Oct. 3, 2010
AUBURN, Ala. (AP) -- Auburn coach Gene Chizik had a point to make after the win over Louisiana-Monroe: There's more to the eighth-ranked Tigers' offense than Cam Newton's double-dip playmaking.
He might have made it during the game, too. Auburn's biggest playmaker spent the 52-3 romp Saturday getting the ball to the other guys instead of gobbling up yards with either designed or improvised runs -- and absorbing the hits that come with them.
"I just want to be real clear," Chizik said. "There are 10 other guys out there. Of course, the quarterback is going to get the blame and the credit, but there are 10 other guys out there who play their rear end off every snap, every game.
"He does not have to win the games for us. We have a lot of good players out there, and he needs to do what we ask him to do within the offense to help us win the game but he does not need to win the games. We have other good players out there, and they all just need to play within the structure of the offense."
The structure of Auburn's offense likely still revolves around Newton's ability to run as well as pass, since that's been a big factor in rising to the team's highest ranking since 2006. Just not this time.
Newton harnessed his running abilities by staying put in the pocket. He was credited with one run in his 2½ quarters, and that came on a sack.
The benefit for Auburn is that Newton heads into a difficult four-game stretch without taking more of a pounding.
"Our plan was to keep him from running the ball much," offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn said. "He's carried the ball a lot the last couple of weeks. We'll do whatever we have to do to win the game. (Saturday), we didn't have to run him.
"It's good that his body won't be banged up."
Newton had run 25 times the previous week against South Carolina, and at least 15 in each of the previous three games.
Now, Auburn is set to finish October with visits to Kentucky and Mississippi sandwiched around games with No. 11 Arkansas and No. 12 LSU.
Newton seemed content to be the distributor during his 2½ quarters of action. He completed 14 of 19 passes for 245 yards and three touchdowns.
Newton has now had a direct hand in 17 of Auburn's 24 touchdowns.
"It's just not me," he said. "As far as the offensive line, I feel like I could have stood back there another 2 seconds and no one would have touched me. Everybody's hard work is showing up, and well deserved."
His day did include a 94-yarder to Emory Blake that was the longest play from scrimmage in Auburn history against the nation's 111th-rated pass defense.
But backups Barrett Trotter and Clint Moseley both had two runs while Newton played the role of dropback passer.
His running isn't a weapon the Tigers will keep on the shelf in more evenly matched games.
"You just take what the defense gives you," center Ryan Pugh said. "We don't ever notice when Cam's running really until he takes the long run in front of us. I'm sure the coaches thought in the back of their minds, we'd really like to keep him the whole season. There's no reason to take hits when he doesn't need to.
"It's not ever one of those things where you go into a game thinking you're not going to run him. The kid's a phenomenal athlete."