Win Is Special for Auburn's Washington

Demond Washington talks about why he particularly enjoyed Auburn's football victory over Ole Miss.

Auburn, Ala.--A heated recruiting battle for Demond Washington between Ole Miss and Auburn ended shortly before the February 2009 signing date when Washington de-committed from the Rebels and decided to become a Tiger.

The subject of that battle admitted Auburn's 33-20 win over Ole Miss Saturday was special to him.

"I wanted to play a little harder against Ole Miss," Washington said after the Tigers' SEC victory. "I'm pretty good friends with some of the guys from when I was going down there on visits. There was a little trash-talking out there with them."

Washington is from nearby Tallassee--about a 45-minute drive from Auburn--where he starred as an all-purpose player in high school. However, he had to opt for junior college out of Tallassee High where he drew the attention of Ole Miss after playing running back and defensive back at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College.

After he committed to Ole Miss, Auburn continued to pursue the speedy defensive back and kick returner, finally convincing he would be better suited for a career closer to home.

The junior saw plenty of action against the Rebels, rotating at cornerback and nickel back with Walt McFadden.

Washington had one of the most unusual plays of the game in the third quarter when Auburn put up a school-record 23 points for a third quarter and the Rebels scored two touchdowns.

However, after the second Ole Miss touchdown of the quarter to cut into Auburn's 31-14 lead, Washington scooped up an extra point attempt blocked by Antonio Coleman and raced the length of the field for a defensive two-point play to leave the score at 33-20. It was the first return of a conversion attempt by an Auburn player since 1998 when Brad Ware ran back a blocked kick for two points.

"I saw someone block the kick, saw the ball open and it bounced right to me. I took over and didn't think anyone could catch me," Washington said.

Closest to Washington was McFadden, who escorted him to the end zone. McFadden had two interceptions against the Rebels, returning one for a 29-yard touchdown.

"Walt is phenomenal,"Washington said. "To get two interceptions and return one for a touchdown is great. He is a super player and a great role model for me. I'm always making mistakes and Walt is right there to help me," Washington pointed out."

The loss of junior safety Zac Etheridge to a neck injury in the second quarter was a scary few minutes as Etheridge was motionless on the Jordan-Hare Stadium turf. Etheridge was transported to East Alabama Medical Center in Opelika where X-rays were negative and he was able to move his arms and legs.

"We dedicated that game to Zac. It made us come out and play harder," Washington said.

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