Cadillac Faces Major Challenge From LSU Defense

Carnell Williams and the Auburn offense could be facing their toughest challenge of the SEC season against a highly-regarded LSU defense.

Auburn, Ala.--Saturday night in Baton Rouge, the SEC's hottest offensive player will collide with the SEC hottest defense. What happens when Carnell "Cadillac" Williams goes for his fourth straight 150-yard rushing game will probably go a long way in determining who wins the SEC West showdown as Auburn travels to LSU.

"With their D-front, their linebackers and secondary, they have a great defense," Williams says of the LSU defense that is rated fourth in the nation in yards allowed per game at 263.4. "They are well-coached. It is probably going to be one of those grind 'em games, but as an offense we are looking forward to it."

LSU is allowing just 9.9 points per game, which is number one in the national statistics. The Bayou Bengals are also first in rushing defense, giving up just 53.1 yards per game. The Cadillac has personally rushed for 165.3 yards per contest in Auburn's last three victories over Tennessee, Arkansas and Mississippi State.

Williams abused the Mississippi State defense last week by rushing for six touchdowns, which tied the SEC single game record.

Although he is a junior, this will be the first time Williams has actually played in a game vs. LSU. He was injured when the two teams met the previous two seasons. Last season, in Auburn's 31-7 victory over LSU, Ronnie Brown and Tre Smith both had strong games at the tailback position for Coach Tommy Tuberville's Tigers. Brown ran the football 18 times for 95 yards and two touchdowns. Smith had 11 carries for 80 yards.

"I am really looking forward to it," Williams says of Saturday's showdown. "LSU has a great team, great coaching. Their stadium is one of the best in the country...their fans. It is a great opportunity for us to go down there and play."

Like many of his teammates, Williams says he enjoys playing in a loud, hostile road environment. He says the noise at Tiger Stadium shouldn't be a problem for him. "Sometimes when Jason (QB Jason Campbell) is trying to check off at the line I have trouble hearing and I have to run up and get the play, but other than that as far as the crowd noise and things like that it is all fun. As a running back it doesn't affect me at all.

"Their fans are kind of rowdy," Williams adds. "They are some great fans. They love LSU football. It is going to be a great atmosphere going down to play those guys. We are looking forward to it."

After losing the opening two games and looking horrible in doing it with only three points scored in losses to Southern Cal and Georgia Tech, Auburn is looking for its sixth straight victory. One of the main reasons for the turnaround is improved play by the guys blocking for the Cadillac and Auburn's other running backs.

Williams says he never lost faith in the offensive line. "I think those guys have gotten so much better," he says. "They have worked so hard. I know early in the year they took a lot of criticism of not being a good offensive line, but the whole time we knew the potential. We knew to stick with them. Now they are gelling and those guys are doing a great job."

Williams has been named SEC Player of the Week an unprecedented three straight times. He is also getting plenty of attention as one of the nation's top offensive players. "It really hasn't hit me yet," Williams says. "Both my mom and dad have called me and updated me about all the stuff going on about me, but it just hasn't hit me yet. I am just trying to stay focused to help this team however I can."

LSU is 6-1 overall and 3-1 in the SEC. Its only loss was a surprising 19-7 homefield setback on Oct. 11th against the Florida Gators. After playing Auburn, LSU has SEC games left at Alabama and Ole Miss and closes the regular season at home on Nov. 29th vs. Arkansas.

As a freshman, Williams was injured in the Alabama game the week before Auburn played LSU and missed that contest. As a sophomore, Williams was injured at Florida, the week before the LSU game. "I know it was around this time my injury occurred," he says. "There is no fear. I am not going to go out there and play tense or try to play injury free. I am just going to go out there and play hard and see what happens."

What happens Saturday night will go a long way to determining if Auburn reaches its preseason goal of reaching the SEC Championship Game.

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