"This game is special for me with me being from Alabama," says Williams, who vividly remembers his brief appearance in the first quarter of the 2001 Iron Bowl game when he used his quickness and cutting ability to run through the Tide defense for 39 yards on five carries early in the first quarter. However, the fifth run was his last one of that season as he was sidelined by a shoulder injury.
Williams says that he felt like he was going to have a big day based on how he was running vs. Bama. "I started feeling real good--pumped up," the tailback says. "It just went down the drain on that one carry. Hopefully, things will be different this year."
A year later, in his second opportunity to play in the Iron Bowl, Williams was a spectator from start to finish as he and fellow tailback Ronnie Brown watched as then-freshman Tre Smith led the Tigers to victory in Tuscaloosa. Williams was lost for the season in 2002 with a broken bone in his leg in Auburn's game at Florida. The Tigers also played without tailback Ronnie Brown, who was also injured, but won 17-7 in Tuscaloosa a makeshift running back corps featuring tight end Cooper Wallace at fullback. Williams said it was a "great feeling" to see his backup Tre Smith step up and run for 126 yards vs. the Crimson Tide and the Auburn defense have a strong performance that day.
Carnell Williams has rushed for 2,394 yards in 27 games as an Auburn Tiger. He has started 17 of those games.
This season, as a junior, the 5-11, 200-pounder from Attalla has avoided injuries and has rushed for 1,035 yards and 13 touchdowns. He has been named SEC Player of the Week three times. However, he has also been on the losing end of the scoreboard five times this fall, a most unexpected result for the junior tailback and his teammates.
With no chance to play for the league championship, the Cadillac says he is turning all of his attention to beating Alabama. "The rivalry is a great one," he says. "I think on Saturday it is going to be a fight out there." Williams adds, "Growing up, as a little kid, this is one I always wanted to play in and always wanted to watch so it will be very special for me Saturday night."
Despite what Williams calls "an up and down" season, he says that he has enjoyed playing for the Tigers this season. He adds that will be especially fun on Saturday as the Tigers march into Jordan-Hare Stadium through a sea of orange and blue for the Tiger Walk. "This is the biggest game of the year and one of the best rivalries ever," he notes.
Saturday's game vs. Alabama, which is 4-7 this season, will kickoff at 6:45 p.m. from Jordan-Hare Stadium with television coverage on ESPN. "I am really looking forward to it," Williams says. "The most important thing this weekend is for us to go out and get a victory."