Auburn, Ala.--The fallout from Auburn's impressive 24-17 victory over LSU Saturday continued on Monday as a pair of Tigers were honored by the Southeastern Conference for their play against the Bengal Tigers. Juniors Cameron Newton and Nick Fairley had another huge performance as coach Gene Chizik's top-ranked Tigers remain undefeated heading into this weekend's showdown with Ole Miss.
A three-time winner of the SEC Offensive Player of the Week already, Newton again seemingly outdid himself on Saturday, rushing for a career-berst 217 yards and two touchdowns on 28 carries while also hitting on 10-16 passes for 86 yards. He was one of the main cogs in an offense that ran for 440 yards against the SEC's top-ranked defense. In the performance he broke the SEC single season record for rushing yards by a quarterback with 1,077 and he also set Auburn's single-season touchdown record with 27 combined rushing and passing touchdowns.
Despite not running the ball a single time against ULM earlier this season at the request of the coaches to save wear and tear on the 6-6, 250 quarterback, Newton still leads the league in rushing by a whopping 354 yards. In just eight games he already has five of the top 50 rushing marks in Auburn history. He's the only player in Auburn history to rush for 170 or more yards in four consecutive conference games. He joined Bo Jackson as the only players in school history to have five 170+ yard games in a single season. Jackson accomplished the feat in his Heisman Trophy winning season of 1985.
Fairley puts the beatdown on the LSU offense.
While Newton has been the toast of the offense and the nation in recent weeks, Fairley has steadily become a dominant force for the Auburn defense in the middle. On Saturday he had six tackles, including three and a half for losses, and added two and a half quarterback sacks in the win. He is now second in the SEC in sacks with seven and a half and leads the SEC and is second nationally in tackles for loss with 17.
It is the fourth time to be honored by the SEC for Fairley this season after he was named the SEC Defensive Player of the Week following Auburn's win over Mississippi State and the Defensive Lineman of the Week after wins over ULM and Arkansas. He has at least one tackle for a loss in every Auburn game this season.
“Going out there talking to Coach (Tracy) Rocker before the game, he said to win this game we are going to have to ball,” Fairley said. “The D line is going to have to keep No. 9 (quarterback Jordan Jefferson) contained and get to No. 12 (quarterback Jarrett Lee).
“That is what we worked on all week,” the junior added. “I tried to use a lot of pass rush moves to mess up the timing with him and his receivers. We kind of did that and came out victorious.”
Jefferson completed 7-14 passes for only 46 yards with one interception and Lee hit 8-14 passes for 43 yards on Saturday.
“As the game went along we kept fighting,” said Fairley, who added that the defense felt like they should be able to shut down LSU’s offense which his Tigers were able to do with the game on the line.
With the Tigers now No. 1 in the BCS ratings, Fairley admitted it is difficult not to think about that, but said a key to Auburn’s success will be to focus on this week’s game vs. Ole Miss. “It is very hard not to pay attention to it, but that is what makes the good teams great not paying to that and each week working hard and trying to get better.”
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