AU 34, Bama 28: News, Notes & Quotes, Part 1

Auburn rallied for an exciting 34-28 SEC football victory vs. Alabama.

Auburn, Ala.--From Chris Davis' improbable 108-yard return of a missed field goal on the final play, another missed field goal, a blocked field goal, partially blocked punt and two punts by Steven Clark downed inside the Alabama one-yard line, special teams were a major factor in Auburn's 34-28 victory Saturday on the No. 1 ranked Crimson Tide.

A senior who was a finalist in 2012 and a semi-finalist in 2013 for the Ray Guy Award as the nation's top punter, Clark banged punts that were downed inside the one in the third and fourth quarters on a night when he averaged 43.7 yards on six punts.

"That was a lot of fun because it was my last time on this field," Clark said. "I was really glad how it came out. It can't get any more special than this."

Clark said special teams are emphasized by the Tiger coaching staff and it has paid off all season, but especially in the win over Alabama.

"We know special teams are going to be involved in at least five or six plays a game," Clark pointed out. "We are kind of the X-factors. We have to do our jobs. I would have liked to have done better in a couple of areas, but for those that were downed inside the one, you can't do that very often."

Clark is known for opponents not being able to return many of his kicks because of hang time. Only five of his punts were returned in 2012 and only five have been returned this year.

When the game's final play that resulted in Davis' 100-yard short field goal return, Clark said he didn't initially see Davis back in the end zone.

"He came out of nowhere and I was yelling run, run. God has been with this team all year," Clark said. "There are a lot things we can take credit for, but the glory has to go upstairs on that one.

"I almost bumped into Nick Saban while I was looking for Chris during the celebration. I turned around and thought I'm not going to get back to the dressing room for the post-game speech."

Clark said the 2013 SEC Championship Game will be special. "I went there for my freshman year, but I feel like I'm more of the team this year as a senior and a starter.

"Every time you get to go to Atlanta, it's truly special," he added.

In other news and notes:

*Nick Marshall's 45-yard touchdown run in the first quarter was Auburn's first offensive touchdown against the Crimson Tide since the Tigers' 28-27 win in 2010. The Tigers were shut out last year and scored on a fumble in the end zone and a kickoff return in 2011. It was Marshall's longest TD run of the season. His previous long score was a 38-yard run at Tennessee. It was Marshall's 10th rushing touchdown of the season

*Tre Mason (164 yards rushing) recorded his 10th career 100-yard game and his seventh of this season. Mason is now in 10th place among Auburn's career rushers with 2,480, passing Michael Dyer (2,335 yards from 2010-11) and Stacy Danley (2,427 from 1987-90).

*Mason now has scored a rushing touchdown in nine consecutive games and in 16 of the last 19 contests. For the season, Mason has 18 rushing TDs, second best in AU history. He has 26 career rushing touchdowns and 28 career touchdowns scored overall

*This is first time Alabama has given up two rushing touchdowns in a game this season. The previous high rushing total for a game this season by an Alabama opponent was 165 yards vs. Arkansas. Auburn rushed for 162 yards in the first half and finished the game with 296 yards rushing.

*Ryan Smith's partial block of the first-quarter Alabama punt was the first block of his career, and the first punt block for Auburn since the 2011 Chick-fil-A Bowl

*Gabe Wright's second-quarter sack was his first since the Ole Miss game and his third of the season

*Fifteen Tigers were recognized at Senior Day prior to kickoff Saturday--including 14 who are seniors in eligibility plus center Tunde Fariyike, a redshirt junior eligibility-wise who is graduating in biomedical sciences and plans to attend medical school. Seniors honored were: defensive end Kenneth Carter; punter Steven Clark; defensive back Chris Davis; defensive tackle/end Nosa Equae; defensive end Dee Ford; linebacker Jake Holland; deep snapper Jake Lembke; placekicker Cody Parkey; running back Chandler Shakespeare; defensive back Ryan White; defensive back Blake Pool; defensive Craig Sanders; defensive back Ryan Smith and fullback Jay Prosch.

*Captains for Auburn were center Reese Dismukes and defensive back/punt returner Chris Davis, the same two who have served as captain for every game except for at LSU when Davis was injured and didn't play. Dee Ford joined Dismukes as a captain for that game. Other seniors accompanied Dismukes and Davis and stood behind them for the coin toss.The Tigers will select permanent captains at the end of the season.


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