Auburn, Ala.--Sophomore Corey Lemonier has been named the SEC Co-Defensive Player of the Week while his Auburn teammate, punter Steven Clark, is the SEC Special Teams Player of the Week.
Clark won high praise from Auburn head coach Gene Chizik for his high punts that caused Florida’s punt returners to mishandle three attempted punt returns, two which were recovered by the Tigers in their 17-6 victory over the Gators.
Florida netted minus four yards on four punt returns. Clark leads the SEC with 50 percent (22-44) of his punts being downed inside the opponents’ 20-yard line.
Late in the game with Auburn nursing a 14-6 lead, Clark hit his best punt of the game from his own end zone. The high, 46-yarder was muffed by Robert Clark, who had replaced Chris Rainey as the punt returner on that play. Rainey was still on the field, but had lined up as part of a 10-man rush to try to block the punt.
Ikeem Means recovered the football at the Florida 47 to set up a 42-yard field goal by Cody Parkey as the Tigers iced the victory over the Gators to improve to 5-2 overall and 3-1 in the SEC.
“On that last punt I just went to a one-step kick because they had been getting close with their corner rush all night,” Clark said. “I hit it good. I got excited when we picked the ball up and headed for the end zone on both of the fumbles (muffs), but they called them back because we couldn’t advance the ball. I think they should change the rule.”
Lemonier had his best performance of the season vs. the Gators. He produced a team-high six tackles with three tackles for losses totaling 20 yards and two sacks for 16 yards in losses. Lemonier was a force on Auburn’s edge rushing defense as the Tigers limited the Gators to only 66 yards rushing and 194 yards total offense.
Steven Clark punts on Saturday night.
“I’m totally better on the perimeter,” he said. “Last year that was a battle for me, now it’s like a plus. I’ve just got to keep working to get better against the run.”
The Tigers return to action on Saturday with a 2:30 p.m. CDT game at No. 1 ranked LSU.
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