He stood tall on and off the field in victory, after overcoming hurdles during the regular season that included an NCAA investigation. After winning the national championship in college football, Cam Newton was quick to offer praise to God.
|Newton accepting Heisman Trophy|
“It’s just a God thing,” he told a crush of reporters as he stood on the field. “I thank God every single day. I’m just His instrument and He’s using me on a consistent basis daily.”
The much-hyped BCS Championship game was exciting to the final moments, as No. 1-ranked Auburn defeated No. 2 Oregon 22-19 in the last two seconds with a field goal. Despite back problems for quarterback Cam Newton, he threw for 265 yards and two touchdowns, along with 64 rushing yards.
Auburn Center Ryan Pugh once said of Newton, “He’s like an 8-year-old trapped in a giant’s body.” Newton is listed at 6’6′ and 250 pounds on the team roster.
The game was preceded by a somber note, as the crowd stood for a moment of silence to remember the six victims of the assassination attempt on Rep. Gabrielle Giffords in Tucson only two days before. As the victims of the shooting had their names read before the capacity crowd, a choir sang “God Bless America.”
Cam Newton won the Heisman Trophy, and the Maxwell and Davey O’Brien awards, after he completed 67% of his passes during the regular season for a total of 2,589 yards and 28 touchdowns, plus 1,409 yards rushing.
In Newton’s remarks after the game, he continued to marvel at the ways God is using him. “He’s using me to extend his Word and I’m a prime example of how God could turn something that was bad into something that was very great.”
Some thought this day might never come after the NCAA launched an investigation of Newton for possible recruiting violations. He was suspended briefly, but investigators discovered his father Cecil had improperly “shopped” his son to Mississippi State after he left junior college. There was no evidence that Cam had any knowledge of his father’s activities, and he was allowed to resume competitive play.
The outsized quarterback learned important lessons during a season of challenge. “Anything is possible,” he told reporters. “Five or six months ago nobody would have bet their last dollar to say Auburn University would win the national championship. But now, on January 10, 2011 we’re smiling, saying, ‘We did it.’”
Auburn’s coach, Gene Chizik, also prefaced his remarks after the game with a reference to the Lord. “I can’t be more blessed to be part of a team like this. God was with us.”