The 6-5, 226-pound sophomore from Kansas City, Mo., has developed into a weapon for the 5-2 Tigers. Along with the booming kickoffs and field goals of Cody Parkey and solid kickoff and punt return games, the Tigers have used special teams as an integral part of their wins.
"I'm just trying to do my job," says Clark, who is known for his hang time and ability to back opponents inside their own 20-yard line.
Late in the first quarter, Florida's speedy returner Chris Rainey couldn't handle a high Clark punt at his own 32-yard line where Daren Bates came up with the loose ball for Auburn. Three plays later quarterback Barrett Trotter hit DeAngelo Benton for Auburn's first touchdown from 25 yards out that eventually proved to be the winning points when Parkey tacked on the extra point.
Late in the game with Auburn clinging to a 14-6 lead, Clark boomed a punt from his own end zone that was muffed by Robert Clark, who has replaced Rainey. The 47-yarder was recovered by Ikeem Means. Six plays and 22 yards later, Parkey nailed a 42-yard field goal to give Auburn its final 17-6 advantage with only 35 seconds to play.
"On that last punt I just went to a one-step kick because they had been getting close with their corner rush all night," Clark says. "I hit it good. I got excited when we picked the ball up and headed for the end zone on both of the fumbles (muffs), but they called them back because we couldn't advance the ball. I think they should change the rule."
Clark who had a net average of 39.7 on nine punts and dropped two inside the Florida 20-yard line says he was actually hitting some too high.
"Some of my punts were so high they started stalling on me," he points out. "I had a tough night with that, but it definitely worked out as far as my normal punts went."
In other news and notes from Auburn's victory:
*Offense was almost non-existent in the first half with Auburn gaining 102 total yards to only 104 for the Gators. With Clint Moseley taking over for Barrett Trotter at quarterback in the second half, the Tigers finished with 278 yards, 181 yards on the ground and 123 through the air. Moseley had 90 of Auburn's passing yards with Trotter totaling 33, including a 25-yard touchdown to Benton for Auburn's first touchdown.
*Benton's touchdown was the first of the junior's college career. It came on a free play when Florida was offside and Trotter put the ball in the end zone where Benton went up over two Gator defenders for the touchdown.
*Onterio McCaleb's 14-yard run for a touchdown on the first play of the fourth quarter was the junior speedster's first rushing touchdown of the season and the 14th of his career. He had one touchdown reception for the season going into the Florida game.
*With 73 yards against Florida on Saturday, sophomore Michael Dyer is closing in on being Auburn's fourth running back to put up consecutive 1,000-yard rushing seasons. Dyer has 752 yards rushing with five regular season games remaining in 2011. He broke Bo Jackson's freshman rushing record in 2010 with 1,293 yards.
Other Auburn backs to gain 1,000 for more yards consecutive years are: James Brooks, 1,208 in 1978; and 1,314 in 1979; Stephen Davis, 1,263 in 1994 and 1,068 in 1995; and Carnell Williams, 1,307 in 2003 and 1,165 in 2004.
*Dyer's had a streak of three consecutive 100-yard rushing games against SEC teams end against the Gators. He had put up one most of his 100 versus Mississippi State, 141 at South Carolina and 112 at Arkansas. Of Dyer's his eight career 100-yard ground games, six have come against teams from the SEC.
*When October has run its course, Auburn will have played three Top Ten teams in the AP poll, which will mark the first time in program history the Tigers will play three Top 10 teams in the same month. The Tigers defeated then No. 10 South Carolina 16-13, lost at No. 10 Arkansas 28-14 and will meet No. 1 ranked LSU Oct. 22 in Baton Rouge.
The last time Auburn played three Top 10 teams on the road in one season was in 2007. The Tigers won 20-17 at No. 4 Florida, lost 30-24 at No. 5 LSU and dropped a 45-20 decision at No. 10 Georgia.
*Auburn held Florida to six first half points, which marks the third time in the last four games that the defense has kept the opponent to six points in the first half. The Tigers held Florida Atlanta and South Carolina both to six points in the first 30 minutes of the game (both wins).
*Tiger defenders had one interception in the first three games and six in the last four games.
*With two forced first-quarter turnovers, Auburn has forced seven turnovers the past three games.
*Auburn is 29-2 under Gene Chizik when leading at half, including 14 in a row. The Tigers last loss when leading at halftime was in 2009 at Jordan-Hare Stadium at Georgia