Caylin Newton, younger brother of Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton, has his entire college football career ahead of him, minus one game. But that first game will be hard to top.
Saturday, Caylin Newton led Howard, a 45-point underdog, to an improbable 43-40 win over host UNLV. The Associated Press deemed the win the greatest college football upset of all time against the spread. That’s right, all time.
Newton totaled 330 total offensive yards and three touchdowns in Howard’s first game under new head coach Mike London.
According to the Las Vegas Sun’s Mike Grimala, Newton repeatedly opened the UNLV defense with option plays. Rushing, he ran for 190 yards and two touchdowns on 21 carries. Passing, the younger Newton threw for 140 yards and one touchdown.
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It was perhaps fitting that the game was in Las Vegas, where someone apparently made a costly miscalculation on this spread. Vegas analyst RJ Bell tweeted early Sunday that a $100 bet on Howard to win outright would have paid out $55,000.
However, it’s understandable that Howard was such a huge underdog.
The Bison, an FCS member from the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference, had never beaten an FBS school before and was 3-19 in the last two seasons, including embarrassing losses to Maryland (a 52-13 drubbing) and Rutgers (52-14 ) last season. Two years ago, the Bison were trounced 49-0 by Appalachian State and 76-0 by Boston College.
But those Howard teams didn’t have London, the former Virginia coach, or Newton, the younger brother of a former NFL MVP that no Power 5 school thought was worthy of a scholarship offer.
Caylin Newton, who is six inches shorter and about 50 pounds lighter than his brother Cam, had thrown for 3,322 yards and 33 touchdowns as a senior at Atlanta’s Grady High. Rushing, he logged more than 1,000 yards and 13 touchdowns, according to newspaper reports.
Still, at 5-foot-11, Newton’s only other offers were from Hampton, Kentucky Christian, Texas Southern and Savannah State, according to The Undefeated.
Caylin Newton chose Howard two days before London was hired, the Post reported. Though London had been a head coach in the ACC and won an FCS national championship at Richmond, the same level at which Howard plays, the younger Newton said he had never heard of him.
But Caylin Howard had made up his mind and enrolled at the historically black university in Washington last spring after graduating early from high school.
“My dad said don’t get caught up into the big, big schools, because they might not treat you the same,” Caylin said. “Coming to Howard, it’s not a football school right now. It will be, but it’s not right now.”
Interestingly, the Las Vegas Sun reported that UNLV’s freshman quarterback, Armani Rogers, came into the game drawing comparisons to Cam Newton. The Rebels, a Mountain West School, came into the game “ brimming with confidence and dreaming of an eventual bowl berth.”
But the seeds of the game’s greatest upset ever were planted on the opening kickoff, when UNLV managed to draw an offsides penalty even before the historic game officially began.
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