AUBURN, Ala. — Let’s just say Auburn defensive coordinator Kevin Steele and defensive back Tray Matthews had a brief discussion about Matthews’ fourth-quarter unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. OK, so it might’ve been a little more than that.
“More than one,” Steele said. “That’s between Tray and I. Do you have children? You can imagine.”
After Steele’s appearance, Matthews entered for his own press conference.
He primarily spoke about the strong defensive effort and Clemson’s lack of big plays downfield, but he wanted to issue his own apology for the penalty he committed in the red zone on Clemson’s game-deciding drive.
“Yeah, I regret it,” Matthews said. “It was selfish, but I just let my emotion get the best of me. You know, it’s just something I got to move on from and it won’t happen again. It’s just that simple.”
With Clemson driving, Matthews and Clemson’s Artavis Scott exchanged words on the sideline. It provoked Matthews to shove the opponents’ chest and face mask. Clemson already picked up a first down, but Clemson accepted the penalty, which put the Tigers at first-and-goal from the 7-yard line.
Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson connected with wide receiver Hunter Renfrow three plays later to make the score 19-6.
Matthews said Steele verbalized his discontent with the mishap immediately.
“The player? He said a few words, but that’s on me. I can’t do that,” Matthews said. “He’s just like, ‘You can’t do that.’ He done talked to me several times about the situation, just like, ‘You know, I like you kid, but you can’t do those kinds of things.’ I know I can’t. I’m a vet. That will never happen again. I told the team.”