Auburn football quick hits: Gus Malzahn talks importance of special teams, Tigers honored as national team of the week

rblack@ledger-enquirer.comDecember 2, 2013 

AUBURN, Ala. — Obscured by the dramatic ending to last Saturday’s game — as was everything else that came before Chris Davis’ game-winning field goal return as time expired — was the play of Steven Clark.

Auburn’s senior punter perfectly executed a pair of kicks against the Crimson Tide, as he was able to pin the visitors on their own 1-yard line on back-to-back possessions. Though the Tigers’ defense was unable to keep Alabama from moving the ball, Gus Malzahn didn’t downplay Clark’s efforts.

“Those were huge plays in the game,” the coach said. “Give (Alabama) credit. They came out and they had good offensive plays to get off the goal line. Our special teams have been a strength of ours all year. “

To pick up its ninth victory in a row, Malzahn said that will need to continue Saturday.

“(Missouri has) good special teams, too, so that will be a big key to the game,” he said. “We are going to need to play extremely well on special teams.”

Auburn named national team of the week after stunning Iron Bowl victory

Two days later, Auburn's epic, 34-28 victory over arch-rival Alabama continues to bring positive publicity the Tigers' way.

Monday, the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl selected Auburn as its national team of the week. The honor is voted on each week by the Football Writers Association of America.

The Tigers are the third SEC team to garner the designation in 2013. Georgia wore the title during the week of Sept. 28 following its win over then. No. 6 LSU, while Vanderbilt earned the distinction during the week of Nov. 9 after beating Florida 34-17, marking the Commodores' first road victory against the Gators since 1945.

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