Auburn pulls Iron Bowl comeback
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – Cam Newton threw for three touchdowns and ran for another, leading No. 2 Auburn back from a 24-point deficit Friday for a stunning 28-27 victory over No. 9 Alabama that kept the Tigers on course for a shot at the national championship.
Auburn (12-0, 8-0 Southeastern Conference) trailed 21-0 before it even picked up a first down, and Alabama (9-3, 5-3) had a 314-2 lead in total yards at one point in the first half.
But Newton, with the signature performance in what has become a season of controversy, rallied the Tigers for a victory that left the crowd of more than 101,000 in stunned disbelief when it was over. He threw scoring passes of 36 yards to Emory Blake, 70 yards to Terrell Zachery and, finally, a 7-yarder to Philip Lutzenkirchen with 11:55 remaining that gave Auburn its first lead of the day.
It held up, keeping the Tigers perfect heading to next week’s SEC championship game against South Carolina. If Auburn wins that one, the reward will certainly be a spot in the national title game.
Newton also had a 1-yard TD run, and this may be the performance that locks up the Heisman Trophy – if allegations that his father sought a huge payout for the quarterback to sign out of junior college don’t weigh too heavily on the voters’ minds.
Certainly on the field, Newton has no peer.
It’s unlikely that anyone in the country could lead a team back from such a daunting deficit at Bryant-Denny Stadium, where Alabama had won 20 in a row. Newton didn’t do much on the ground, rushing for just 39 yards and enduring plenty of big hits in the backfield, including four sacks.
But Newton showed he’s no slouch with his arm, either, completing 13 of 20 for 216 yards.
Greg McElroy threw for a career-high 377 yards for Alabama, but he wasn’t able to finish. He left with a concussion after being body-slammed to the turf on a vicious sack by T’Sharvan Bell in the closing minutes.
No. 1 Oregon 48,
No. 20 Arizona 28
EUGENE, Ore. – Darron Thomas passed for three touchdowns and ran for another and Oegon earned at least a share of a second consecutive Pac-10 title.
LaMichael James shrugged off talk of an injury to run for 126 yards and two scores for the Ducks (11-0, 8-0), who trailed 19-14 at halftime but surged in the second half to stay on course for a trip to the BCS national title game.
The Ducks can lock up an outright conference title and a spot in the national championship game in Glendale, Ariz., next week with a victory at Oregon State.
It was the third straight loss for Arizona (7-4, 4-4), which ultimately couldn’t keep up with the Ducks’ speedy spread-option.
Nick Foles passed for a career-high 448 yards and three touchdown, including an 85-yard score to Juron Criner.
Thomas completed 14 of 24 passes for 148 yards and an interception. Oregon finished with 537 yards total offense, but Arizona kept up with 506 yards.
No. 16 Nebraska 45,
LINCOLN, Neb. – Running back Rex Burkhead passed for two touchdowns and ran for 101 yards and another score, and the Cornhuskers clinched the Big 12 North in the final meeting between Nebraska and Colorado before they head to different conferences.
Nebraska coach Bo Pelini was on his best behavior after his sideline berating of officials and quarterback Taylor Martinez last week earned him a public admonishment from the Nebraska chancellor.
Nebraska (10-2, 6-2) will go to Arlington, Texas, next Saturday hoping to win its third Big 12 title, and first since 1999, before going to the Big Ten next year.
Colorado (5-7, 2-6), which played its third game under interim coach Brian Cabral, failed to become bowl eligible in its last season before joining the Pacific-12.
With Martinez out because of injuries to his right ankle and left foot, the Cornhuskers relied heavily on Burkhead to take pressure off backup quarterback Cody Green.
Green completed 10 of 13 passes for 80 yards and two touchdowns, and Roy Helu Jr. ran 15 times for 77 yards.
Fired Colorado coach Dan Hawkins watched from the press box as his son, Cody Hawkins, became Colorado’s all-time leading passer when he threw a 29-yard touchdown pass to Will Jefferson. Hawkins was 10 of 26 for 163 yards and two TDs. He finished his career with 7,409 yards, breaking Joel Klatt’s record of 7,375.