Tiger Gets Kick Out of Surprising Carolina

Matt Clark's shortest career kick may prove to be the most important.

Auburn, Ala.--Matt Clark notes that he enjoys helping his Auburn football team by consistently kicking off into the end zone. However, he says he really got a kick out of making one of the big plays of the night in Auburn's 24-17 victory over South Carolina.

Clark's perfectly executed onsides kick in the third quarter caught the Gamecocks by surprise and led to Auburn's third touchdown. Because of the kick, the Tigers were able to keep the football for every play in the third quarter.

"It really is a great feeling to do something to help us win the game," the senior walk-on says.

"It is a kick that I can't really do during warmups during pre-game because they will know something is up. I kicked the ball exactly where I wanted to kick it. Because I couldn't do it during warmups I was a little nervous, which is the first time for me being nervous since my first game. I am just glad I hit it where I was supposed to."

Auburn coach Tommy Tuberville notes that special teams coach Eddie Gran noticed that play would likely work and the Tigers practiced it all week.

"We were planning on it all week," Clark says. "We knew their guys lined up a close to the center of the field and they took off (running toward their goal line) a little early to block," he says. "I knew if we got up a few scores and we got the chance we were going to run it."

Clark kicked the ball to Tre Smith, who thought the ball hadn't traveled 10 yards and hesitated trying to catch it. However, Smith was actually close to 15 yards downfield and Jerraud Powers was there to recover the football for the Tigers.

Clark and the Tigers improved to 3-0 in the SEC and 5-0 overall with the win. The players have the day off on Friday and will be off again on Saturday before beginning preparations for Arkansas on Sunday.


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