Defense Chops Down LSU Attack

Auburn's "too small" defense came up big in a 10-9 victory over LSU on Saturday.

Auburn, Ala.–The little axe that could did on Saturday afternoon as the Auburn Tigers defeated fifth-ranked LSU 10-9 thanks to a great final drive and the play of the defense. Holding the Bengal Tigers to just three points the last 53 minutes of the game and 308 yards of total offense, Auburn's defense that was considered too small by some came up large in the biggest game of the season to this point.

"It's a big win," Williams said. "When they first came out they were pounding us. Coach Chizik (Gene Chizik) and Coach Whitt (Joe Whitt) just told us to keep hitting, keep chopping at that wood. We had to keep chopping at the wood and they would fall. There were a couple of times that linemen came up on me, but I knew something would have to give. I was going to keep hitting them. In the fourth quarter it showed."

LSU got started early with a long 14-play, 80-yard touchdown drive led by senior quarterback Marcus Randall. Despite his success early, the Bengal Tigers inserted redshirt freshman JaMarcus Russell into the game on the third series and he played all but two series the rest of the way. Williams said it didn't really matter which quarterback was in the game because they had a job to do no matter who was under center.

"Before Russell leaves LSU he's going to do some great things," Williams said. "He's got a strong arm and courage. He's not afraid of anything. Randall took them on the first drive right down the field. I didn't know how the coaches were doing that on LSU's side, but we came out to win. We played tough defense and just had to adjust to what they were doing."

Travis Williams celebrates after the Auburn defense recovered a fumble from LSU quarterback Marcus Randall.

Finishing the day with eight solo tackles to lead Auburn, just one tackle ahead of fellow linebacker Antarrious Williams, Travis Williams let his play do the talking instead of running his mouth on or off the field. Keeping quiet and playing hard is something Williams has always done, but he admitted that other people's opinions about him and the defense gave this unit all the drive they needed to get the job done on Saturday.

"It's big because going into the season we heard a lot of stuff people put on the internet and things like that," Williams said. "That was just more fuel for our fire. A lot of people said I couldn't play the Mike (middle linebacker) and we would miss linebackers or miss defensive linemen. Everything that we read we've just fed off that.

"Now we've got 11 guys on defense," Williams said. "We don't have any big names. We're just like the New England Patriots. They don't have any big names, they just play tough defense. We do a lot of things together on and off the field. Being one of the leaders, Junior Rosegreen, myself and Carlos Rogers, we make sure that we keep all the young guys up. We just had to keep the guys ready to play through all the distractions this week."

Small by today's standards for a middle linebacker at just under 215 pounds, Williams makes up for his lack of size by playing hard and smart on the field. In tip-top condition thanks to the workout regimen of Coach Kevin Yoxall, the junior said there was little doubt he was going to play a lot of plays today.

"My whole frame of mind this summer doing workouts with Coach Yox was that we had to be machines," Williams said. "Today was just to show that I'm a machine. I wasn't coming off the field. Plus, my mom was in the stands so I always try to give her a show."

While the defense gets a lot of the credit for the victory, the play of the offense and Campbell was huge for Auburn late in the game. Needing a big drive, Auburn came up with several big plays before the fifth-year senior hit Courtney Taylor for the game winner with just 1:14 remaining in the game.

"That's big because Jason has gone through so much," Williams said. "He's been through four coordinators and had a lot of fans that really don't know football talking bad about him. The whole time I've been here Jason has never complained. He's always wanted to get the guys up. I just feel so good for Jason because he's been through a lot. He's our guy and we've got to ride with him.

"Coach Borges has a lot of stuff up his sleeve," Williams added. "But in the SEC you have to understand that it's great defense. We knew it was going to be a 15-round slugfest. We just had to keep chopping at that wood and we came out on top."

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