Auburn Football: Defensive and Special Teams Grades vs Louisiana Tech

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Sep 27, 2014; Auburn, AL, USA; Auburn Tigers receiver Quan Bray (4) returns a punt for a touchdown during the second half against the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs at Jordan Hare Stadium. Mandatory Credit: John Reed-USA TODAY Sports

Special Teams

The play of the day was Quan Bray’s 76-yard punt return for a touchdown. Bray also had a 22-yard return in the game, and Marcus Davis had an opportunity to return two punts for 31 yards, including a 19-yard effort. The pair combined for an outstanding 32.25 average.

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Like we said when Bray took one to the house against San Jose State, anytime you score on special teams is a nearly automatic ‘A’ performance. However, there were some areas of concern Saturday among the special teams units.

Auburn averaged only 36.2 yards on five punts Saturday. Only one punt pushed Louisiana Tech behind their own 20-yard line, and that was Matthew Shiel’s only punt of the day, which sailed only 27 yards. Daniel Carlson averaged a less than spectacular 38.5 yards on four punts with a long of 49, though the Tigers did not allow a return on any of the five.

The coaching staff has tried to rest the do-everything Carlson some on punts and kickoffs (Alex Kviklys kicked off once), but the redshirt freshman from Colorado is simply much better than the rest of the group through four games, which makes it difficult. Four of Carlson’s seven kickoffs resulted in touchbacks.

Carlson was not without fault either, however. He missed one of two field goal attempts against the Bulldogs, a 41-yarder in the first quarter. Carlson connected from 25 yards in the second quarter.

Corey Grant nearly broke a kick return for a touchdown, but was instead tripped up. The senior running back fielded two kicks and returned them for a combined 52 yards.

And, as per usual, the field goal block unit continued their voodoo and forced one missed field goal in two attempts.

Grade: A-

What do you think of the play of the defense and special teams, and our grades of each unit? Let us know in the comments below.