NOTEBOOK: No surprise, Vincent plays

ATLANTA – Some 90 minutes before game time, it was officially announced the starting middle linebacker Cortney Vincent would in fact play, but that Antonio Clay would start the Chick-fil-A Bowl. first reported on Friday that Vincent would play.

Vincent was arrested and charged with DUI in early December, but Clemson head coach Tommy Bowden wouldn't say whether or not the junior would be suspended for the bowl game or play.

Every day, Bowden was peppered with questions from the media on whether Vincent would play, and each time he stuck to his guns and said he would announce his decision on game day.

That's exactly what he did. Vincent return on Auburn's second drive of the game.

"Based on the judicial process of not being finished, you walk a fine line between disciplining a guy and you want to have some trust and order with your team, so we thought was appropriate action based on where the judicial process is at this time," Bowden said.

RICHARDSON SITS: All-American offensive left tackle Barry Richardson was benched to start the game, much to the surprise of every Clemson media relations person. In his place, redshirt sophomore Cory Lambert got the start.

Richardson missed only the first series and return to action on Clemson's second drive of the game.

"We just had a little minor team infraction as far as attending some meetings," Bowden said.

CHOPPED: Starting defensive tackle Dorell Scott went down with a right ankle sprain with 9:09 left in the first quarter when Auburn freshman offensive tackle Ryan Pugh dove after his legs on a running play.

The injury looked much worse at the time as Scott rolled around on the field in horrible pain for at least five minutes. Minutes later it was announced his return was questionable, which was much better than anyone had anticipated.

For his efforts, Pugh was called for chop blocking.

ROUGH OPENING: It was an opening series that sophomore cornerback Crezdon Butler would like to forget.

On a third-and-six, Auburn completed a 28 yard pass to Rodgeriques Smith because Butler got turned around and fell down. Three plays later, Auburn running back Brad Lester took a swing pass and barreled down the field and ran right over Butler to gain 13 yards and take it to the Clemson 8.

QUICK HITS: Even though Clemson kicker Mark Buchholz is from Alpharetta, Ga., a suburb of Atlanta, he must hate his hometown. Earlier in the year against Georgia Tech, he was 1-for-5 on field goal attempts.

He also missed his two attempts in the first half against Auburn. That makes him a collective 2-for-7 in Atlanta. However, in all fairness, all but one of his misses are from 45 and beyond, including one from 50 and 53 yards. …

Atlanta Braves slugger Jeff Francoeur gave the pregame invocation. He had signed a letter of intent to play football for Clemson as a safety in 2001, but he was drafted by the Braves in the first round a few months later.

C.J. Spiller's 83-yard touchdown run in the second quarter was the longest rush and scoring play in Peach Bowl/Chick-fil-A Bowl history. It was also the longest play from scrimmage in Clemson bowl history. It was also the longest run by a Clemson player since Derrick Witherspoon rushed for 89 yards against Maryland in 1993. …

Buchholz kicked his 47th extra point of the season, breaking the school's all-time mark of 46 set last year by Jad Dean. … Buchholz scored his 110th point of the season, breaking the record for most points in a season, breaking the mark of 107 points of Chris Gardocki in 1989. 110James Davis became just the third running back in school history to rush for 1,000 yards twice. …

Clemson is now 2-5 in the Chick-fil-A Bowl. … Spiller was the offensive player game, while Auburn's Pat Sims was the defensive player of the game. … Davis said he is leaning toward returning to Clemson for his senior season. He also said that he had a text message waiting from his mom following the game that said, "We're staying, right?" Top Stories