Kentucky's Upset Bid of No. 8 Auburn Falls Short
Oct. 9, 2010
LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) - Cam Newton drove Auburn into position for Wes Byrum's 24-yard field goal as time expired, lifting the eighth-ranked Tigers past Kentucky 37-34 on Saturday.
Newton ran for a career-high 198 yards and four touchdowns and deftly guided the Tigers (6-0, 3-0 Southeastern Conference) 88 yards in the final 7:22 after the Wildcats tied it at 34.
The Tigers chewed up the clock behind the steady play of Newton, converting three third downs on the final drive. They moved inside the Kentucky 10 then set the ball up for Byrum.
The senior calmly drilled the fifth game-winner of his career and his teammates ran onto the field in celebration.
Randall Cobb accounted for four touchdowns for the Wildcats (3-3, 0-3) - one passing, two running and one receiving - but couldn't stop Kentucky from dropping its third straight.
The victory avenged a 21-14 home loss to the Wildcats a year ago, a defeat that continued an October swoon by the Tigers after they got off to a 5-0 start under Gene Chizik.
The Tigers gave that one away by allowing the Wildcats to score twice in the final eight minutes. They nearly let it slip away again after a 17-point lead evaporated.
Newton and the Tigers dominated during the first half, scoring on all five possessions. Yet the Wildcats rallied even without running back Derrick Locke, who went out in the third quarter with a shoulder injury.
Cobb then put the Wildcats on his slender shoulders, one-upping Newton with some dazzling playmaking out of the "WildCobb" formation.
He finished with 121 yards of total offense - 47 rushing, 68 receiving and six passing - and his ridiculous 26-yard run in the third quarter led to his own 1-yard burst that tied the game at 31.
Too bad Cobb didn't play defense too.
Though Kentucky found a way to put the clamps on Newton in the second half, they couldn't when it mattered.
The Wildcats tied it at 34 on a 35-yard field goal by Craig McIntosh and the Tigers nearly cost themselves when they got fancy on the ensuing kickoff.
Auburn's Demond Washington fielded the kickoff at the goal line but then tried to flip it to Terrell Zachary on a reverse. The ball stayed on the turf for a tantalizing second before Zachary fell on it at the Auburn 7.
Newton went to work, leading a 19-play drive that chewed up the clock. Whenever it appeared the Wildcats were close to getting a pivotal stop, he found a way to get the necessary yardage.
Auburn moved all the way to the Kentucky 5 when Byrum trotted on to keep the Tigers perfect.
For the first 30 minutes, it didn't appear any late exploits would be necessary.
Auburn's visit marked the beginning of a pivotal three-game homestand for the Wildcats, one they viewed as an opportunity to turn their season around after losses at Florida and Mississippi.
Instead, Newton turned Kentucky's leaky defense inside out.
He made it look almost comically easy at times.
The Tigers scored each of their five first-half possessions to build a 31-17 lead as the Wildcats were either unwilling or unable to slow Newton down.
Whenever he ran into trouble, which wasn't often, he'd simply tuck and run. Newton stiff-armed Kentucky's Ronnie Snead to the ground during a 17-yard run on Auburn's first possession, then split between two Kentucky linemen on a 35-yard run in the second quarter.
Newton was just as dynamic with his arm. The SEC's most efficient passer did whatever he wanted against Kentucky's overmatched secondary, even when it looked as if he was just messing around. He hit Kodi Burns for a ridiculous 33-yard completion in the second quarter, a pass he threw off one foot while running out of bounds.
The Wildcats made Newton look human for long stretches in the second half. They picked off the SEC's most efficient passer and kept him from breaking loose.
Until the end, that is.
Newton accounted for 50 yards rushing on the last drive and threw for 21 more to keep Auburn as the last perfect team in Alabama after the top-ranked Crimson Tide lost to No. 19 South Carolina earlier in the day.