ATLANTA - Cam Newton still seems a little dazed by it all, how a guy who was playing at a junior college in Texas just a season ago has the Heisman Trophy in his grasp, his team just one win away from the national championship.
With his best performance yet in a week when NCAA pronounced him good to go, Newton accounted for six touchdowns in the Southeastern Conference championship game to lead No. 2 Auburn to a 56-17 rout of 18th-ranked South Carolina on Saturday.
"It's not even sunk in," said Newton, who threw for a career-best 335 yards and four touchdowns, plus ran for a pair of scores. "I've just been living the dream."
An even bigger game looms on Jan. 10.
Auburn, which came into the day leading the Bowl Championship Series standings, wrapped up its spot in the title game against top-ranked Oregon, which secured a trip to Glendale, Ariz., with a 37-20 victory over Oregon State.
The Ducks will be facing a player that Auburn coach Gene Chizik calls the best he's ever seen at the college level. That includes Vince Young, who was at Texas when Chizik was the Longhorns' defensive coordinator.
"When you look at the 13-game span, I've never seen anything like it," Chizik said. "It's running the ball. It's throwing the ball. Usually great quarterbacks do one or the other better. What God has blessed Cameron with is the ability to be really, really good at both."
"You can't tackle him," Spurrier said after being denied his seventh SEC title. "He's almost a one-man show but those guys really help and their receivers are really good. With that offensive line and him, it's hard to stop him."
The wins by Oregon and Auburn denied another team with a perfect record, TCU, a shot at becoming the first school from a non-BCS conference to play for the title.
Before the national title is decided, Newton will likely be picking up the college game's top individual honor when the Heisman Trophy is awarded next weekend in New York City — especially after the NCAA cleared him of any wrongdoing in a pay-for-play recruiting scandal involving his father.
Or he just ran right over 'em.
Newton guided the Tigers (13-0) to touchdowns on their first three possessions, though South Carolina (9-4) was in the game as halftime approached. Trailing only 21-14, the Gamecocks simply had to knock down Newton's last-gasp heave on the final play before the break.
They couldn't even do that.
"That was huge momentum swing right before the half," Chizik said.
Maybe there's a bit of karma in how things worked out.
While many will surely consider any title to be tainted because of Newton's father seeking illegal payments during the recruiting process, the Tigers can counter that this makes up for the 2004 season.
This game was nearly as lopsided. In the second half, Newton ran right over Antonio Allen on a 1-yard touchdown, sending the linebacker tumbling onto his back to make it 35-14. The Auburn star finished his day with a nifty little 7-yard scoring pass to Emory Blake in the right corner of the end zone for a 49-14 lead.
Well, there was one more snap to take.
Newton was sent out only so he could come right back off to a fitting ovation for the Auburn side of the Georgia Dome. He waved his arms, pumped his fists and was wrapped up in a big hug from Chizik when he got to the sideline. Then he yucked it up with 1985 Heisman winner Bo Jackson, who watched the game standing on the Tigers bench.
"Heisman! Heisman! Heisman!" the orange-clad fans roared.
CFT: Johnny Manziel nearly transferred out of Texas A&M before the 2012 season after being suspended, according to reports, but he stayed after his successful appeal.
About 325 former Penn State players, among them Kerry Collins and Paul Posluszny, have signed a statement supporting the lawsuit filed by the family of former coach Joe Paterno.
Newton leads Auburn, again
Dec. 5, 2010: Auburn head coach Gene Chizik, South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier and Cam Newton discuss the Auburn QB's performance.
Video: Football from NBC Sports
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BCS title game
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