Every football season is remembered for a few shining moments.
For Auburn, a 10-point, fourth-quarter comeback against Texas A&M capped off by an acrobatic 11-yard touchdown catch by Seth Williams, stands out as one of those high marks in 2018, Tiger defensive end Marlon Davidson said.
“That was nice,” he said. “Just having good moments ... every year you will have a great moment. That was one of our moments last year. That one and the Purdue game. We were just trying to build off of things.”
The Aggies led 24-14 headed into the fourth quarter with slightly less than 86,000 ready to exit Jordan-Hare Stadium in Auburn, Alabama.
“I saw the sideline, and [the Aggies] were all hype because they actually thought they were actually about to win,” offensive lineman Prince Tega Wanogho said.
A&M quarterback Kellen Mond threw his lone interception of the day to Tiger defensive back Noah Igbinoghene with 7:14 left, which Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn described as the play of the game. It ended up being the only interception of the season for Igbinoghene.
Five plays later, Auburn cut A&M’s lead to three on a 1-yard touchdown run by Chandler Cox.
The Aggies strung together seven plays on their ensuing possession, but the drive stalled out on their own 45-yard line thanks to a second-down sack by defensive tackle Derrick Brown.
“I remember that because I saw that play coming up on TV and stuff and the internet,” Brown said.
Through the first eight games of the 2018 season, Auburn had yet to win when trailing entering the fourth quarter. Also, the home team in the A&M-Auburn series had not won since the Aggies joined the SEC in 2012. The Tigers bucked both trends, mounting their only fourth-quarter comeback of the season.
“I remember we were on the sideline and we go back on the field and we were like, ‘This is it right here. We have to go play. Now whatever happens happens,’” Wanogho said.
Williams’ big catch happened.
The 6-foot-3, 224-pounder beat A&M defensive back Myles Jones and leapt forward, snagging the game-winning pass from Jarrett Stidham and securing the touchdown with a drag of his toes.
“Seth Williams, the last catch he made, that was amazing,” Wanogho said. “I’ve never seen someone actually pulling it in there and actually look so athletic.”
The comeback effort was the difference between a six- and seven-win regular season, which makes a difference in the locker room, Wanogho said. The Tigers had entered the game at 5-3 with only one impressive win so far, a 21-16 victory over Washington to lead off the season. Their 31-16 win over Ole Miss two weeks prior had snapped a two-game losing streak.
“It actually brought a momentum to our team, because we needed that,” Wanogho said. “We literally needed that. It was a home game, too, so we knew we actually needed to get this one.”
It didn’t take long for Auburn to realize it was one of those key moments in the 2018 season, which ended with an 8-5 record and a 63-14 win over Purdue in the Music City Bowl.
A photo of Williams’ game-winning catch now hangs in Auburn’s Student Activities Center.
“I mean it was important, you know,” Davidson said. “Seth Williams made a beautiful catch.”