Defense ready for Cam test

South Carolina will look to do what has been impossible so far on Saturday, shutting down Auburn quarterback Cameron Newton. The outstanding quarterback, who has battled through defenses and supposed NCAA violations alike, will be attempting to lead Auburn to its first SEC title since 2004, whole USC looks to win its first league championship.

On September 25th, 2010, in Auburn, Alabama, it looked as if Cam Newton was headed to his first loss as an Auburn Tiger. Trailing 20-7 and struggling on offense, Newton suddenly revived the AU attack and led the Tigers to a 35-27 win, partly thanks to four costly turnovers in the fourth quarter for South Carolina.

That game was only a prequel to the legend Newton would become, as he rushed for 176 yards and accounted for all five Auburn touchdowns in the win. He has gone on to become the prohibitive favorite to win the Heisman Trophy, but the Gamecocks would love nothing more than to help derail those hopes in the Georgia Dome this Saturday.

While the same Newton will be posing the same problems this weekend, South Carolina defenders are hoping that their knowledge of the Auburn QB will be very beneficial this time around.

"I think it will help," said South Carolina defensive lineman Travian Roberston. "We already know what to expect out of this offense. We just have to take care of our part as far as stopping him and doing the best we can to get him down every chance we can, and just making up the mistakes we had the first game. But we already know this team and this offense, so we've just got to play our part and just try not to make too many mistakes."

Auburn's spread-option attack can be difficult to contain both on the ground and through the air, and Robertson said that September's game certainly was a wake up call to just what all Newton can accomplish under the guidance of Tiger offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn.

"I mean, the type of offense they run, we actually saw it. But we never had a guy that big and that fast that ran that offense until we got to that game. But the type of offense that he runs, we saw it before, but we never saw a kid like Cam Newton run and run the offense. So it was just a matter of stopping him itself. It wasn't a surprise as far as what they run. It was just him, himself, he's a great player."

Linebacker Josh Dickerson shared the sentiment that being aware of all the things Newton can do with the football is a big advantage this time around.

"Yes I would definitely say it's an advantage because playing him the first time we know how good of an athlete he really is and know what we need to do more to be prepared for him," said Dickerson. "Just him being the athlete that he is. His running ability, he's a great thrower, just a great all around athlete."

One matchup that has fans and media pundits filled with anticipation is the duel on the ground between Newton and South Carolina running back Marcus Lattimore. Newton enters the game as the SEC's leading rusher with 1,336 yards while the Lattimore is the leading rusher at running back and second in the conference at 1,114 yards. Lattimore had just 33 yards rushing in the first meeting.

The young South Carolina runner has been extremely complimentary of the man who has led Auburn to a 12-0 record while rushing his way through the SEC record books.

"Newton, he can do it all," said Lattimore. "He can throw the ball. When he has to take off, he'll take off. He can make people miss, and he's big and fast at the same time. It's something I've never seen. Nobody has stopped him up to this point. We've got a big challenge as a defense."

Wideout Tori Gurley shared the same feelings as Lattimore on containing the league's top running team and top rusher. Add to that that Newton comes in as the SEC's highest rated passer, and it is clear the Gamecocks will have their hands full in containing the Tiger's offensive game.

But it is also obvious that Gurley and the rest of the Gamecocks are prepared and confident to face Auburn.

"I just pray that our defense is ready for that task," added Gurley. "He's a pretty good player and he's proven that he can get the job done. I'm very confident in our defense that they're going to make the plays for us to win this game."

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