Athletes are sometimes creatures of habit and Groves is no different. Having gotten used to doing the same things on Fridays before games, Groves' routine was disturbed the day before Auburn took on the Kentucky Wildcats and the redshirt freshman says he wasn't sure how to take that. Especially when he began to get a weird feeling about the upcoming game.
"I had the feeling Friday night," Groves said. "It was a strange feeling like something was going to happen, but I didn't know what. I thought it was we were going to lose the game. That's what I thought because some things were going right like my normal routine before a game. I thought something wasn't right. I just came in today when things were going my way I was like, ‘This is the feeling I was feeling.'"
To say that things were going Groves' way would be the understatement of the day. The Mississippi native had a career-high four sacks against the Wildcats and now leads the team in that category. Defensive coordinator Gene Chizik said Groves' play has really improve since moving from linebacker to defensive end during two-a-days.
"Quentin really has come on and seems like he's really come into his own," Chizik said. "That was evident today. He's got great speed and week by week he's getting better. It's good to see him have that much success."
Quentin Groves celebrates one of his sacks during Saturday's 42-10 win over Kentucky.
One of Auburn's most dynamic pass rushers, Groves says he realized that with starting quarterback Shane Boyd injured this would be a day to get pressure on the quarterback. Getting an early 21-0 lead added even more pressure to the redshirt freshman making his first start for Kentucky and freed Groves, Stanley McClover and others to charge up field after the quarterback.
"I always like that," Groves said. "When it's third and long and Coach Price radios to the sidelines "Groves," it just does something to me. I know I can get off on the ball and beat the man in front of me if I have my technique right."
Facing an offensive line that has been battered with injuries, Groves was punishing from the corner on the defensive front as time and time again he chased quarterback Andre Woodson on Saturday. Groves says that he just got more and more into a groove during the game and was able to come up with some big plays for the Tigers.
"When I got the first one I was like, 'Thank you, God,'" Groves said. "When I got number two I was like. "Hold on, something is going on.' When I got to three and four I just wanted to point to God and give him all the praise."
The person who sported the biggest smile of anyone following the Kentucky game was fellow defensive end McClover. Auburn's leader in sacks coming into the game, McClover has been Groves' biggest challenger this fall as the duo has gone back and forth about who would lead the team in sacks this season. McClover says that he has to give Groves credit for the game he had against the Wildcats on Saturday.
"I'm proud of him," McClover said. "He's worked real hard to do this every weekend. We just have to do this every week. Me and him are just going to battle. We're going to battle this whole season. It's good that we can compete like that. It pushed us a lot having somebody with a lot of ability on the other side. It gives you a good push. You need somebody that's going to push you like that."
Groves agrees with McClover. A standout defensive end in high school, Groves has changed positions and finally found a home for Coach Terry Price at defensive end for the Tigers. While he continues to make plays in bunches, Groves said that as long as Auburn keeps winning everything is right in his world.
"I know if I don't get there he's going to get there," Groves said. "It helps us in the game and the stat column too, but we don't really look at stats too much. We look at, 'How did we help the defense today?' If I have four sacks or one sack it really doesn't matter as long as we win and our defense plays perfect."