Heisman Watch Week 11: Newton Perseveres Despite Weight of NCAA Allegations
For a little more than three and a half hours on Saturday, the nation could somewhat tune out the allegations that surrounded Cam Newton and the NCAA out and just enjoy Newton on the field against Georgia.
A shaky start for both Newton and his Auburn Tigers aside, Newton continued to show why he’s been the frontrunner in this year’s race for more than a month now, using his arm and his legs to lead Auburn to their 11th win and clinch a SEC West title and a berth in the SEC Championship Game on December 4th.
Newton threw for 147 yards and two touchdowns and added 150 yards and another score on the ground, all while piloting the Auburn offense up and down the field for yet another week of high scoring, fast moving offense which resulted in 49 points against Georgia.
With the weekend off next week before the Iron Bowl test against Alabama, the allegations are sure to continue to heat up and Newton is sure to feel the heat yet again. However, if Newton can persevere despite the pressure he’s feeling and still lead the Tigers to an undefeated season, it would be all the more reason for Heisman voters to reward his overwhelming offensive season.
Trying to follow up a 507-yard passing performance is rarely going to be a complete success, but during a Friday night showcase, Kellen Moore did more than enough to prove his dominance over the defenses of the Western Athletic Conference.
Moore threw for 216 yards and three touchdowns on 19-of-26 passing and was nearly flawless once again, leading Boise State to an easy 52-14 blowout victory over Idaho that was basically over by the second quarter.
In fact, Moore did not factor much into the Broncos’ first 21 points, and used his 26 attempts efficiently while the Broncos’ other assets dominated the night.
The Broncos got touchdowns on the ground and on special teams, allowing Moore to patrol the sidelines for more than a quarter while his team burned off the final 20+ minutes of the game.
Moore’s final three tests against Fresno State, Nevada and Utah State should give the junior more opportunities to fill up the stat sheet, and he’ll need to do just that to stay in the midst of the Heisman race.
California seemed to dial up exactly the right kind of defense for the seemingly uncontainable Oregon offense, and LaMichael James’s stat line was certainly hindered by an impressive performance from the Bears.
The Ducks only scored 15 points on the night, and James saw his own production suffer greatly, as the sophomore running back only rushed for 91 yards and no touchdowns on the night.
Of the games James has started in 2010, his 91 yards against the Bears was just the second time he submitted a performance of less than 100 yards, and the only time all season that he has failed to score.
James and Oregon have tests remaining from Oregon State and Arizona, and the Ducks will now have to be wary of a defensive attack that nearly allowed for an upset and certainly took a chuck out of James’s Heisman candidacy, at least for now.
Andrew Luck and Stanford needed a gritty performance to get by Arizona State on the road on Saturday night, but they did just enough to stay in the thick of the at-large BCS bid race.
Luck too did enough to stay in the middle of the Heisman race and although he did not throw for a touchdown, any time you make 41 passing attempts — and complete 33 of them, you’ve had a large impact on the final score of the game.
Luck did help drive his team down the field in the fourth quarter for what would prove to be the game-winning touchdown run by Owen Marecic, showing the leadership that has helped his Heisman candidacy this year.
The Cardinal needed every one of Luck’s 292 yards on the night to stay right behind Oregon in the Pac-10 race, and Luck’s performance, although not spectacular, counted for quite a bit of the success the Cardinal had on the night.
Oklahoma State continues to be a legitimate threat for the Big 12 title, and Blackmon’s continued dominance over the defensive backfields of the Big 12 have a lot to do with it.
Blackmon burned another set of corners and safeties on Saturday night, this time against Texas, as he put up 145 yards and a touchdown during the Cowboys’ 33-16 victory over the Longhorns.
The sophomore wide receiver continues to perform at a ridiculous level in terms of statistic production, now averaging just a shade under 160 yards per game receiving and would have even gaudier numbers if not for a one-game suspension he served for a suspected DUI.
Blackmon is obviously key to Oklahoma State’s success, and if he continues to put up the numbers he’s been providing thus far, he could easily make his way up all kinds of Heisman Watch lists.
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