Observations: Auburn 13, Texas A&M 10
Colby Wooden called his shot, the backs ran wild, and Cadillac Williams brought "what it means to be Auburn" back to Jordan-Hare Stadium.
(Zach Bland/Auburn Athletics)
Colby Wooden called it.
During an injury timeout, Wooden told coaches, teammates — anyone who would listen to him, really — what he was about to do. Texas A&M had held him off on the edge all night by double-teaming him and pushing him outside.
“Bruh, I can beat this dude,” Wooden said in the huddle. “Watch this. I’m gonna go get it.”
So, the next opportunity he got, Wooden decided he was going to try to jump the snap, perform a stab-and-club move on the left tackle and beat the protection to the point.
When it worked, the scene almost developed in slow motion. Texas A&M freshman quarterback Conner Weigman never saw Wooden coming. Wooden’s blind-side sack jarred the ball loose, and teammate Morris Joseph Jr. fell on it.
Auburn got the ball in prime field position to extend its lead to a vital two scores late in the fourth quarter. The Tigers would go on to hold on for a 13-10 win, with Wooden’s called shot being a huge difference.
“The next play he went out and did exactly what he said he was going to do,” linebacker Cam Riley said. “I was shook about it. I'm still shook right now that he actually did that.”
One might not have expected a player on a 3-6 team to be so confident in that moment. Then again, one might not have expected that player to be motivated by a sellout crowd that created an explosive Jordan-Hare Stadium atmosphere comparable to high-stakes Iron Bowls.
But this is Auburn — like, locking arms in the tunnel and playing “Welcome to the Jungle” Auburn.
As Wooden put it, the Tigers “have gotten away from what it means to be Auburn.” Interim head coach Cadillac Williams brought it back, firing up a team and an entire fan base to give everything they got toward the end of a season that was lost long ago under a now-fired head coach.
“When we got off the bus, man, we saw that Tiger Walk, man — we instantly said, when we got in the locker room, like 'Bro, it's back,’” running back Tank Bigsby said. “This the feeling we been looking for. Like I was just saying, Auburn's so special, and those of you that have been here, you know how special this place is. Just to be able to see our fans and family support us the way they did today, due to outcomes that we had this season, man, it's amazing.
“It's a blessing to be able to stay together. That truly shows what Auburn was about today.”
It wasn’t pretty. It had its fair share of frustrations. But the win was 100% Auburn. It was the kind of showing that encouraged everyone else to just watch and see what Auburn really is.
“It’s special, and it’s something nobody can ever take away from us,” Williams said.
Here are five Observations from Williams’ first career win as a head coach, along with Nerd Stats and the Quote of the Night.
A dominant Auburn defense took full advantage of its matchup
Saturday night was a nostalgia-filled family reunion for Auburn football. There were so many references to the undefeated 2004 team, and a large number of players from that team were in attendance to see their former teammate get on the big stage at home.
And the game itself felt like a callback to games from Williams’ days as a player. Auburn had 330 yards of total offense and averaged just 4.9 yards per play. Those are pedestrian numbers in modern college football and have been all too common for the Tigers recently.
But the undefeated 2004 team that Williams was on? That team won three different games — LSU, Alabama and Virginia Tech — with fewer yards than what 2022 Auburn got Saturday night against Texas A&M. And that was perfectly fine with the former running back, now at the helm of the program.
“Everybody will tell you, when I was a player here, I always loved to watch the defense play,” Williams said. “I love to watch defense fly around. I love to watch the relentless effort, the grind, the playing together, the 11 men to the ball, the tenacity, the fight, the grind, the hitting, the physicality. Love it. Like I tell those guys, I cannot wait to see them cats play.”