As we hit another Monday, the unofficial midway point of summer has passed with the 4th in our rearview mirrors. That doesn’t mean that we’re slowing down in the slightest though, as the Countdown to Kickoff continues with a vengeance.
Before you get too far into today’s entry, cue the theme music.
In 2010, we didn’t quite realize what we had until a few games into the season. Despite the run that really began with today’s entry, the Auburn offense and Cam Newton hadn’t been stellar. They scored just 17 against Mississippi State and were shut down late, and it took a whole half to get going and climb out of a hole against Clemson.
That was before South Carolina came to town for the first of what would end up being two meetings that season. It was a battle of highly-regarded freshman running backs (both of whom had flirted heavily with Auburn) in Michael Dyer and Marcus Lattimore. However, it turned out to be the moment when Cam Newton showed exactly why he was such a physical and outstanding athletic freak.
Midway through the first quarter, Gus Malzahn called the zone read play that would become Auburn’s bread and butter in 2010, and Cam had his first real wow moment. Check it.
Story time. I was grabbed by the South Carolina tape-delay TV broadcast crew — you remember, when games would air back on CSS the next day, only the version with Gamecock broadcasters — to spot for them up on the photo deck. It’s not a hard job, just pointing out penalty flags, who made the tackle, and things that a play-by-play guy wouldn’t notice if he’s focused on following the ball.
On the Cam Newton run above, I pointed to his chart and pointed at every defender that had a chance to tackle Cam and missed. It was a lot.
I remember on the Auburn University website, this picture headlined the front page for a few days after this game. It was a nice reminder every time I would go to check my TigerMail.
The image on Auburn’s website was taken a millisecond before, and you could see the Gamecock cheerleader in the background putting her hand in front of her face so as not to watch Cam tear up her beloved team.
That game wasn’t all sunshine though, as South Carolina built a 20-7 lead in the second quarter. Two more Cam Newton touchdown runs put Auburn up 21-20 midway through the third, and then two touchdown passes from Cam gave Auburn the 35-27 lead late before a Connor Shaw interception sealed the deal for the Tigers.
In this game, Cam began an out of control five game stretch. He ran for 176 yards and three scores against #12 South Carolina, then threw for three touchdowns the next week against Louisiana-Monroe, before ripping off 198, 188, and 217 yards on the ground against Kentucky, Arkansas, and LSU in that order. That also includes 12 rushing touchdowns during that span.
Cam, how we miss thee.