In honor of Heisman Trophy winner Cam Newton doing the Top 10 list Monday night on the “The Late Show with David Letterman,” here are my Top 10 Newton moments from this season:
1. His 49-yard touchdown run against LSU gets more impressive every time you watch it. He breaks tackles. He accelerates like a tailback and simply isn’t going down until he reaches the end zone -- breaking a 10-10 tie in the third quarter.
2. It’s the kind of pass most quarterbacks wouldn’t even dream about attempting. Scrambling and about to go out of bounds on the right sideline, Newton flings a pass back across his body for a 33-yard gain to Kodi Burns against Kentucky.
3. If you ever wondered how powerful the 6-6, 250-pound Newton really is, watch him plow right over Arkansas linebacker Jerico Nelson for the first of four touchdowns he accounted for against the Hogs, this one a 5-yard run where Nelson ended up on his back side.
4. Newton’s 54-yard touchdown run in the first game against South Carolina sort of ignited the Newton legend. He darted up the middle, balanced himself with his hand after being hit and then turned on the jets down the right sideline – diving the last 6 yards into the end zone.
5. The 51-yard Hail Mary pass to Darvin Adams on the last play of the first half all but finished South Carolina in the SEC championship game. Newton threw an absolute dart from about 60 yards, and it was deflected up into Adams’ waiting hands.
6. Not only can Newton run and pass, but he can also catch. He scored the Tigers’ first touchdown in the Ole Miss game on a 20-yard reception from Burns. Newton went up high in the right corner of the end zone with a defender all over him and made sure he came down inbounds. If you didn’t know better, you would have thought he was a receiver by trade.
7. It wasn’t his longest pass, but might have been one of his most important passes of the season. Newton delivered an 8-yard strike to Adams on the sideline, converting a clutch fourth-and-3 play from the Alabama 47-yard line. It was the key play in the Tigers’ game-winning scoring drive and reinforced just how accurate a passer Newton can be.
8. One of his prettiest deep balls of the season came against Clemson, a 78-yard touchdown pass to Terrell Zachery where Newton fooled the defense with a pump fake and then put the ball right on the money to break a 17-17 tie in the third quarter.
9. In the 49-31 win against Georgia, Newton made a couple of NFL-caliber throws in tight windows. His 18-yard scoring toss to tight end Philip Lutzenkirchen right before half was as good as it gets.
10. Yes, it was just Arkansas State, but Newton’s 71-yard touchdown run in the season opener made all of us sit up and take notice. Come on, quarterbacks don’t run 71 yards for a touchdown every day. But, then, quarterbacks like Newton don’t come around every day, either.