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Monday, September 27, 2010

QB Cam Newton, DT Mike Blanc earn SEC Player of the Week honors

For the second time in a month, Auburn quarterback Cam Newton was named the SEC's Offensive Player of the Week.

Newton accounted for 334 yards and five touchdowns in Auburn's 35-27 victory against South Carolina last Saturday, the second time he's been involved in five touchdowns in a game this season.

Defensive tackle Mike Blanc was also honored as the Defensive Lineman of the Week. The senior had a career-high seven tackles (three solos) and a fumble recovery against South Carolina. He was part of the Tigers' defensive line that held the Gamecocks to 79 rushing yards, 119 below their season average.

Newton ran for a career-high 176 yards and three touchdowns. He now has the second- and third-highest single-game rushing totals by a quarterback in school history.

Newton also completed 16 of 21 passes for 176 yards and two touchdowns. He's the first Auburn quarterback to throw for at least two touchdowns in each of his first four games.

He leads the SEC and is 11th nationally in rushing (121.3 ypg) and is atop the the conference and fourth nationally in passing efficiency (182.46). He's also second in the league and 18th nationally in total offense (292.0 ypg).

Newton is the first Auburn player to earn SEC Offensive Player of the Week honors twice in the same season since Kenny Irons in 2005.

(Blog plugs: Twitter and Facebook.)

It's never too early to begin the Heisman hype. Is Newton worthy of that kind of talk? We wrote about that in today's paper. Check it out.

And just for comparison's sake, here's how Newton stacks up through four games against Tim Tebow's Heisman Trophy 2007 season:
  • Tebow: 65-95 passing, 1096 yards, 68%, 10 TD; 70 rushes, 368 yards, 7 TD (played Western Kentucky, Troy, Tennessee and Ole Miss, record: 4-0)
  • Newton: 43-68 passing, 683 yards, 63%, 9 TD; 75 rushes, 485 yards, 5 TD (played Arkansas State, Mississippi State, Clemson and South Carolina, record: 4-0).
Tebow had a little bit better numbers (especially passing), although he had an extra creampuff opponent in there. The point is, you put up good stats on an SEC team that looks like it's going to finish pretty high in the standings, and you've put yourself in a good position to be a contender. And now that Auburn is in the top 10 -- and if it can stay there -- Newton will get plenty more national recognition than before.

Of course, as Ryan Mallett learned, that also means performing your best when the nation is watching. So Newton will undoubtedly need big games against Arkansas, LSU, Georgia and Alabama to warrant serious consideration, which is asking a lot.

Is this premature? Probably. Then again, it's Louisiana-Monroe week. Got to write about something.

** One scheduling note: Auburn's game at Kentucky on Oct. 9 will start at 7:30 p.m. ET and be televised by ESPN or ESPN2, according to the schools' websites.


Anonymous said...

We will lose the big games if you cannot get a first down w/2 minutes to go in the game and hand the ball over. It has been Auburns way- When will they learn???? Lost to LSU and tons of others over and over and over.

Chris P. said...

Wow Anonymous...
Not sure "we" was the right word to use there. Are you sure you're an AU fan?
We beat what may end up being the best team in the SEC East with 2 INTs on each of its last 2 drives. I'll take it!
War Eagle

scottie burns said...

agreed we need to be able to convert those 3rd & shorts, especially that 3rd & 2 late against Clemson. i thought we were doomed when Cam got dropped for a loss.

still, 4-0 to start is pretty nice. 4 straight TO's saturday nite in the 4th was amazing too. good to see these kids being resilient enough to hang on.

Anonymous said...

First, let me say I'm a true Auburn Fan. Chris, I really don't think we beat the best east team. I feel like the east is way down and we beat one of the top three teams... Who did they beat before they got to us? UGA? UGA is awful... I just think this win needs some perspective...

MikeP said...

A strength of this team all season has been converting third downs.

So, on one occasion we get nine yards when we needed ten, then turned it over to the defense who stopped them.

Sorry, I know you can lose by not converting a crucial third down late, but their defense is trying to stop it, you know.

I hardly think converting third downs is one of the things to gripe about with the 2010 Tigers.