Auburn Football: 5 Tigers to Watch vs Louisiana Tech

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Sep 18, 2014; Manhattan, KS, USA; Auburn Tigers wide receiver D’haquille Williams (1) makes a catch against Kansas State Wildcats defensive back Danzel McDaniel (7) during a 20-14 Tigers win at Bill Snyder Family Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Scott Sewell-USA TODAY Sports

Following last Thursday’s 20-14 win over Kansas State, the Auburn football team is now 3-0 on the season.

The non-conference date with the Wildcats was the first road game of 2014 for the Tigers, who return home this Saturday to face the 2-2 Louisiana Tech Bulldogs. Afterwards, Auburn will set out on an SEC odyssey that features seven teams ranked among the best 17 in the nation according to the AP Top 25.

Based on their performances last week in Manhattan, here are five Auburn football players to watch for this week against the Bulldogs.

#1 D’haquille Williams, 6-foot-2, 216 pounds, Junior, Wide Receiver

The offense may have struggled as a whole against Kansas State last week, but wide receiver D’haquille “Duke” Williams had another great game for the Auburn football team. On a national stage with ESPN cameras carrying college football’s only game of the night, Williams stepped up and carried the Tigers’ receiving corps against the Wildcats.

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He finished with eight catches for 110 yards and a touchdown, but the most important catch was a crucial 3rd-and-9 pass from Nick Marshall with 2:06 left on the clock. It was a gutsy play call by head coach Gus Malzahn. Had the two not connected, Auburn would have had to punt and K-State would have the ball with plenty of time left in the game and a chance to win it.

Instead, Williams ran a “sluggo” route, which looks like a slant before the wide receiver turns up the field. It was the perfect call since Auburn and Williams had had great success to that point with slant routes.

“Do we want to run the ball or do we want to pass the ball? I was like, ‘Just give me a chance,'” Williams said. “I felt like he’d bite on the slant, and when I ran the slant, he bit on it and I had enough room to catch the ball.”

The 39-yard reception was Williams’ 21st catch of the season. The junior college transfer now has 15 catches more than the next closest teammate in that category. He has turned those receptions into 324 yards and two scores. Thus far as an Auburn Tiger, Williams is averaging 108 receiving yards per game and 15.4 yards per catch.

Williams will face a Louisiana Tech secondary this Saturday this may be weaker overall than the Kansas State defensive backs he victimized last week. But, with defensive coordinator Manny Diaz calling the shots for the Bulldogs, Williams and Marshall are likely to see different and more complicated looks than they have thus far.

Watch for Williams this week against the Bulldogs, not necessarily because he will be challenged by their scheme or talent, but because you may only get nine or ten more opportunities to see him playing Auburn football. Duuuuuuuuuuuke is a physical freak that may be in the NFL this time next year.