SEC Honors Auburn Defensive Player

Birmingham, Ala.--Junior defensive end Quentin Groves, who helped spark a second half comeback with his three quarterback sacks, has been named the SEC Defensive Player of the Week.

Groves had four tackles and his three sacks caused 25 lost yards for the Gators in Auburn's 27-17 victory over Florida. Groves added two quarterback hurries to his night's work.

The junior end was the player who was held in the end zone in the first half as he chased Florida QB Chris Leak as he tried to pass. That resulted in two points for the Tigers on a safety.

After giving up 17 first half points to the Gators, the AU defense allowed the visitors just 83 total yards and no points the rest of the night.

The big game moved Groves into a tie for the SEC lead in quarterback sacks with six. For his career, Groves has 19 1/2 sacks, which is fourth on Auburn's all-time list.

Auburn head coach Tommy Tuberville says, "You could tell Quentin's motor was really running. It was running at high speed."

Terry Price, who coaches Groves and the other defensive ends, notes that the junior and other members of the defense were challenged by the coaching staff at halftime to raise their level of play after Auburn fell behind 17-11 after two quarters.

"I thought the first half was below average," Price says. "We didn't play very well. Obviously, Florida had a chance to move the ball down the field. It was very disappointing to the players and the coaches.

"In the second half, the guys re-dedicated themselves to playing Auburn defense and rallied up, played harder and everybody on defense, at all positions, made plays and that was the difference in the game," Price says.

Quentin Groves chases Florida QB Chris Leak.

"It was fun to watch the kids step up," Price adds. "At halftime they had a decision to make. They could go back out there and continue to struggle or they could go out there and change the tempo."

Groves is the sixth Tiger player to be honored with an SEC award this season. The others include tailback Kenny Irons on offense for the Washington State game, guard Ben Grubbs as the top offensive lineman after the Mississippi State game, punter Kody Bliss on special teams after the LSU game, kicker Matt Clark on special teams after the Buffalo game and guard Tim Duckworth was named the offensive lineman of the week after the South Carolina game.

Following the victory over Florida, the 6-1 Tigers leave conference play for a week with a Saturday 1:30 p.m. homecoming game vs. 2-4 Tulane.

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