AUBURN – Venerable Lou Holtz mentioned it on ESPN last Saturday night. Auburn coach Gene Chizik was asked about it on Sunday afternoon.
Auburn quarterback Cam Newton/AuburnUndercover.com
Could junior Auburn quarterback Cam Newton be a candidate to become Auburn’s third winner Heisman Trophy, college football’s most prestigious individual award?
After Newton torched South Carolina for 176 yards and three touchdowns on the ground and 158 yards and two touchdowns through the air in Auburn’s 35-27 victory, Holtz, an ESPN commentator and former South Carolina coach, said Newton deserved serious consideration as a candidate to join former Tigers Bo Jackson and Pat Sullivan as Heisman winners.
After Sunday afternoon’s short practice, Newton quickly dismissed the idea that he might have his eyes on the Heisman.
“Oh, my goodness,” Newton said. “No. I’m just going to continue to do my job. I’m not going to think about that. I feel like that would be selfish of me.”
After four games, Newton certainly has Heisman-like numbers. He leads the Southeastern Conference in rushing with 485 yards and five touchdowns on 75 carries. He averages 121.2 yards per game and has completed 43-of-68 passes for 638 yards.
Through the air, Newton leads the league in passing efficiency with a rating of 182.5 and has thrown nine touchdown passes, one fewer than league leader Ryan Mallett of Arkansas.
Nationally, Newton is fourth in passing efficiency and 11th in rushing.
Auburn coach Gene Chizik didn’t sound ready to start a “Cam for Heisman” campaign, but he said he didn’t dismiss the idea, either.
“I'm not going to act like I'm an expert on that,” Chizik said. “I think his numbers certainly grab people's attention. I don't know where they'll go with that, but I think he's played really well. He's done everything we've asked him to do. The people that will make that decision won't be me, but he's played really well."
Behind Newton, a former backup to Tim Tebow at Florida who signed with Auburn out of Blinn (Texas) College last December, Auburn is 4-0 overall and 2-0 in the SEC. The Tigers moved back into the Associated Press Top 10 Sunday for the first time since Sept. 2008. They are 11th in the coaches’ poll.
Newton carried 25 times in leading Auburn back from a 20-7 deficit against South Carolina. Though he said he thought he had games with similar numbers of carries at Blinn College, Saturday was a unique experience.
“I probably did, but I wasn’t hit like this at Blinn, I’ll tell you that,” Newton said. “If I did, I didn’t keep up with it, but it’s nothing like SEC football.”
The Tigers will try to make their record 5-0 Saturday when they play underdog Louisiana-Monroe (1-2) at Jordan-Hare Stadium. Kickoff is set for 11 a.m. Four SEC games follow. Newton said, if called on, he’ll carry the ball as many times as needed.
“I’m an Auburn man,” Newton said. “Whatever it takes to win football games, I’m for it 100 percent.”