon putting together a methodical drive. Then after getting into Beaver territory, Fumble! Oregon State recovers! If there was a roof at Reser, it would have come off.

Atlanta

Twenty minutes from kickoff. Buildup, buildup, buildup…

Corvallis

On a 3rd and 1 inside the Duck 40, State goes play action, and a great touch pass to the TE is mishandled at the 5. Not fazed, the Beavs go for it on 4th and move the chains.

Man, QB Katz sure has happy feet when he stands in the pocket for more than 3 seconds. Sacked. But on 3rd and 17, he whips a scorcher of a pass to the right side for a 1st. Big time throw. Another big throw on 3rd and 2 – a little dumper for a first and goal at the 7. Now its 3rd and goal at the 6. Beautiful little route to the right pilon; the Duck safety hadn’t even turned around. Oregon State 7 Oregon 0.

Atlanta

The Auburn Tigers, wearing their road white uni’s, take the field. Right behind them come the Gamecocks, decked out in an all-garnet suit. Gene Chizik on the sideline answers a question about Newton for the millionth time. Spurrier looks like Spurrier, looking nervous as ever.

Corvallis

4th and 1 for the Ducks at mid-field; they go for it and get it. Then LaMichael James goes for 31 around the left end into the Beaver red zone. Now a 3rd and 4, and Oregon gets the first on a pass to the left. Then a mis-direction pass play to the right. No defender nearby. Touchdown Ducks. Then, extra point attempt blocked! Oregon State 7 Oregon 6.

Atlanta

USC kicks off to Auburn. Just as the drive gets going, Newton lets the deep ball out of the locker; Darvin Adams corrals in the pass for a 62-yard gain. Then on the second play after the bomb, Newton passes to McCaleb for a Tiger TD. Newton is now 19 for 19 on opening drives. Less than 2 minutes gone in this one. Auburn 7 South Carolina 0.

Corvallis

First quarter ends during an Oregon State possession.

Atlanta

Auburn kickoff to the Gamecocks and taken by a 5-foot 4-inch return man. So much for having to be big to play big-time football.

Corvallis

Oregon State has a drive going, now into Duck territory. But on a 3rd and 9, Oregon intercepts a batted pass by Katz and returns it deep into Beaver territory.

Atlanta

South Carolina has driven into Auburn territory. Garcia to Jeffery for another first down – man, they look good.

Corvallis

Huge defensive stop by the Beavers on a 3rd and 17. Rob Beard attempts a 36-yarder. It swivels through the uprights. Oregon 9 Oregon State 7.

Atlanta

The Carolina fullback goes right down the middle through the linebackers and DBs and catches a perfect pass from Garcia for a Gamecock TD. Nice play call. Auburn 7 South Carolina 7.

Corvallis

Nice KO return by the Beavers.

Atlanta

Auburn’s returner is popped but good by the Gamecock defender inside the 30 on the KO. Then, somehow, Newton eludes a sack, gets into traffic, and then does a shovel pass for a first down. The guy just does something different every time he touches the ball.

Corvallis

The Beavs have it 3rd and 6 in Duck territory. Another tipped pass; this time it falls harmlessly incomplete. A kid that looks 12 years old is going to try a 52-yarder… Nope, a fake FG attempt… pass… tipped (again) by a LB and then intercepted by the Ducks. The Beavers are starting to look like the state’s step-daughter.

Atlanta

Auburn, 3rd and 12 at mid-field. Newton back to pass… surveys the field… does a little hop with both feet… runs up to the middle, then cuts right… elusive – looks like Holloway at his best on an old grainy YouTube clip… eludes another tackle before getting a first down. My god, this guy is the best player in the game, period.

Corvallis

Oregon starting to get their mojo going with a nice pitch to the left for a first down. Now, an end-around on the right side for another first down. Then, LaMichael James runs right after breaking a tackle in the backfield – first and goal. Now James goes left and cruises in behind a nice block by the TE for a Duck score. Is it already but the crying? Oregon 16 Oregon State 7.

Atlanta

After a delay due to injury, Auburn resumes their march, now suddenly in the red zone. Newton takes it himself for his 19th rushing TD of the season. He makes everything look soooooo easy. Auburn 14 South Carolina 7.

Corvallis

Oregon State with the ball now. Oregon’s defense starting to put down the hammer. A loss on 2nd and 3. Then, QB Katz panics a bit when he sees nothing appetizing, and goes to ground. Beavs punt to the Ducks – the ball hits at the goal line, 58 yards downfield, and takes a right angle turn to the pilon, but ruled to have nosed into the endzone for a touchback.

Atlanta

Jeffery makes a nice catch for a first down at the 30. But Garcia calls a TO as the play clock gets down to 2.

Corvallis

Oregon making first downs at will. Ball at midfield. Thomas fires a strike to the right flat for another first down. Relentless are the Ducks.

Atlanta

Big 3rd and 7 for the Gamecocks. Spurrier calls a TO to save a delay of game penalty.

Corvallis

The Ducks have made two more first downs – a machine just getting warmed up. At the Beaver 14, on a 2nd down play, the Beaver defense strings out the run to the left, but at the sideline, the defender gives a push just to remind the Ducks what game this is – the flag moves the ball to the 5 for a first and goal instead of a 3rd and 9. The Beavers don’t need to beat themselves – the Ducks are capable of doing that alone.

Atlanta

Auburn hold. Newton has the ball again… a little bootleg action and a pass over the middle to the guy with the German-long-name for a first. Nice stuff.

Corvallis

Wow. Oregon State backs their foe to a 3rd and 9. Ducks complete a pass to the right after the QB rolled left – complete, but way short.

Atlanta

Newton throws the bomb to Darvin “Smooth” Adams on a 3rd and 7. Smooth it was – an easy TD for the Tigers who don’t seem interested in getting behind early again. Auburn 21 South Carolina 7.

Corvallis

After a penalty, just 3 seconds left in the half. Wide right is the 25-yard FG attempt! Somehow, the Beavs are still in this one. HALFTIME SCORE: Oregon 16 Oregon State 7.

Atlanta

Garcia is 6-of-8 for 80 yards, and 14 points behind on the scoreboard. Another completion, but the Tigers hold the Gamecocks to a 3-and-out. The first quarter clock runs out.

The South Carolina defense has to find a way to stop the most dynamic offense in the league. Auburn calls a TO on 3rd down – Newton is favoring his passing hand after hitting it on a Gamecock helmet after a pass. Hand looks fine – throws a fastball to Darvon Adams to the right for a first down.

Gary Danielson makes a comment about potential stalling by defensive players feigning injury – is USC pulling a California here? Doubt it.

Finally, we get back to the 3rd down – Newton razzle-dazzle in the backfield – runs for it – FUMBLE! South Carolina recovers at the Auburn 36!

Second play from scrimmage – Garcia throws a pick as he’s hit on the throw… Auburn gets it right back. But Auburn goes 3-and-out as a bullet over the middle is dropped.

Corvallis

Oregon gets the ball to start the second half. The blue skies of the first half have given way to a gray pallor, making it look more like Oregon in December. The Ducks get the chains moving right away.

Atlanta

Nice option pitch to Lattimore for a Gamecock first down. Another first down by Lattimore on a run off right tackle.

Corvallis

The Ducks are held in Beaver territory, but go for it on 4th and 8 at the 30. A screen pass results in a big loss. Oregon State sends a message that they will not go down easily in their house.

Atlanta

Gamecocks operating in Auburn territory… Garcia throws behind Lattimore at the Tiger 26 which could have been run all the way in for a score. Garcia sacked on 3rd down. The Gamecocks cannot make the plays they need to in order to have a chance for the league crown – plain and simple. Spencer Lanning barely misses a long FG attempt. It remains a two-TD lead for the better team.

Corvallis

Beavers go three-and-out after a Katz zinger goes by the TE over the middle. A nice punt goes OOB at the Duck 21.

Atlanta

Still 8:09 remaining in the first half – this is a slow, slow game.

Corvallis

LaMichael gains 4 yards after running about 40 back and forth after almost fumbling the possession away deep in Beaver territory. Ducks held on a third and three – Oregon State’s defense is looking energized. First punt of the day for Oregon. FAKE!!!!!!!!!! A 68-yard gain! The punter faked as if the snap went over his head. Instead, the snap was taken by the fullback, ran right up the middle through a hole as wide as the Grand Canyon. A 15-yard penalty was assessed against the Ducks at the end of the play, but they are still deep in State’s kitchen.

Atlanta

This game now seems to be grinding on at a snail’s pace.

Corvallis

On a 3rd down, Oregon calls a funny little screen as the Beavers were blitzing. The pass isn’t great, but the guy they call DJ makes a nifty run to paydirt.

Just as Oregon State was gaining momentum with defensive play, the Ducks break their backs with a gutsy fake punt and then score on the very next play. Oregon 23 Oregon State 7.

I can’t wait to see Oregon play Auburn.

Atlanta

With Auburn deep in South Carolina territory, more play stoppage with another time out. Jesus. Then, Auburn gets a first down at the Carolina 5 negated with a holding call. On 2nd and 21, McCaleb gets the Tigers inside the 20 again on Auburn’s 39th play. Then on 3rd and 14, the Tigers line up 3-wide to the right – a lineman lining up as a WR – but Newton throws it away to the left. Flag – called an illegal formation. A 36-yard FG attempt is doinked off the right upright. I’m ready for the half to end.

Corvallis

State is all of a sudden first-down happy, driving it to first and 10 at the Duck 12. Oregon gets a personal foul called at the end of the play to give the orange-and-black a first and goal. can Oregon State just drive it in. Little #1 Rogers gets smashed on a run attempt. This is State’s big chance; they can’t blow this. Play fake pass on second down, incomplete. THIRD DOWN – THE FIFTH TIPPED STATE PASS OF THE AFTERNOON. Oregon settles for a field goal. Oregon 23 Oregon State 10.

Atlanta

Garcia underthrows a WIDE-OPEN GAMECOCK RECEIVER to keep USC from getting back into this one (or at least make this game just a little bit exciting). As the clock runs down, South Carolina just can’t get anything going with rhythm. The Gamecocks have to score here to give them some kind of hope in the dressing room. On 3rd and 9 at the Auburn 27, Lattimore grabs a Garcia pass on a crossing route and then runs like a light beam for the endzone. He’s tripped up and downed at the one. With the clock ready to run out, an Auburn defender is down, injured, saving time for South Carolina to muster a set play.

With 23 seconds remaining in the half, Garcia hits Jeffery in the endzone. Somehow, after such languor, South Carolina has made this a game to give them the hope needed for a second half comeback. Auburn 21 South Carolina 14.

Corvallis

283 yards rushing for the Ducks so far. But now, they are falling apart. After a series of losses and penalties, the Ducks have it on their own one yard line. James takes a hand off, gets hit near the goal line, and the Ducks have to punt.

Atlanta

Seven seconds left. Auburn lines up with a Big Ben formation at midfield. NEWTON HEAVES A HAIL MARY INTO THE RIGHT SIDE OF THE ENDZONE – DARVIN ADAMS GRABS IT FOR A SCORE TO BREAK GAMECOCK HEARTS!!!!!!  WOAH!!! HOPES DASHED!!! THE HALF EXPIRES. Auburn 28 South Carolina 14.

Corvallis

After gaining possession in Oregon territory on the punt out of the Duck endzone, the Beavers will just not go away. The third quarter clock runs out with the Beavers first and goal on the Duck 5 yard line. ONCE AGAIN, A STATE PASS IS TIPPED FOR AN INCOMPLETION. If I was State, I’d call a fake to try to shake things up. Instead, State settles for another FG when a TD was waiting. Oregon 23 Oregon State 13.

A shot of the snow-capped Mt. Hood on ABC. Lovely. The Beaver defense playing lovely, too. 3rd and 9 for the Ducks… they are 4-for10 today… long throw down the left sideline… defender #40 never looks for the football and runs into the back of LaMichael James… FLAG. Ducks first and ten at their 45 instead of Beaver ball. State just seems to keep themselves at arms length from pulling off the upset of a lifetime.

Now the Ducks look loose on offense. A nice completion over the middle to drive the ball well into State territory. Then, #24 Barner bursts out of the backfield with the ball for a 23-yard TD run, his 14th carry for 122 yards on the afternoon. A hair’s width from deep trouble, the Ducks are back in total control. Oregon 30 Oregon State 13.

Oregon State is running out of time. Oregon is relentless. Second down, the seventh tipped State pass of the afternoon. Third down, Katz comes back with a completion over the middle for a first down. But, OFFENSIVE PASS INTERFERENCE! “Bullshit! Bullshit!” chant the Beaver faithful. The Beavs punt it away after a short completion on 3rd down. The Ducks are about 10 game-minutes from a national championship game appearance.

Ducks go three-and-out. The Beavers need a couple of long punt returns and a couple of turnovers to make this one fun. Fair catch on the punt. Ain’t gonna happen.

Atlanta

South Carolina start the second half with the ball. Only fair after the back-breaking Hail Mary that may have ended their dream. A perfect throw from Garcia to Gurley to get the Gamecocks to midfield. Completion to Lattimore and then a run to move chains.

Corvallis

Another tipped Beaver pass. This one is intercepted by the Ducks. It’s all over but the moaning for State. The Ducks are headed to the Big One.

Atlanta

South Carolina are playing with a purpose here; they’ve moved well into Tiger territory. Trivia – this is only South Carolina’s second game played indoors, ever. On 3rd and 12, an incompletion. Time for a 42-yarder by Spencer Lanning. WIDE RIGHT. Still a 2-TD lead for War Eagle.

Corvallis

LaMichael James rams it into the Beaver endzone, and the rout is on. Oregon 37 Oregon State 13.

Only 4:27 left to dreamland for Duck fans. The Duck mascot does his 37 push-ups on the sideline.

Atlanta

Auburn has the ball with a crowd that is stone quiet. Newton saves a broken play, or a play defended well, and scampers for a first down and much more. Then, Cam hits Emery Blake on a long one down the left sideline to near the goal line. Then, Newton gets his 20th rushing score to sit next to his 20 TD passes, to become the only player other than Tim Tebow to do so. Auburn 35 South Carolina 14.

Corvallis

State moving the ball on the Ducks, for the sake of pride and little else. Now into the endzone. Then, a pass into the Duck end zone. Too little, too late. Oregon 37 Oregon State 20.

Atlanta

Spurrier has called the defensive troops to listen to his pleading. Lots of game stoppage for godknowswhat.

Corvallis

Beaver on-side attempt goes for naught. The Ducks take two knees, and the fluorescent yellow gatorade is dumped down the back of the Duck head coach Chip Kelly. It’s over. The Oregon Ducks finish the 2010 season 12 and 0. They only faced a scare during 2 quarters against the Vols and 4 quarters against the Cal Bears. Other than that, they were nearly flawless for an entire season.

Atlanta

Number 22 Bell picks off a Garcia pass while standing in the Auburn backfield and scoots a mere 8 yards for a Tiger Touchdown. The Tiger pass rush is relentless. The Gamecock dream is all but over. No, let me restate that: The Gamecock dream IS over, with more than seven minutes remaining in the third quarter. Auburn 42 South Carolina 14.

During the Gamecock possession, Danielson says about the Vols: “Some good young players there and an emerging quarterback.” USC drive ends with that bit of wisdom. Auburn ball.

The third-quarter ends, and the Auburn players, coaches, and fans all know their near-term future: to play Oregon for the chance to become the fifth consecutive SEC team, and the 6th out of the last 8, to win the national championship.

Then, a beautiful hitch-and-throw by Newton to Henry Blake into the endzone. Auburn 49 South Carolina 14.

If Cam Newton lied to NCAA investigators, it will be a shame, because to tarnish his performances on the field would be, well, a shame. He is simply one of the very best college football players I have every seen. And, if I really put a lot of thought into it, he might be the very best.

South Carolina, now with the ball, beat Florida, Georgia, Alabama, and Tennessee this season. Nobody could have predicted that.

Cammy Cam Juice as just now hit Twitterspace.

Look at Trooper Taylor on the Auburn sideline. He looks very happy. Good for him.

This time, Lanning puts his kick between the two yellow poles. Auburn 49 South Carolina 17.

Let’s hope that Auburn just keeps it on the ground, runs out the clock, and gets nobody hurt.

After the first play, Eric Trotter replaces Newton so that the best player in college football can get the adulation from his adoring fans. Well deserved.

Auburn to midfield. They’re after half-a-hundred. Trotter escapes from trouble to run all the way to the red zone. Fannin runs into the endzone standing up. Complete domination by Auburn. Utter embarrassment for South Carolina. Auburn 56 South Carolina 17.

The Gamecocks now wish they had never been born. With the ball, the clock mercifully runs out. Cam Newton is hoisted onto his teammates shoulders, and then takes his traditional victory lap to slap hands with his worshippers. Why not? 335 yards passing and 4 TD passes; 73 yards rushing and 2 rushing TDs.

Oregon and Auburn on the same field for the last game of the season is what I’ve wanted to see for the last two months. College football fans deserve this matchup – it could be one for the ages.

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2 responses to “Double Vision”

  1. tk says :

    GREAT WRITE UP FRED. , GOOD IDEA ON WORKING THOSE GAMES TOGETHER LIKE THAT.
    WELL YOU KNOW IM AN SEC MAN. ………BUT YOU KNOW HOW BAD I HATE AUBURN……….SO IM PULLING FOR OREGON. NOW DO THEY HAVE A CHANCE…………YOU TELL ME. THIS ONE COULD BE CRAZY

  2. norcalvol says :

    TK, you got a lot to comment on.
    First, about Auburn and Oregon – what impressed me the most about Auburn was their line play, both offense and defense. Garcia for the most part barely had time to breathe-the Tiger DL was suffocating the USC backfield. The OL was giving Newton a lot of time, and to give somebody like that a lot of time, well… So, unless Oregon can handle Auburn up front on both sides of the ball, they will have a difficult time beating them unless they can capitalize on turnovers and make big, big plays.
    Second, I’m not sure I knew that you hated Auburn. Now I know you and I date back to the time when Auburn was Tennessee’s first SEC game – for years that happened. It was a big game and was for a long time a really good rivalry. But, I don’t hate Auburn. As a matter of fact, I really like the way they play the game, and have for many years. They play ‘real college football’ if you know what I mean. And, they are ‘Bama’s biggest rival. Call me crazy, but I kinda like them as an SEC school.
    Third, as much as you might hate Auburn, I’m a bit surprised to hear you would root for a school against an SEC school in a major bowl, especially in a national championship game. Having said that, I live on the west coast, and I’ve fallen in love with Oregon’s football program – everything they do is with a purpose, with a very long vision. It’s a school worth adopting as a ‘secondary favorite’.
    Fourth, I’m glad it’s Auburn and Oregon. It is a great matchup, but if I had to lay money today, I would pick the Tigers to win by two TDs.

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