The 6-2, 230-pounder out of St. Paul’s in Mobile stepped in at outside linebacker for junior Kris Frost, who suffered a leg knee injury that occurred after he tipped a pass intercepted by defensive lineman Montravius Adams in the first quarter.
Williams responded with a four solo stops and three assists for seven total tackles, tied with Jonathan Mincy for second on the day behind McKinzy’s nine total tackles.
“I got a lot of playing time tonight, but I could have played better,” Williams said. “Now, I know what I have to work on, especially with these upcoming games we have in the SEC. It was a great game to get me started.
“I am already better at a lot of things since I’ve been here,” Williams noted. “Coach (Ryan) Russell (strength coach) really got me ready to play a lot. I looked at Coach Russell and he gave me the eye and I said I’m not tired.”
Williams said his teammates helped out.“I got nervous when I first got out there, but my teammates told me to just play my game. We play as one. If one person makes a tackle, it’s the defense making the tackle. That’s why I came to Auburn. All the older guys picked me up and I caught on to the speed quickly.”
He missed an opportunity for an interception when he dropped the ball that landed right in his hands. “I say it like it was in slow motion. I was thinking it was going to be my first interception, but I let it get away from me. I did see the replay, but couldn’t put my head down. I had to keep playing.”
The young Tiger is excited about his future at Auburn. “Coach said if we came to play it would be our time to make a statement,” he said. “Nobody really has really talked about the defense in the last few years. It’s about time for people to start saying that defense is a prime thing for Auburn.”
In other news and notes:
*When Cameron Artis-Payne raced in from the five-yard-line for Auburn’s first touchdown back-up quarterback Jeremy Johnson took the shotgun snap and handed off to Artis-Payne while starting quarterback Nick Marshall was lined up as a wideout.
*It was Artis-Payne’s fifth score of the season and his 11th career rushing TD.
*Duke Williams’ second-quarter TD catch of 18 yards on a tipped ball was his third scoring reception of the season.
*Quan Bray’s two TD catches were his first of the season, the first time in his career he has had two TD catches in a game. It gives Bray five TD receptions for his career. He finished with a career-high 91 yards receiving on three receptions, topping his previous career best day of 80 yards vs. Mississippi State in 2013.
*Bray also had a punt return for a touchdown, his second of the season. He is only the second player in Auburn history to score two punt return touchdowns in the same season (Mike Fuller in 1974). The 76-yard punt return was the seventh-longest in school history and the fifth-longest in school history that went for a touchdown.
*C.J. Uzomah caught his first touchdown of the season with a 15-yard catch from Johnson. It was the fifth receiving touchdown of his career.