Louisiana-Monroe-Auburn Preview

After overcoming double-digit deficits in their previous two

games, Auburn will look to get off to better start against an

opponent it has handled easily over the years. If quarterback

Cameron Newton continues to excel, that shouldn’t be too

difficult.

The No. 10 Tigers look to open 5-0 for the second consecutive

season Saturday when they host Louisiana-Monroe, which they have

dominated in winning all seven meetings.

Newton led Auburn back after it trailed 20-7 in the second

quarter against then-No. 12 South Carolina last Saturday, throwing

for 158 yards on 16-of-21 passing and rushing for a career-high 176

yards while accounting for five touchdowns in a 35-27 win.

That performance came one week after the junior helped the

Tigers erase a 17-3 halftime deficit versus Clemson, as he threw

for 203 yards and two TDs on just seven receptions, and rushed for

81 yards and a score in a 27-24 victory.

Newton leads the SEC with a 182.5 passer rating and tops the

conference with 485 rushing yards.

“You can just read Cam’s numbers and they speak for themselves,”

Auburn coach Gene Chizik said. “He is a competitor. Cameron is a

very humble guy who just comes to work every day. I think he is

getting better as a quarterback and a team leader and a guy who can

manage our offense every week.”

Newton was named SEC offensive player of the week for the second

time this season after the win over the Gamecocks.

“I think I could have played better,” he said. “All the credit

goes to the offensive line for stepping up to the challenge. The

defense and the offensive line did what they were supposed to do

and it showed statistically.”

Newton isn’t the only player Louisiana-Monroe needs to worry

about in the Tigers backfield. Freshman Michael Dyer is ninth in

the SEC with 312 rushing yards and ran for 100 last week.

Auburn is averaging 278 yards on the ground, and the

multi-talented Newton may also put the ball in the air often

against a Warhawks squad that is allowing 284 passing yards per

contest, seventh worst in the FBS.

The Tigers won the teams’ last matchup 34-0 on Aug. 30, 2008,

their second straight shutout in the series. Auburn is 15-0 against

Sun Belt Conference opponents.

Despite all of that, Newton isn’t taking Louisiana-Monroe

lightly.

“Absolutely. We can never overlook any team no matter how good

or how bad they are,” Newton said. “Louisiana-Monroe is an

excellent team and we’re not going to overlook them.”

Auburn’s Mike Blanc was named SEC defensive lineman of the week

after recording a season-high seven tackles against South

Carolina.

The Warhawks (1-2) defeated Southeastern Louisiana 21-20 in

their home opener last Saturday.

Louisiana-Monroe was led by quarterback Kolton Browning, who

compiled 324 yards of offense with two touchdowns through the air

and another on the ground.

Louisiana-Monroe is 0-18 against ranked opponents.