Sims Named Chick-fil-A Defensive MVP

Defensive game MVP Pat Sims talks about the win over Clemson and his thoughts on possibly entering the NFL Draft.

Atlanta, Ga.--Auburn junior defensive tackle Pat Sims was named the Defensive Player of the Game in Auburn's 23-20 overtime victory over Clemson in the Chick-fil-A Bowl on New Year's Eve.

Sims says of winning the trophy, "It means a whole lot. I just went out there and gave all of the effort I could give for my seniors to get them to 50 wins for the years they've been here. I'm happy for them."

Sims was credited with four tackles, three of which came from behind the line of scrimmage. One of the keys to the game for Auburn was getting pressure on talented Clemson QB Cullen Harper.

Aside from a 27-yard fade to favorite target Aaron Kelly, Harper's night was extremely sub par compared to his record-setting season where he threw for 27 touchdowns and nearly 3,000 yards with just six interceptions. The Auburn defense held Harper to 14-33 passing for 104 yards and also sacked him three times.

"We were putting pressure on the quarterback and hoping he'd make a mistake," Sims notes. "He did make a couple of mistakes. It was great. It was a great game."

The Auburn defensive coaches and players had stated all week in Atlanta that the play of the defensive line would play a significant role in the outcome of the game. The Tigers' front four were ferocious against the pass, and rebounded in the run game after giving up an 83-yard score to C.J. Spiller early in the second quarter.

"They were running a lot of zone, and our whole team is basically all speed," Sims says. "We were just beating them off the edges and stuff. We just went out there and played hard. They had some big runs and stuff but we had to bounce back.

"I believe it was won all-around," he adds. "Everybody went out there and gave great effort. I'm just proud of everybody."

Tiger Ticket Notes
Though head coach Tommy Tuberville stated during bowl practices in Auburn that he anticipated that all of his draft-eligible underclassmen would return for 2008, Sims says he has a difficult decision to make.

"Right now I don't know," Sims explains. We're going to sit down and talk with the coaches and my family. We'll make a decision from there. We're going to sit down and have a big group discussion and see what's best for me."

Sims' class has 42 victories including the redshirt season, and 29 in the last three years. Asked if seeing the joy of this years' senior reach 50 in a career would have any impact, Sims states, "If it's worth coming back for, but everybody's got to make their own decision. One day I'll just have to make that.

"This defense is heading to where no defense has ever gone before because it's a young defense and all of them are returning except for a couple of guys. We've got some guys that are backups that play just as good. Next year it's going to be a hell of fire defense."

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