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Steady Daniel Carlson ties Auburn record in perfect performance against Kentucky

Michael Niziolek

mniziolek@ledger-enquirer.com

Auburn linebacker Cameron Toney (47) celebrates as the team leaves the field after beating Kentucky 30-27 in an NCAA college football game Thursday, Oct. 15, 2015, in Lexington, Ky. (AP Photo/David Stephenson)
Auburn linebacker Cameron Toney (47) celebrates as the team leaves the field after beating Kentucky 30-27 in an NCAA college football game Thursday, Oct. 15, 2015, in Lexington, Ky. (AP Photo/David Stephenson)

Auburn field goal kicker Daniel Carlson missed two attempts inside the 30-yard line in recent weeks, but he was back on target Thursday night in a 30-27 win over Kentucky.

He was a perfect 3 of 3 on field goal attempts in the first half with a long of 52-yards as the clock expired in the first half.

It was the sophomore’s third 50-plus yard field goal this season in four attempts, and tied him for the single season program record from 50-plus yards set in 1969 by John Riley.

He is the only player in college football with three kicks from the distance, and is 4 of 5 from the range going back to last season.

The coaching staff’s confidence in Carlson from long distance is in stark contrast to how his predecessors were used.

Carlson has as many 50-plus yard attempts the past two seasons than Auburn’s kickers had from 2009 to 2013 combined.

The mere mention of Carlson’s name during the postgame press conference had coach Gus Malzahn nodding his head during.

“He was good from a long way out,” Malzahn said.

Malzahn pointed to Carlson’s kick at the end of the half as one of the turning points in the game.

Auburn’s attempt to find the end zone came up short with three seconds on the clock. Sean White completed a pass to Tony Stevens, but the receiver had to make a diving grab out of bounds to pull the throw in.

Carlson salvaged points on the drive by running onto the field, and converting his third field goal of the second quarter.

“He drilled it, and that gave us some momentum,” Malzahn said.

On kickoffs, Carlson continues to excel as well. He had five touchbacks on six attempts with an average kick of 64.3 yards. Carlson has the second highest touchback percentage in the country at 79 percent.

“I just mishit it, but luckily it kind of rolled,” Carlson said, of the one missed touchback. “They only recovered it out to the 22 so that’s great for our cover team. Other than that one the other ones were good.”

Michael Niziolek covers Auburn football for the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer. Email him at mniziolek@ledger-enquirer.com or follow him on Twitter, Facebook or Google+

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