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Seth Williams owns the red zone


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Seth Williams shows the red zone belongs to him

Updated Nov 4, 9:42 AM; Posted Nov 4, 9:42 AM

By Tom Green | tgreen@al.com


They’re typically called 50/50 balls, the implication of course being that either player has an equal chance of making the play. When Auburn freshman Seth Williams is involved, however, teammates believe there’s nothing even about the chances.

More often than not, Williams is going to come down with it.

“I personally feel like they’re 70/30 balls when we throw them to him just because he’s such a big kid,” wide receiver Darius Slayton said. “He’s got big, strong hands and he does a great job of going up and getting the ball.”

Williams proved that again on Saturday during Auburn’s thrilling 28-24 come-from-behind win against Texas A&M at Jordan-Hare Stadium. The freshman receiver finished with two receptions for 22 yards and a pair of touchdowns, including the game-winning score with 1:41 to play to cap the Tigers’ furious late-game rally.

While Williams was targeted five times and had a third-down drop earlier in the game, his two receptions were crucial for Auburn, as the 6-foot-3, 210-pounder made his home in the red zone against the Aggies.

“I feel like anytime the ball is in the air it’s a one-on-one battle and whoever can come down with the ball is the best man at that time,” Williams said. “I’m going to come down with the ball.”

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Both of Williams’ scores were on similar plays from 11 yards out. His first touchdown came with 4:03 to go in the first half, when Jarrett Stidham found the freshman sensation in the left side of the end zone on a fade for a leaping grab on a third-and-2 play that gave Auburn a 14-10 lead.

Williams outleapt Texas A&M defensive back Charles Oliver on the play. It was Williams’ third touchdown of the season and second in the red zone.

“Seth is a freak,” Stidham said. “He will continue to be a freak for a very long time. Full confidence in him. It’s fun that I get to see him grow each week. He’s a true freshman but you wouldn’t think it the way he’s playing and just the way he’s catching on to everything. College football is an adjustment from high school, and so I couldn’t be more proud of him.”

His second touchdown was more impressive — and more meaningful.

With Auburn trailing by a field goal in the waning minutes of the game, the Tigers got a pivotal punt return from freshman Christian Tutt to set the offense up near midfield. Stidham then found Ryan Davis on a short cross over the middle that Davis turned into a 47-yard gain.

On the following snap, Stidham again connected with Williams in the left corner of the end zone, where the freshman “freak” made a leaping, outstretched grab over Aggies defensive back Myles Jones. It erased Auburn’s late-game deficit and set off a raucous celebration in Jordan-Hare Stadium.

“Zero chance it wasn’t coming down with me,” Williams said. “It’s going to come down with me if it’s up in the air.”

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Williams now has 16 receptions for 332 yards and four touchdowns this season — a quarter of his catches resulting in scores as he has emerged as a key playmaker and rising star within Auburn’s offense. He has earned the trust of both his coaches and teammates, Stidham included, and Gus Malzahn said after the game that a focus during the off week was incorporating Williams more into the offense the final month of the season.

The freshman showed why on Saturday, sending Auburn to an improbable victory and helping the team become bowl eligible for the sixth straight season.

"They were some good touchdown catches,” Williams said. “I mean, the ball came my way, so I just caught it. The last one helped us out a lot.”

Tom Green is an Auburn beat reporter for Alabama Media Group. Follow him on Twitter @Tomas_Verde.

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