Auburn RB Kam Martin has standout game after Hurricane Harvey tragedy

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AUBURN, Ala. — To say Hurricane Harvey devasted parts of Texas and Louisiana when it made landfall last weekend is putting it lightly. Even days later some of that havoc was still being felt states away.

Four players on Auburn football’s roster — quarterback Jarrett Stidham, right tackle Darius James, fullback Spencer Nigh and running back Kam Martin — had friends and family affected by the dangerous weather and flooding.

For Martin, a sophomore, the damage was especially heartbreaking.

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“It’s been a really difficult week,” Martin said. “Earlier this week my aunt died in the hurricane. She was in Port Arthur. It was really tough this week. I’m dealing with it kind of hard for the whole city. A lot of my friends were affected by it. My house got flooded.”

Yet in the midst of grieving the loss of a loved one and learning of the catastrophes at home, Martin managed to be there when Auburn football needed him.

“When my opportunities come, I have to make plays,” Martin said. “All week I’ve been practicing to just get in there and make plays.”

Those chances came when following an announcement that starter Kam Pettway would be “unavailable” for the home opener against Georgia Southern. Even more arose when co-starter Kerryon Johnson suffered a lower hamstring injury in the second quarter.

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When Johnson hobbled to the sideline, he didn’t return to the game. Instead he told Martin he “trusted” and “believed” in him. Then the junior advised the underclassman to go in and keep it simple: make plays.

And Martin took off — literally. He dashed 36 yards on just his third carry of the game, scoring his fourth career rushing touchdown. His feet may have been in the end zone, but his mind and heart were over 600 miles away.

“Yeah, when I saw it and when I got in the end zone, I was just thinking about my city and my family,” Martin said. “I just told myself earlier this week just to go out there and make plays. If God gives me the opportunity, just go out and make plays. Just keep getting better each and every week. When my number is called, just make plays.”

So that’s what he did. Martin tied Johnson’s team high 136 rushing yards with two fewer carries (14). The Port Arthur, Texas, native would also record the longest run of the game (61 yards), which he’d later dedicate to his hometown.

“Kam Martin came in and did a very good job,” Malzahn said. “I was pleased that the other running backs got some work, too. It was good to see that.”

Pettway practiced like normal all week, but Martin received word Auburn’s starter would be in street clothes when he got to Jordan-Hare on Saturday evening.

“I knew I was going to be second when I found out today at the stadium,” Martn said. “But I just knew when my moment comes, just make something happen.”

Teammates, including quarterback Jarrett Stidham, also had friends and family who dealt with Harvey, but not quite like Martin.

“I feel for him, for him and his family,” Stidham said. “He’s a tough kid and loves the game of football. That’s kind of his comfort zone, so I was super, super proud of him tonight.”

Stidham completed 14-of-24 attempts (185 yards), throwing two touchdowns and adding a score on the ground. More importantly, he sent a message to the people of Texas. And of course, to his former Baylor and current Tiger teammate.

“I want to say that publicly, we’re praying for those people down there,” Stidhamsaid. “People directly affected from it. Here in Auburn, Alabama, it’s hard to understand what’s happening back there, back home. Especially for me and Darius, Kam and Spencer — for us Texas guys, it kind of hits home for us. Our thoughts and prayers are with everybody in Texas and Louisiana. Anything will help those people get better. That’s where a big part of my heart’s been all week.”

The post Auburn RB Kam Martin has standout game after Hurricane Harvey tragedy appeared first on SEC Country.

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