Through the first four games of Auburn's football season, the legend of Cam Newton grew. After a spectacular performance on the ground and through the air against South Carolina, Heisman Trophy talk grew louder. Newton could beat you with his arm. He could beat you with his legs. He led the Southeastern Conference in rushing and in pass efficiency.
Phillip Marshall, Senior Editor, AuburnUndercover.com
Newton has insisted all along that the individual accolades are not part of his agenda. That's why he had no argument with Gus Malzahn's offensive plan for Saturday's game against ULM. Barring an unexpected close game, Newton would use his arm to attack the suspect Warhawk pass defense and leave the running to others.
Sure enough, Malzahn called Newton's number not a single time. He carried one time - on a sack - for minus-11 yards.
What Newton did, what Auburn's coaches did, was the right thing to do. They didn't wory about tropies. They worried about a season that grows more promising with each passing week. And a brutal four-game stretch awaits, one that will tell the tale on whether this team is a championship contender. Rest assured, Newton will run the ball next Saturday night at Kentucky.
Chisik said he wanted to be "real clear," and he was.
"There are 10 other guys out there who play their rear ends off every snap," Chizik said. "He does not have to win the games for us. We have a lot of good players out there."
Chizik's refuisal; to admit that the plan was for Newton to take a break from running the ball was silly, but he was right about his team. The perception has grown that Auburn has become Newton's team - as Newton goes, so goes Auburn. He's a very good quarterback, maybe even a great one, and to minimize that would be foolish. But this Auburn offense indeed has a lot of weapons. It had far, far too many for Louisiana-Monroe.
There are more weapons on the other side of the ball, too. Last season, when Auburn went to defensive reserves, Furman and Ball State suddenly looked like offensive juggernauts. ULM couldn't get anything done.
For the second straight season, Auburn is 5-0. Last season, that record turned out to be fool's gold. The Tigers went 3-5 the rest of the season. There is a different feeling this time. This Auburn team is better than that one in almost every way.
That's why a ULM team that hung around with Arkansas until the fourth quarter never had a chance Saturday.