See the tall, chiseled ball carrier, smiling from ear hole to ear hole and lowering his left shoulder instead of extending the traditional stiff-arm
Won’t happen, but StiffArmTrophy.com’s poll says Newton has run, passed, grinned and grown his way into contention for the real thing. As of this past week, he was No. 8 in a poll of actual Heisman voters.
Since then, players above Newton had negative outings. Leader and Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson didn‘t help his cause with interception-laced highlights in a loss to Michigan State.
Alabama running back Mark Ingram has had two sub-par games in a row, including 57 total yards and no touchdowns in a loss at South Carolina on Saturday. The 2009 Heisman winner was No. 4 this past week, as voted by a panel of 57 Heisman voters over 35 states.
Meanwhile, the 6-foot-6, 250-pound Newton plows on as the undisputed difference maker for 6-0 Auburn. The Tigers have jumped 15 spots to No. 7 in the Associated Press poll since preseason, and they wouldn‘t be ranked without their dual-threat phenom of a quarterback.
Camwow has cleaned up Auburn’s mess in close game after close game this season. He did it Saturday, running and passing Auburn to a 19-play, 86-yard drive to the winning field goal at Kentucky.
He rushed for 198 yards on the night and passed for 210. He ran for all of four of Auburn’s touchdowns and did everything but kick Wes Byrum’s three field goals.
If that doesn’t enhance Newton’s place in this week’s StiffArmTrophy poll, then try his growing resume:
• He leads the SEC and ranks 17th nationally (third among quarterbacks) in rushing at 112.0 yards a game. He has three 100-yard rushing games this season, all with at least 170 yards.
• He ranks second in the nation by being responsible for 21.0 points per game. He has had a hand in 21 of Auburn’s 28 touchdowns.
• Newton is second in the nation in passing efficiency (180.73) and 12th in total offense (301.7).
He’s the difference maker for two SEC teams. While Auburn has climbed into the national discussion with Newton, Florida has fallen out sans the quarterback who left amid negative off-field headlines.
Newton won a national championship during his junior college exile then emerged to earn his place in Heisman discussions midway through this season, but … there‘s a “but” coming.
There are a few buts coming.
But what about Arkansas and Saturday’s showdown with quarterback Ryan Mallett, No. 7 on the StiffArmTrophy poll?
But what about LSU and a showdown with hat luck and LSU‘s defense the following week?
But what about Alabama and scrambling against Crimson Tide linebackers like Dont’a Hightower?
Newton will also have his day at Ole Miss, which has its own dual-threat, fallen-angel quarterback who once projected as a Heisman contender for this season.
For all Newton has done — and done with style and infectious appeal — it’s all been buildup to the games ahead. It starts Saturday against Arkansas, a game best billed as The Freak vs. The Prototype.
The 6-6, 238-pound Mallett will put up numbers. The Tigers’ secondary gives cushion and allows yards because it’s just not that good, and Mallett is the best passer Auburn will face all year.
Newton must continually answer with his own trendy, run-and-gun style of quarterbacking.
If he keeps bringing the Camwow in more significant Auburn victories, then and he’ll keep rising in the StiffArmTrophy.com poll and, no doubt, appeal to the broader swath of 900-plus Heisman voters.
And we can all keep envisioning GrinningShoulderBoomTrophy.com.