NCF Nation: Hogs-Tigers-101610

Newton, Auburn get it done again

October, 16, 2010
AUBURN, Ala. -- The way this Auburn football team insists on living dangerously may be entertaining to watch, but it’s hard on the old ticker.

Josh Bynes ought to know. He’s lived it now for seven straight weeks.

“Yeah, it’s nerve-racking, because we know we can’t keep putting ourselves in this position,” said Bynes, the Tigers’ senior linebacker. “But there’s just something about this team. When we have to have it in the fourth quarter, somebody’s always there to make it happen.”

[+] EnlargeCameron Newton
AP Photo/Dave MartinCameron Newton rushed 25 times for 188 yards and three touchdowns, including this score. He also passed for 140 yards and a touchdown.
That somebody Saturday on defense was Bynes, who had interceptions on back-to-back possessions to send Arkansas packing for good in a 65-43 score-a-thon that marked the most points ever scored in a non-overtime SEC game.

Here’s something else it marked: The official Cam Newton for Heisman Trophy campaign.

If there’s anybody playing better football right now than Newton, he’s not on this planet.

“All I know is that I’m glad he’s on our team. I don’t know where we’d be without him,” said Auburn safety Zac Etheridge, who contributed to the No. 7-ranked Tigers’ 28-point blitzkrieg in the fourth quarter with a 47-yard fumble return for a touchdown.

Newton accounted for four touchdowns against the No. 12-ranked Hogs. He churned out 328 yards of total offense, including 188 rushing yards and three rushing touchdowns. He also threw a 15-yard touchdown pass to Emory Blake.

For the season, Newton has now rushed for 170 yards or more in four different games and has accounted for 25 touchdowns -- 13 passing and 12 rushing.

To put those numbers into perspective, former Auburn quarterback Pat Sullivan holds the school record with 26 touchdowns -- and he did that during his Heisman Trophy-winning 1971 season.

“I don’t have the opportunity to watch everybody in America, but I can tell you this: Number 2 (Newton) is one spectacular football player … and I’m not one to go out on a limb,” Auburn coach Gene Chizik said. “But everybody in the world sees it. It’s not like I’m telling anybody anything new.”

The 6-6, 250-pound Newton was magical in the open field, making Arkansas defenders miss, and showing the moves of a tailback. But when the Tigers needed him in the passing game, he also delivered and finished 10-of-14 for 140 yards.

“A guy that big isn’t supposed to be that shifty, but he is,” said Bynes, shaking his head in amazement.

For three quarters, Newton and the Auburn offense bailed out a defense that was shredded by Arkansas’ passing game. Most of the damage was done by Arkansas backup quarterback Tyler Wilson, who played brilliantly in relief of Ryan Mallett, who was knocked out of the game in the second quarter with a concussion.

Wilson hit 15 of his first 16 passes and finished with 332 passing yards and four touchdowns.

His 23-yard touchdown pass to Greg Childs less than a minute into the fourth quarter and ensuing two-point conversion pass to Childs gave the Hogs a 43-37 lead.

The Tigers were on their heels defensively and looked like they were in trouble.

[+] EnlargeGene Chizik
AP Photo/Dave MartinAuburn coach Gene Chizik's Tigers got three turnovers in the fourth quarter against Arkansas.
“That’s the thing about this team that’s different than a lot of the ones I’ve been around,” said Trooper Taylor, Auburn’s assistant head coach and receivers coach. “When things go wrong or we start giving up some plays, you don’t get any of this, ‘Oh man, here we go again.’

“Instead, you have the offensive guys coming up to the defensive guys and vice versa and they’re telling each other, ‘I’ve got your back, or I’m going to make this play, or we’re going to get this stop.’ That’s the way it is with this team.

“We are truly one.”

The Tigers (7-0, 4-0) have also been the truth in the fourth quarter.

They’ve outscored their opponents this season 69-21 after the third quarter, which includes the overtime period against South Carolina.

And in their last two games against nationally ranked foes -- the other one being South Carolina -- they’ve forced seven turnovers in the fourth quarter.

“Our football team is resilient. Our defense is resilient,” Chizik said. “We know we didn’t play well all night, and there are probably numerous reasons why. We will see that tomorrow on film. But when it was the fourth quarter and we had to make plays, and when we had to get turnovers, we got three.”

That’s not a bad trait to have, even when you do give up 566 yards of total offense.

And having Newton at quarterback is the quintessential equalizer.

“We play as a team, and we play all four quarters,” Newton said. “There’s nobody pointing fingers on this team, and there’s no selfishness on this team. Whatever it takes to win, we’re going to do.”

Until somebody figures out a way to stop Newton, the Tigers are probably going to keep on winning.

Arkansas defensive end Jake Bequette summed it up best Saturday.

“You’ve got to give that guy a lot of credit,” Bequette said. “He’s a great player.

"He’s going to do that to a lot of people.”

Video: Auburn's Cam Newton

October, 16, 2010
Chris Low talks with Auburn QB Cam Newton after his big day against Arkansas.

Video: Auburn OC Gus Malzahn

October, 16, 2010

Auburn offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn talks about his team's 65-point, 470-yard performance against Arkansas.

Tigers come to life in fourth quarter

October, 16, 2010
AUBURN, Ala. -- Just when you thought Arkansas backup quarterback Tyler Wilson was on his way to shattering all sorts of passing records, Auburn does what it's done all season.

The Tigers, getting two big interceptions by senior linebacker Josh Bynes, shook off Wilson's heroic efforts and pulled away for a wild 65-43 win over the Hogs on Saturday at Jordan-Hare Stadium to stay unbeaten.

Wilson, filling in for the injured Ryan Mallett, carved the Auburn secondary apart for much of the game, and the Hogs went ahead 43-37 early in the fourth quarter on the strength of his fourth touchdown pass of the game.

But from there, it was all Auburn, which scored 28 unanswered points in the kind of fourth quarter that's become old hat for this team. Bynes had interceptions on back-to-back possessions, and Zac Etheridge also returned a fumble 47 yards for a touchdown.

The Tigers (7-0, 4-0) have another big test next weekend when LSU comes to town.

The 108 points scored by the two teams marks the most points ever scored in an SEC non-overtime game.

Tigers 2-for-2 on key reviews

October, 16, 2010
AUBURN, Ala. -- Auburn is 2-for-2 on critical reviews Saturday, a big reason the Tigers are leading this game 58-43.

Both were extremely close, this last one a fumble by Arkansas’ Broderick Green that Zac Etheridge returned 47 yards for a touchdown to give the Tigers a 51-43 lead.

Like Mario Fannin’s fumble on the goal line in the first half, this one was ruled a touchdown on the field.

Green looked like he was lying on top of Auburn’s Mike Blanc, who was pulling Green to the ground, when the ball came loose. On this one, it was simply too close for the replay official to overturn the call.

However, on Fannin’s fumble earlier in the game, the ball definitely looked like it was loose before he crossed the goal line.

Ryan Mallett in street clothes

October, 16, 2010
AUBURN, Ala. -- It looks like Arkansas quarterback Ryan Mallett is done for the day.

He's on the sideline now in street clothes and wearing a cap. He greeted the Hogs' offense as they came off the field at the end of the third quarter.

Auburn's pass defense lacking

October, 16, 2010
AUBURN, Ala. -- Auburn may go on to win this game. The Tigers have been outstanding all season when it comes to making clutch plays in the second half.

But regardless of how this one shakes out, Auburn has serious issues in the secondary, and that’s being kind.

The Hogs went 80 yards in three plays to pull within 37-35 in the third quarter, and it’s almost as if the Tigers aren’t even playing with a safety right now. The middle of the field is wide open.

Arkansas' Tyler Wilson is absolutely carving Auburn apart. He’s 13-of-14 for 234 yards and three touchdowns.

Ronnie Wingo strikes again for Hogs

October, 16, 2010
AUBURN, Ala. -- Arkansas' Ronnie Wingo has been money for the Hogs this season on the wheel route.

He's scored three touchdowns against three different teams on similar plays. His 34-yard catch out of the backfield on Saturday pulled Arkansas within 30-28.

Tyler Wilson going back in for Hogs

October, 16, 2010
AUBURN, Ala. -- I still don't see Ryan Mallett on the Arkansas sideline, and Tyler Wilson has his helmet on with the rest of the offensive starters and looks like he's going back into the game.

At the half: Auburn 27, Arkansas 21

October, 16, 2010
AUBURN, Ala. -- Auburn leads Arkansas 27-21 at halftime of their game Saturday at Jordan-Hare Stadium.

Here’s a quick halftime analysis of the game:

Player of the half: Auburn quarterback Cam Newton has been as good as ever with both his running and passing. He has 142 rushing yards at the half on 13 carries and has also completed 6-of-9 passes for 88 yards. Arkansas’ defense simply can’t get him on the ground.

Stat of the half: The teams combined for 529 yards of total offense in the first half.

Turning point: Auburn’s Mario Fannin appeared to lose the ball before crossing the goal line in the second quarter, and one official ruled that it was Arkansas’ ball at the 5. But the officials huddled and announced that the ruling on the field was a touchdown, giving the Tigers a 17-14 lead. The play was reviewed, but the replay official upheld the ruling on the field and said there wasn’t enough video evidence to overturn the call.

What Arkansas needs to do: Even though Tyler Wilson was impressive in leading Arkansas down the field and throwing a 34-yard touchdown pass just before the half, the Hogs need to get starter Ryan Mallett back on the field and healthy. Arkansas coach Bobby Petrino told CBS at the end of the half that Mallett got hit in the head and said he didn’t know if Mallett would return. He was injured late in the second quarter and didn’t play the last two series. The other thing the Hogs need to do is tackle Newton. But, then, nobody has been able to do that all season.

Wilson comes back strong

October, 16, 2010
AUBURN, Ala. -- Arkansas backup quarterback Tyler Wilson showed what he's made of just before halftime, leading the Hogs on a crucial touchdown drive with his 34-yard strike to Greg Childs, cutting Auburn's lead to 24-21.

Wilson was in for Ryan Mallett, who didn't play the last two series of the half after being injured.

Arkansas coach Bobby Petrino has said all along that he really liked Wilson, who had prolific high school career. The big adjustment for Wilson was getting used to taking the snap from center. He was in the shotgun on every snap in high school.

Ryan Mallett out of the game

October, 16, 2010
AUBURN, Ala. -- Arkansas officials would not confirm why quarterback Ryan Mallett is out of the game.

Tyler Wilson has taken over at quarterback, and Mallett is not on the sideline.

A CBS report said it was a knee injury and that Mallett was being evaluated.

Not enough video evidence

October, 16, 2010
AUBURN, Ala. -- It was close, but replays of Mario Fannin's fumble made it look like the ball was loose before he crossed the goal line.

The key here is that it was ruled a touchdown on the field, even though one official initially ruled that it was Arkansas’ ball after Anthony Leon recovered. The officials then conferred and crew chief Penn Wagers announced that the ruling on the field was that Fannin had indeed scored before losing the ball.

At that point, there has to be indisputable video evidence (there’s that phrase again) for the replay official to overturn it. Obviously, he didn’t think the replays were conclusive enough. Auburn leads 17-14.

Hogs go the distance

October, 16, 2010
AUBURN, Ala. – Auburn fans are still booing the pass interference penalty on cornerback Demond Washington, who definitely interfered with Arkansas’ Van Stumon in the end zone.

But the pass looked like it was uncatchable.

The Hogs didn’t waste the opportunity and stuck it in the end zone on the next play to go ahead 14-10, capping an 88-yard, 12 play scoring drive.

Arkansas coach Bobby Petrino has done a nice job with his play-calling. The pitch play to Joe Adams for 12 yards on third-and-10 definitely caught Auburn off guard.

Once again, the Hogs were able to run the ball some in that drive, a component that’s been missing for much of this season.

Nobody else quite like Cam Newton

October, 16, 2010
AUBURN, Ala. -- You don’t have to watch Cam Newton very long to know that he’s special.

There just aren’t a lot of quarterbacks anywhere who can do everything he can.

On Auburn’s touchdown drive to tie the game, he showed the moves of a tailback on his 22-yard run with the way he made defenders miss in the open field.

And then down on the goal line, he simply ran over Arkansas linebacker Jerico Nelson for the touchdown. Nelson’s not a little guy, either, weighing 214 pounds. But he went flying backward when Newton lowered his shoulder to score his tenth rushing touchdown of the season.

The Tigers have also speeded this game up on offense, the kind of pace offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn loves.