"Special" Finish for AU Kicker

John Vaughn talks about having the deciding points in his final game as an Auburn Tiger.

Dallas, Tex.--With the way the Auburn offense has sputtered in the red zone all season and struggled to even get in field goal range in the last several games, the importance of kicker John Vaughn on the 11-win 2006 Auburn Tigers is hard to overlook.

On a cold, windy morning in Dallas at the Cotton Bowl, Vaughn got to end his career with the deciding points in the Tigers' 17-14 victory over Nebraska.

"I was getting real frustrated in warm-ups," the senior kicker says. "The flags weren't blowing a lot but the ball wasn't going anywhere. I didn't hit anything over 47 yards. I wouldn't have been comfortable hitting anything longer than that. I told coach Tuberville before the game that we'd have to get to the 30-yard line on that (North) end."

Midway through the third quarter Vaughn was called on to break a 14-14 tie and had to do it from 42 yards away against a strong wind blowing North to South.

"I told (holder Matthew) Motley I was going to go for the right upright and try to drive it a little bit," Vaughn explains. "Fortunately it went through. It was a big relief. I hit it and thought it should be all right, but until it got over that crossbar I was hoping it'd keep flying."

Those three points proved to be the difference as the Auburn defense held the Cornhusker offense scoreless in the final 30 minutes of the game.

"That's a pretty special thing," Vaughn says. "The last game you want to do something special. It's something I'm always going to remember. It's just been a great senior year."

Vaughn, who was a Lou Groza Trophy finalist, made good on 20-24 field goals this season and was a big part of the team's success in close ball games.

"It's the character of this team," he explains. "We worked hard in the off season. Everybody did. When it came down to it the second half seemed to be our half this season. We were able to grind out a lot of wins late in the game. I don't know if it's because of conditioning or how hard we worked. We put a lot of emphasis on finishing in the off season because we didn't finish off last season like we should have. I think it paid off in some of these close games."


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