AUBURN, Ala. — It had been a while since Auburn football needed a clutch field goal, but it didn’t take Daniel Carlson long to prove he hadn’t tarnished in more than a month of downtime.
The junior, also known as “Legatron”, drilled four field goals and added four extra points in the Tigers’ 40-29 road win over Ole Miss on Saturday. The Tigers return home Saturday to play Vanderbilt (noon ET, ESPN).
“It was fun to be out there a little more, contribute,” Carlson said. “We’re just glad we were able to do our job. It’s a huge win for us.”
Carlson netted a 45-yard field goal at the end of the first quarter. He followed with makes from 32 and 30 yards before nailing a kick from 47 yards to put Auburn ahead 33-29.
The Colorado native hit his fourth extra point of the night a few minutes later following a Josh Holsey interception and three-play scoring drive to seal the win.
Even though five weeks had passed since Carlson scored all 18 points in Auburn’s thrilling home victory over LSU, nerves never overwhelmed him.
“The best kicker in the country,” as head coach Gus Malzahn often refers to him, proceeded normally.
“I’ve done it hundreds of thousands of times, however many times I’ve done it, so just relax and try to find different ways I like to relax,” Carlson said. “Just go out there and give my best. Whether I make it or miss it, when I get back to the sideline I know the sideline is going to have my back. That helps, and then just trusting myself and my holder and my snapper that everyone is going to do their job, and hopefully I will too.”
Carlson’s confidence is rooted in practice and the maturity he’s gained in his four years on the Plains. It also helps to have Tyler Stovall — dubbed Papa Stove by his teammates — by his side.
“I’ve learned a lot of things along the way,” Carlson said. “Having a holder and snapper that do their job consistently at a high level, too, really helps me continue to push myself. Just taking on a big responsibility and I guess treating it as such. I’ve really focused hard on executing every kick I’m able to do.”
As good as he was against the Rebels, Carlson wasn’t pleased with everything. His nine kickoffs resulted in only six touchbacks.
“If there’s one thing I can take away from this game is there’s improvement there, especially in this game. I’ll look at film and stuff, but it’s a big field position battle,” Carlson said. “Just to make sure they end up on the 25 instead of the chance of them breaking a long return every once in a while. It’s a momentum killer, too. It’s kind of depressing when you get touchback after touchback after touchback. I take pride in that, so hopefully, I’ll fix that and do better.”
Carlson has converted 17 of 18 field goals (94.4 percent) and scored 90 of the Tigers’ 290 points this season.
Much like Auburn’s, Carlson’s goals will stay the same the next four games. His pursuit of the Lou Groza Award for the nation’s top kicker continues.
“I’m just really focusing in on trying to remain as perfect as I can be,” Carlson said.