Friday Night Showdowns Bring Bowl Surprises
SCOTT SIMON, host:
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon.
Three big games yesterday in college football. Two come from behind wins and one extraordinary upset.
(Soundbite of sports broadcasts)
Unidentified Man #1: (Unintelligible) Has his man open. Auburn has (unintelligible) tying the ballgame.
Unidentified Man #2: (Unintelligible) One man to beat. He'll not catch him. Touchdown Oregon - 85 yards.
Unidentified Man #3: And now it comes down to the right foot of Kyle Brotzman. This is turning into a disaster for Brotzman. He misses from 26 what could've been the game winner in regulation. And now in the first overtime he misses from 29. And mighty Boise has fallen.
SIMON: That was the call on ESPN as number four Boise State fell to number nineteen Nevada. Before that, Oregon trouncing Arizona, also on ESPN. And the call from CBS as Auburn rallied over Alabama.
Now, coming up, we'll talk to the president of Boise State about his team's stunning loss. First, let's run down the scoreboard and see what the results mean. And for that we're joined by NPR's Tom Goldman.
Tom, thanks for being with us.
TOM GOLDMAN: Hi, Scott. My pleasure.
SIMON: Well, Cinderella kicked with her glass slipper last night, huh?
GOLDMAN: Oh my goodness. Poor Kyle Brotzman, as you heard in that tape. No more distraught football player in America today. He, of course, is the Boise State kicker, very reliable player normally, missed those two short field goals. One with seconds left in regulation, one in overtime. And then watched as the Nevada kicker, Anthony Martinez, a freshman...
SIMON: Who had missed earlier in the game.
GOLDMAN: Yeah. And then Martinez kicked the 34-yarder right down Main Street, as they said, to clinch the upset win.
SIMON: And let's give Nevada their due. This wasn't just a matter of Boise State losing. They had a brilliant running game last night.
GOLDMAN: They really did, Scott. And probably Brotzman shouldn't have been in the position he was, because Boise State had been favored to win by two touchdowns. They led 24-7 at half. They were cruising to another one of their trademark big wins. But then the offense just kind of sputtered. And as you say, Nevada got hot thanks to that strong, strong running attack.
SIMON: And, of course, earlier in the day we had what's called the Iron Bowl in Alabama, the match-up between Auburn and University of Alabama. And, you know, Auburn was down in the first half. And we thought, well, you know, maybe things - the cards are going to fall differently. But then they came from behind and rallied to beat Alabama.
SIMON: What does that do to their chances for a national title game?
GOLDMAN: Well, it does very good things, because Auburn beat a very good Alabama team - a team that had won 20 straight in Tuscaloosa at home and was well on its way, as you say, to number 21.
But then a guy we've all heard about, a guy named Cam Newton, the quarterback for Auburn, who is - has controversy swirling around him because of allegations that basically his father was selling his services to another school during his recruiting, Cam Newton showed why he is the best player in college football and the favorite to win the Heisman Trophy. He brought back Auburn, three touchdown passes, one running touchdown. And Auburn won by a point and showed the BCS that it would be a very good team to be in the championship game.
SIMON: Well, and of course BCS also has to be looking at Oregon, because they actually began the second half with an 85-yard touchdown and beat Arizona 48-29.
GOLDMAN: Yeah. Yeah. Oregon, of all of these teams, really just kind of took care of business. The Quack Attack, as they like to call it in Eugene, with the Oregon Ducks, really shifted into high gear in the second half, which they have done all season. They've been a real second half season - 34 points, 362 total yards in the second half. And Oregon roared from behind and beat Arizona. A pretty good Arizona team. And now all Oregon has to do is win against its archrival Oregon State next week and it will be in the title game.
SIMON: So there's a clear matchup as far as you're concerned.
GOLDMAN: Well, at this point, Scott, if Auburn and Oregon win out, as they say, the National Championship game will be those two.
SIMON: NPR's Tom Goldman. Thanks very much for being with us.
GOLDMAN: My pleasure, Scott