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Afternoon News Update: Newton O'Brien semifin

A compilation of news from Auburn and around the Southeastern Conference and the nation. …

Auburn quarterback Cam Newton celebrates with fans after victory over LSU/ photo

FANS ASKED TO VOTE:: Auburn junior quarterback Cam Newton has been named one of 16 semifinalists for the 2010 Davey O’Brien National Quarterback Award.

The O’Brien Award is presented annually to the nation’s top college quarterback. The semifinalists were selected by the O'Brien National Selection Committee, with the fan vote accounting for 5 percent of the total vote. The committee was asked to consider the following criteria:quarterback skills, academics, character, leadership and sportsmanship.

Fans may now help determine which three quarterbacks will advance as finalists by voting as often as once daily at Fan voting will close at noon (CT) on Nov. 21.

Newton has accounted for a nation-best 27 touchdowns this season, rushing for 14 and throwing for another 13. His 14 rushing touchdowns also lead the country. Newton ranks sixth nationally (second among quarterbacks) in rushing, averaging 134.6 yards per game, and is the only player in the country with five games of at least 170 yards rushing.

NEWTON, FAIRLEY HONORED BY SEC: Auburn quarterback Cam Newton and defensive tackle Nick Fairley were honored by the Southeastern Conference today for their performances in last Saturday’s 24-17 victory over then-No. 5 LSU.

Newton was named Offensive Player of the Week and Fairley was named Defensive Lineman of the Week for the second consecutive week.

Newton rushed for a career-best 217 yards on 28 carries with two touchdowns rushing as the Tigers improved to 8-0 overall, 5-0 in the SEC and moved into the top spot in the BCS standings.

Newton, who completed 10-of-16 passes for 86 yards, had 303 yards total offense and led a rushing attack that gained 440 yards against the SEC’s top-ranked defense.

Newton broke the SEC single-season record for rushing yards by a quarterback. He has 1,077 yards, 709 behind Bo Jackson’s all-time Auburn record, with at least five games left to play. He had six runs of 10 yards or more and three of 20 yards or more.

Fairley had six tackles, including 3.5 for loss (-23 yards) and 2.5 quarterback sacks (-20). With game tied at 17-17 with 7:51 remaining, Fairley had two tackles for loss and a sack in a three-play span to stop an LSU drive that started at its own 40. The defensive stand set up Auburn’s next possession that resulted the game-winning touchdown.

SOCCER TEAM NEARS TITLE: – Gabi Rivera netted the game-winning goal with just more than 13 minutes left as Auburn’s soccer team knocked off No. 20 Georgia 2-1 on Sunday in Athens.

“I saw the keeper come out,” Rivera said. “I took a touch around her and I tried to shoot it as hard as I could in the air, because I saw no one was in net. I knew I just had to hit it on frame and it would go in.”

With the victory, Auburn moved into first place in the Southeastern Conference West with one game remaining, Friday night at home against Alabama.

“We stepped up today, from beginning to end,” Auburn Head Coach Karen Hoppa said. “We played a full 90 minutes today. It wasn’t always pretty, and it usually isn’t when you are playing on the road.”

Maddie Barnes put Auburn (10-6-2, 4-4-2 SEC) up 1-0 when she headed in a Katy Frierson corner kick in the seventh minute. Mary Nicholson drew the corner for Auburn when her shot from the top of the 18 was deflected over the end line by a Georgia defender. The goal was Auburn’s first in a first half in its last seven contests, dating back to the win at Arkansas.

CLANTON MAKES HER MARK: Auburn senior Cydney Clanton carded a 1-over-par 73 Saturday in the final round of the World Amateur Team Championship in Buenos Aires, Argentina, finishing in a tie for eighth individually. She helped the United States to a runner-up finish, shooting 2-under 286 for the tournament.

Clanton is the first American from Auburn to ever compete in the World Amateur Team Championship and was one of 15 players in the 155-player field to finish under par.


BAYLOR ENDS RANKING DROUGHT: Baylor entered the AP Top 25 rankings Sunday at No. 25 for the first time since 1993 after a win over Kansas State that made the Bears eligible to end a 16-year bowl drought.

"It's certainly a step in the right direction, you know," third-year coach Art Briles said. "Important thing is to be in it when the season's over, that's the important thing, but it's definitely a positive step perception-wise, no doubt."

The Bears' appearance in the poll is their first since Sept. 5, 1993, when they were ranked 24th after opening the season with a 42-39 win over then-No. 25 Fresno State. They dropped out after a 45-21 loss to then-No. 10 Colorado the next week.

Baylor (6-2, 3-1 Big 12) beat Kansas State 47-42 on Saturday behind quarterback Robert Griffin III to become bowl eligible for the first time since joining the Big 12 in 1996. The win on homecoming came a week after the Bears held Colorado out of end zone in the closing seconds of a 31-25 win on the road.

"It is a growing point for our football team and for Baylor nation in general," said Briles, whose team also entered the BCS standings at No. 25.

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