By Jeff Shearer
AUBURN, Ala. - The kicks just keep on coming.
Daniel Carlson scored the first and last points of the game and a dozen more in between, finishing with an Auburn record-tying six field goals in the Tigers’ 18-13 win Saturday over LSU.
“I was definitely busy today, but it was a lot of fun,” said Carlson, who booted at least one field goal in all four quarters. “The most important thing is that we come out with a win. If we don’t come out with a win, it doesn’t mean anything. I’m glad we were able to hang on. Defense really stepped up that last drive. It was close but moving forward this will be huge for us.”
The Lou Groza Award, given annually to the nation’s top kicker, won’t be presented until December. But Auburn’s head coach has already endorsed his preferred candidate.
“Daniel is the best kicker in college football. I think he confirmed that tonight,” Gus Malzahn said. “He had a 51-yard field goal, and he had some pressure kicks in the fourth quarter. Those are the hardest ones, I don’t care how far it is. He also kicked every kick off in the end zone. We were worried about their returners. He is a huge weapon and he came through tonight.”
Carlson has converted 29 of his past 30 field goal attempts.
“I’ve done it a hundred times, thousands of times in practice, so for me that’s kind of the mentality I
take,” he said. “The snapper, the holder, the line protecting me - everyone does such a great job in practice and it’s just about carrying over. Obviously a lot of opportunities today, and when coach calls on me I have to deliver. I’m happy this team could come out with a victory, and our defense played great. A lot of those kicks were a lot shorter, so they’re a lot easier, and that’s good field position, nice punts, or just big defensive stops. That was big for us.”
With six field goals, Carlson’s tied the record Al Del Greco set in 1982 against Kentucky.
For Carlson, the victory far outweighs individual accolades.
“We lost two games we were definitely in, and it could’ve gone either way I feel like, so I think this is big for our confidence. We’ve just been sticking together and leadership has been stepping up in the locker room just to keep motivation and confidence going forward.”
Jeff Shearer is a Senior Writer at AuburnTigers.com. Follow him on Twitter: Follow @jeff_shearer