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Oregon won their next nine games, including a 53–30 blowout victory at #3 Stanford.
A consecutive trip back to the BCS Championship appeared to be a strong possibility, but they were defeated 38–35 by #18 USC when an Oregon field goal attempt failed as time expired.
In December, following an undefeated 12–0 season and an end-of-season #2 BCS ranking, Oregon was selected to play the #1 Auburn Tigers in the BCS national championship game on January 10, 2011.
The Tigers, out of the Southeastern Conference, were coached by Gene Chizik, and had the Heisman Trophy winner at quarterback in Cam Newton.
He was just in time to devise a zone-blocking scheme for star Jerry Azumah.
From 1995 through 1998, the speedy back raised the profile of UNH football as he rushed for what was then an FCS record 6,193 yards.
In recognition of his coaching achievements, Kelly received the Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year award, the Walter Camp Coach of the Year award and was named Pac-10 Coach of the Year for the second year running.
With Darron Thomas at quarterback and Doak Walker Award winner La Michael James at running back, the Ducks averaged 49.3 points and 537.5 yards per game in the regular season.Kelly, along with Florida Gators head coach Dan Mullen, former Winnipeg Blue Bombers offensive coordinator Gary Crowton and Ohio State head coach Ryan Day, are part of the so-called "New Hampshire mafia" as they all have strong connections to New Hampshire.Kelly coached the Oregon Ducks to BCS games in each of his four seasons as head coach; the 2010 Rose Bowl, 2011 BCS National Championship Game, 2012 Rose Bowl and 2013 Fiesta Bowl.In his first season as offensive coordinator at Oregon, the Ducks led the Pac-10 in scoring (38.15 ppg) and total offense (467.54 ypg), and also became the highest scoring team while amassing the most yards in the history of Oregon football.Prior to Kelly's arrival at Oregon, Dennis Dixon struggled in his first three seasons at quarterback.
What may be considered the most important part of Kelly's résumé at Oregon however is that he posted undefeated records against the Ducks most hated rivals, the Oregon State Beavers and the Washington Huskies, something never before achieved by an Oregon coach.