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Auburn is led again by 1-2 punch

Associated Press / December 15, 2010

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NEW YORK — No. 1 Auburn will have an All-American anchoring each side of the ball when the Tigers play for the national championship.

Heisman Trophy winner Cam Newton and defensive tackle Nick Fairley were voted to The Associated Press All-America team along with Oregon running back LaMichael James, who will face Auburn in the BCS title game in Glendale, Ariz., Jan. 10.

Auburn is one of five teams with two players on the first team.

Wisconsin had two players from its excellent offensive line: Outland Trophy winning tackle Gabe Carimi and guard John Moffitt.

Oklahoma State, with the nation’s No. 1 offense, placed wide receiver Justin Blackmon and running back Kendall Hunter on the first team. Rival Oklahoma, which edged out the Cowboys for the Big 12 South title, had receiver Ryan Broyles and safety Quinton Carter on the team.

But no team had two more dominant players this season than Auburn.

Newton, in his first season with the Tigers after transferring from junior college, became the first quarterback in Southeastern Conference history to reach 2,000 yards passing and 1,000 yards rushing in the same season. He also accounted for 49 touchdowns (28 passing, 20 rushing and one receiving).

“We knew and understood he was talented, but we didn’t realize he could do things on his own that a defense just can’t account for,’’ Auburn coach Gene Chizik said.

Newton was practically unstoppable and Fairley was nearly unblockable.

The 295-pound junior led Auburn with 10 1/2 sacks and 21 tackles for loss, blossoming into one of the best defensive tackles into the country after starting just two games in 2009.

No. 2 Oregon was represented on the first team by James, who led the nation in rushing at 153 yards per game and finished third in the Heisman voting.

Heisman runner-up Andrew Luck of Stanford was the second-team quarterback, finishing behind Newton again. Kellen Moore of Boise State, the other Heisman finalist, was the third-team quarterback for the second straight year.