Newton and Auburn make their point the hard way
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – Cam Newton ran around Bryant-Denny Stadium with a hand over his mouth, having hushed up those who might have thought his shot at the national title and Heisman Trophy were gone.
He’s very much on track for both, thanks to his most audacious performance yet in this season of triumph and controversy.
No one had ever rallied a team to victory over Alabama after trailing by 24 points. That’s just what Newton did Friday, leading No. 2 Auburn to a stunning 28-27 triumph that kept the Tigers in the thick of the BCS championship race and might have swayed any Heisman voters who had their doubts about voting for a guy hounded by unsavory allegations.
Newton threw for three touchdowns against the ninth-ranked Crimson Tide (9-3, 5-3). He ran for the other score. And a day that started like Auburn might be headed for a staggering blowout ended with No. 2 taking a victory lap around Alabama’s hallowed home field.
“Cameron Newton is physically and mentally as tough as I’ve ever seen,” Auburn coach Gene Chizik said. “Period.”
When Auburn fell behind 24-0 in the first half, it looked as though all those turned off by the prospect of Newton hoisting the Heisman and national championship trophies after his father was accused of seeking a huge payout might not have to worry.
Newton again rallied a team that has trailed in eight of its 12 games, leaving the crowd of 101,821 in disbelief. Well, except those orange-clad faithful crammed into one end of the stadium amid all the crimson, celebrating a win no one could have seen coming a couple hours earlier: the biggest comeback in school history.
It kept the Tigers perfect heading to next week’s Southeastern Conference championship game against South Carolina. If Auburn wins that one, the reward will certainly be a berth in the national title game.
“That’s the kind of team we have,” said Terrell Zachery, who caught a 70-yard TD pass. “We never give up.”
Auburn (12-0, 8-0 SEC) trailed 21-0 before it even picked up a first down.