University of Auburn junior quarterback Cam Newton had an incredible week.
On Monday, Newton led the Tigers against the University of Oregon Ducks in the BCS National Championship game. In a surprisingly low-scoring contest, Newton passed for 265 yards and two touchdowns, both coming in the first half as the Tigers took a 16-11 lead into halftime.
The second half was an offensive struggle. Both teams combined for only 14 points, 11 of which came in the final three minutes. A field goal by Auburn senior kicker Wes Bynum in the third quarter gave the Tigers a 19-11 lead going into the fourth quarter.
After two unsuccessful possessions, Oregon got the ball back, down eight points, with just under five minutes to play. Oregon sophomore quarterback Darron Thomas orchestrated a two-minute, fifty-five yard drive before throwing a touchdown pass to sophomore running back LaMichael James. The crucial two-point conversion was successful on a Thomas pass to senior wide receiver Jeff Maehl.
With two minutes and thirty-three seconds remaining in the national championship game, the score was tied and Auburn was getting the ball back with a chance to win the game.
Auburn’s drive started at their own twenty-three yard line. They needed 75 yards to score a touchdown and around 50 yards to get into field goal range for Bynum.
It was Newton’s time to shine.
Newton led a drive into Oregon territory that was capped off by a dramatic thirty-seven yard run to the Oregon twenty-three yard line by freshman running back Michael Dyer. The Tigers were already in field goal range for Bynum, so the Newton-led offense methodically ran out the clock as they moved the ball to the Oregon one-yard line before calling a time-out with just two seconds left on the clock.
Bynum came in, executed the chip shot, game-winning field goal, and Cam Newton and the Auburn Tigers were national champions.
The championship capped off an historic and tumultuous season for Newton. He compiled a resume of 2854 passing yards and 30 passing touchdowns to go along with 1473 rushing yards and 20 rushing touchdowns. He also won the Heisman trophy in December amidst speculation that he and/or his father had violated NCAA regulations.
Newton announced Thursday that he will be eligible for the NFL draft this April, and is projected to be a first-round pick. If the past has taught us anything, it is that no matter where Newton ends up, his future will certainly be exciting and unforgettable.