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Saturday, November 6, 2010

Final: Auburn 62, Chattanooga 24

They're closing up the press box, so here's the game story from today:
AUBURN, Ala. — Unable to comment specifically about the recruiting controversy that’s ensnared his quarterback's name, Auburn coach Gene Chizik allowed himself to be more frank when a question was asked about a potential hit to Cam Newton’s reputation.

“Let me tell you something: this is a great kid,” Chizik said, his voice rising. “I can speak intelligently on that one. …

“This is a great kid and he's been a great kid at Auburn University every day he's been around me, this staff and his teammates. I don't know what's out there and I don't know what hits you're talking about, but I can assure you this: this is a phenomenal young man. Make no mistake about that."

Newton finished with 341 total yards and five touchdowns in one half of No. 2 Auburn's 62-24 dismantling of Chattanooga at Jordan Hare Stadium, moving the Tigers to 10-0 for the fourth time in school history.

The win, coupled with Alabama's loss at LSU, means Auburn needs only to beat Georgia or Alabama to clinch its first berth in the SEC championship game since 2004.

It was of little interest after the game Saturday. Questions quickly centered on allegations that went public Thursday that a man claiming to represent Newton's family asked Mississippi State for $180,000 to secure the quarterback's signature on a letter of intent during the recruiting process last year.

The man, identified by ESPN.com as former Mississippi State player Kenny Rogers, who works for a company that matches recruits with schools, denied any wrongdoing Friday.

Newton apologized for not being able to comment about the allegations Saturday but reiterated that he did nothing wrong.

"I love Auburn. That's all I've got to say," he said. "God is blessing me right now. ... When God be blessin', the devil be messin'."

Newton was asked if he feels any different after what's happened the last 48 hours.

"I feel 10-0," he said, drawing laughs from the room.

Auburn has continued to clear its name in the matter. Late Friday night, the Associated Press, citing an anonymous source in Auburn's compliance office, reported the school has reviewed personal and church bank records of Newton's dad, Cecil, in addition to phone and e-mail records of the Tigers' football staff.

The source was "extremely confident there was no wrongdoing" on Auburn's part.

Chizik said he addressed the matter in a team meeting but declined to give specifics of what he said.

Asked if the program's perception has been changed in any way, Chizik said "it hasn't in terms of the way I see it and the way our players see it and certainly not the way our fans see it."

Newton didn't let any of the accusations affect his mood. The junior was his normal boisterous self Saturday, interacting with fans with a smile across his face as usual.

His play didn't suffer either. Newton threw for a career-high 317 yards and four touchdowns as the Tigers built a 47-14 halftime lead against the Mocs (5-4), a team from the Football Championship Subdivision. He didn't take a snap in the second half.

Newton, who upped his SEC leading rushing total to 1,146 yards, completed 15 of 21 passes, enjoying an afternoon as a more traditional quarterback.

"I am a quarterback," he said. "That's what I'm supposed to do. That's in my job description."

The Tigers finished with 628 yards of offense, getting 303 on the ground and 325 in the air.

"It's good," offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn said. "We're going to need to be able to throw and run the football here down the stretch."

Newton has 19 passing touchdowns and 15 rushing touchdowns this year, getting closer to the 20/20 club. Florida's Tim Tebow became the first player in NCAA history to accomplish the feat during his 2007 Heisman Trophy season.

While the allegations surrounding Newton are sure to persist until the NCAA rules on the matter, Chizik said the Tigers haven't taken an us-against-the-world mentality.

"That's not how we live our life. That's not who we are," he said. "Whatever is out there is out there, we're going to stay focused and we're going to do what we are supposed to do to be a better football team. That's all that matters."


JoeinFP said...

Don’t let Cam’s big grin fool you. Behind that grin is a very mature your man.

CHB said...

Good stuff Andy.

MikeP said...

This BS that somebody started is really starting to unravel on them. I hope the public learns the who and why of this. In the meantime, Auburn keeps on truckin'!

10-0~~~WAR EAGLE!

Anonymous said...

Hey Andy, if you were an LSU beat writer, would you have the guts to ask Les Miles if he really eats grass during games? I would love to know what exactly that was about...


Please, if its open, can you post the AP and Coaches who are voting Boise and TCU #1 despite those lame schedules?

Tar Heel Tiger said...


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