Monday, November 29, 2010

Cam Newton Displays Mental Toughness

"Cameron Newton is physically and mentally as tough as I've ever seen," Auburn coach Gene Chizik said. "Period."
Despite allegations surrounding his eligibility and an NCAA investigation related to alleged irregularity in his recruitment, Auburn
 quarterback Cam Newton led the Tigers to a victory over the Alabama Crimson Tide on Saturday.  

The Crimson Tide already had a 21-0 lead by the time the Tigers got their initial first down in the game.  Ultimately, coming from 24 points down to end Alabama's 20-game win streak in Tuscaloosa,
the #2 national ranked team beat the defending national champions.  

Pressure is nothing new to the Tigers.  Trailing in eight games this season, coming back is no problem for Cam Newton and the 12-0 Tigers.

Also, Newton retained his lead in the USA Today Heisman Trophy poll for the fifth straight week.  He earned 48 points and eight out of a possible 10 first-place votes from those who participated in USA Today’s survey.

Newton finally got Auburn on the board with a 36-yard touchdown pass to Emory Blake, cutting the deficit to 24-7. On the second play of the second half, Newton lofted a 70-yard touchdown pass to Terrell Zachery.  He later scored from the 1-yard line to cut Alabama's lead to 24-21.

After Alabama kicked its second field goal, Newton drove the Tigers for the winning score. He completed a crucial fourth-down pass to Darvin Adams along the sideline to keep the possession alive. Finally, he rolled to his right and threw back across the field to a wide-open Philip Lutzenkirchen for a 7-yard TD with 11:55 remaining in the game.

Newton finished the game 13-of-20 passing for 216 yards and three TDs; 22 rushes for 39 yards and one TD in 28-27 win over Alabama.  

No player has meant more to his team's success than Newton, who has kept the Tigers unbeaten throwing for 2,254 with only 6 interceptions and rushing for another 1,336 yards while accounting for an incredible 40 touchdowns. He’s the leading rusher in the SEC and has the second-best quarterback rating in the country next to Kellen Moore of Boise State.

In four games vs. Top 25 teams, Newton has been responsible for nearly 70 percent of the Tigers' total yards and has thrown for five TDs and run for nine more. This week he gets a second crack at South Carolina in the SEC Championship Game against whom he amassed 334 yards and five TDs on Sept. 25.

The 250-pound Newton was at his best when the Tigers defeated South Carolina, 35-27, as three-point home favorites. Newton rushed for 176 yards and three touchdowns, while also passing for two more additional touchdowns.   In a recent game against the University of Georgia, Newton scored four total touchdowns – two passing and two rushing – in a 49-31 victory.. 

“That type of focus will go a long way in convincing NFL scouts that he ... has the mental toughness to thrive under the microscope.” 
--CBS Sports’ Rob Rang praising Newton’s ability to overcome the off-field scrutiny that has surrounded him in recent weeks, following Newton’s performance against Georgia.

A win by the Tigers against South Carolina would surely put them in the national championship game, possibly against the University of Oregon (who have one more game against Oregon State).

Excerpts from (November 17, 2010), (November 27, 2010), (November 29, 2010), (November 29, 2010).

For more on performance psychology and the Peak Performance System, click on The Handbook of Peak Performance and, the smartphone app, Mindfuel.

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