December 2, 2022

Deuce Vaughn refusing to hang his head after loss

Kansas State Wildcats Football

Kansas State running back Deuce Vaughn lined up in the backfield against Baylor in the fourth quarter Saturday November 20, 2021 at Bill Snyder Family Stadium. (Lynn Harrington/stayaliveinpower5)

MANHATTAN, Kan. — Saturday’s loss to Baylor was bittersweet for Kansas State’s star rusher.

Although Deuce Vaughn eclipsed the 1,000-yard mark on the season, he felt that he let the seniors down on their special night. After all, the loss was the Wildcats’ fourth-straight to the Bears and it snapped their four-game winning streak.

Vaughn’s performance was a great accomplishment, considering he’s Kansas State’s first 1,000-yard rusher since Alex Barnes accomplished that feat in 2018. The Texas native even took the pigskin 65 yards to the house towards the end of the second quarter to pull his team within a touchdown, but the offense sputtered after that.

Not being able to provide a spark for the Wildcats in the second half is what frustrated Vaughn the most, and he hates that they had to take that walk of shame back to the locker room afterwards.

“I really wanted to get that W for those guys in there,” Vaughn said. “We appreciate them and everything they’ve done over the past four, five, six years here at Kansas State.”

It didn’t help Kansas State’s offense when starting quarterback Skylar Thompson got injured and never returned. The Wildcats’ play-calling on offense became predictable and the Bears’ defense stacked the box to stop the run and forced Jaren Lewis to throw the ball. However, Lewis only attempted one pass on the night, which was an interception and the offense couldn’t generate any momentum.

That took another element out of Vaughn’s game, because he has the softest hands of any running back in the Big 12 and is always a threat to catch the ball out of the backfield.

“It’s one of those things where you wanted to go out there and get that win for them,” he said. “To come up short like that, it’s one of those things that’s going to haunt me for a long, long time.”

Regardless of the matter, the Wildcats don’t have time to hang their heads, with a short week before traveling on the road for the regular season finale. Kansas State (7-4) will square off against a Texas team coming off six-straight losses. Vaughn is excited about returning to his home state, and he wants to get that bad taste of defeat out of his mouth.

Which is why the five-foot-six, 173-pound Vaughn will be looking for his eighth 100-yard rushing performance on the year against the Longhorns. Although the former three-star prospect is still within grasps of finishing the regular season as the league’s rushing champion, all Vaughn cares about his helping the Wildcats get back on the winning track.

Still, the Texas native isn’t shying away from the opportunity. Vaughn appreciates all of the accolades he’s received this fall, but he’s focused on the task at hand and determined after last week’s loss at home.

“Humbling, but a lot more work to do, especially with one more game left in the regular season, and of course the bowl game.”