The safety, from nearby Valley High School only about 25 minutes from Auburn's campus, was whistled for two penalties on one play when fellow defensive back Ikeem Means intercepted a pass at the Auburn 10-yard line with less than two minutes to play. Means returned the interception deep into Samford territory. The flags didn't negate the interception, but it wiped out a long return.
"It was because I was hustling and giving effort that I got both penalties," Florence explained.
He was first called for a blocking in the back personal foul at the outset of the play and then for illegally blocking below the waist farther down the field. Samford accepted the first penalty and Auburn took over at its own five-yard line. The Tigers ran out the clock after snapping the ball once.
"I think it was Ikeem's first play at safety," Florence said. "The ball was overthrown and I thought he would intercept it. We are taught to always block the receiver first. I didn't realize I had blocked the receiver in the back and was looking for someone else to block and got the second one for going too low.
"I went to him (the Samford player) after the game and apologized and explained it wasn't out of anger or intentional," Florence said. "He told me that it was just part of football. I told them to hold their heads up and keep playing like they did against us because they had given us a game."
Florence added that Means, a walk-on, is a good guy and he was just trying to help him score a touchdown.
As for his overall performance, Florence said he was pleased. His six solo tackles and one assist gave him seven total stops from his safety spot, second only to linebacker Daren Bates, who recorded 12 tackles.
"I feel like I played a pretty good game," he said. "There's always room for improvement, no matter what you do. I think we got better as a team in the second half and made some big plays."
Florence knows what's up next for the Tigers when Alabama visits Jordan-Hare Stadium. He was highly recruited by Auburn and Alabama and admitted he considered the Tide before deciding on Auburn.
"It will be my first Iron Bowl, but I know all about it," he said. "Growing up in Alabama it means a lot to me. The guys on this team know how much it means to the state of Alabama and to Auburn University so we are going to do everything we can to prepare for Alabama to the best of our abilities."
In other news and notes:
*Auburn extended its record for consecutive Homecoming wins to 20 straight. The Tigers are 72-8-5 in all Homecomings. Auburn has won 14 straight home games and 16 straight at home against non-conference opponents. Since 1993 Auburn is 55-4 in non-conference games at home.
*With his reception from Clint Moseley on Auburn's first possession, McCalebb has caught a pass in 14 straight games, dating back to 2010. With two catches against Samford, Onterio McCalebb is the leading receiver among running backs in the SEC this season with 28 receptions.
*Entering the ninth game of the season against Ole Miss, Auburn had not lost an offensive fumble and had only one lost fumble to that point, coming on a kickoff against LSU in game eight. In the past three games, the Tigers' offense has lost six fumbles--two in each game.