He threw down the gauntlet to Hamish MacInnes.
Clark stood in front of the whole team before Saturday’s 34-14 win over Tennessee Tech and said “We’re going to see who’s the better punter today.”
He also said he’d take his guy.
MacInnes took up the challenge.
Thanks in large part to a school-record punt, the sophomore from Australia averaged 49.2 yards for his five punts and got the best of Tennessee Tech’s Chad Zinchini — the second-ranked punter in the FCS — by an average of 3.1 yards per kick.
It may have been a statistical showdown, but MacInnes didn’t consider it a duel.
“You don’t really go toe-to-toe with him,” he said. “It’s not like you square up with him or anything like that. It’s just the field position battle and who happens to get the better on the day. It’s probably more a battle of the special teams than just two guys.
“I knew he was a very good punter and I have to have a good day to win that field position battle, that’s all it is.”
MacInnes’ big kick was an 86-yarder with the wind late in the third quarter the coverage team came within inches of downing before it crossed the goal line. It is the longest in the FCS this season and just the third of 80 yards or more in the subdivision this year. The Ohio Valley Conference record is 90 yards.
“You get some good ones. It just so happened I got backed up and got onto one,” he said. “It felt good, looked good off the foot. Luckily I had a bit of wind that carried it a few extra yards. It just felt like any other punt, I suppose.”
He also had punts of 34, 33, 54 and 39 yards, giving Tech an average starting position of its own 22.
Zinchini’s average was hurt by a 7-yard punt in the second quarter that was victim of the wind and some wicked backspin.
“It’s one of those things,” MacInnes said. “I’ve had one of those. It happens to everyone, no matter how good you are. More credit to him; he came back and hit a few other good ones.”
Zinchini also had punts of 54, 58, 45, 52, 53, 50 and 50 yards, giving JSU an average starting position of the 30.