Auburn, Ala.--Despite a poor second half defensive performance last week against Kentucky, linebacker Travis Williams says that the Auburn defense is still getting better and its performance against the Wildcats has no bearing on the upcoming game at Georgia.
“I think I’ve grown,” Williams says. “I think we have grown as a total defense really. We came out with a lot of young players so I think as a total defense we have grown.”
Auburn led the nation in scoring defense a year ago and isn’t far behind that pace this year, ranking fourth while allowing 12.7 points per contest. The Tigers also rank ninth in total defense allowing an average of 289 yards. Williams says that what the unit has done throughout the course of the season is much more important than one bad half of football.
“We won,” he says. “A lot of people don’t understand. We came out with a W. As long as we didn’t lose I’m alright. We’ve got to come out and focus on Georgia now.”
Saturday’s meeting between Auburn and Georgia will mark the 109th time the two schools have battled on the gridiron with Auburn holding a 52-48-8 edge. The Bulldogs own a 12-9-2 lead in games played at Jordan-Hare Stadium, but Auburn holds a 17-9 advantage at Sanford Stadium in Athens. Georgia won 26-7 two years ago in Athens, but Auburn had won nine of out the last 10 at Georgia prior to that game.
“It really doesn’t matter (where the game is played),” Williams says. “That is not going to get us to play even harder. It’s a rivalry and we’re going to go out and play. If we played them at a neutral site it’s still a rivalry and somebody has to win.”
Travis Williams has been a key defender for the Tigers throughout the season as a middle linebacker.
An Auburn win on Saturday combined with an Alabama victory over LSU would pit next Saturday’s Iron Bowl as a battle for the SEC West Championship and a trip to Atlanta on Dec. 3. However, with a battle of ranked teams in Athens Saturday night, Williams says that Georgia is all that is on his mind.
“You can’t get caught up in that,” he says. “You look at the game last Saturday night with Virginia Tech worrying about who is No. 2 and who is No. 1, and not respecting Miami. Miami came in and really handed it to them. You can’t overlook Georgia. They’re not going to overlook us so we have got to be ready.”
Kickoff is scheduled for 6:45 p.m. CST and the game will be televised on ESPN.