If Auburn quarterback Cameron Newton keeps up his current pace this season, he will join an exclusive club.
Only seven quarterbacks in FBS history have passed for 2,000 yards and rushed for 1,000 yards in the same season. Newton is on track to become the eighth with 928 passing yards and 474 rushing yards through his first five games this season.
He would be the first SEC quarterback in history to do it. Florida’s Tim Tebow was close, but he never rushed for 1,000 yards in a season.
The only SEC quarterback to rush for 1,000 yards in a season was Auburn’s Jimmy Sidle in 1963 when he ran for 1,006 yards. But Sidle only threw for 706 yards that season.
The 6-6, 250-pound Newton hasn’t been hesitant about taking off and running this season, although his only rushing attempt last week against Louisiana-Monroe was an 11-yard sack.
The Tigers didn’t need him to run the ball in that game, a 52-3 rout, and were wise to keep him from taking any unnecessary hits.
Even for a guy as big as Newton, there are only so many hits a quarterback can take.
The Auburn coaches will absolutely monitor the pounding Newton is taking, especially with the second half of the season approaching. The Tigers play 11 straight weeks without a bye.
But they’re also not going to hold him back.
“We’re going to do what we have to do to win,” Auburn coach Gene Chizik said. “Sometimes, that could require that he runs the ball more than not. Sometimes, he doesn’t. A lot of that is predicated on what the defense is doing and if we can we outnumber guys. What is their idea as the game goes on about putting enough guys up in the box to stop our potential quarterback run game?
“There are a lot of variables that go into how much we would run a quarterback. I think there is a fine line in there because you want to keep your quarterback for all 12 games. So, we definitely do that and are very prudent about how we proceed. But at the end of the day, we’ve got to do whatever it takes to win.”
Here’s a rundown of the FBS quarterbacks in the 2,000/1,000 club. Notice that a couple of the guys have done it twice and that three different players did it a year ago:
2009: Dwight Dasher, Middle Tennessee (2,789 passing, 1,154 rushing)
2009: Colin Kaepernick, Nevada (2,052 passing, 1,183 rushing)
2009: Joe Webb, UAB (2,299 passing, 1,427 rushing)
2008: Colin Kaepernick, Nevada (2,849 passing, 1,130 rushing)
2008: Joe Webb, UAB (2,367 passing, 1,021 rushing)
2007: Dan LeFevour, Central Michigan (3,652 passing, 1,122 rushing)
2005: Brad Smith, Missouri (2,304 passing, 1,301 rushing)
2005: Vince Young, Texas (3,036 passing, 1,050 rushing)
2002: Brad Smith, Missouri (2,333 passing, 1,029 rushing)
2001: Woodrow Dantzler, Clemson (2,360 passing, 1,004 rushing)