Auburn football great William Andrews in Alabama Sports Hall of Fame

AUBURN – In a game of inches, one inch still haunts former Auburn football coach Doug Barfield.

It’s the inch that wasn’t credited to William Andrews in a 1978 game against Georgia. On the last snap of the first half, Auburn ran a draw to Andrews near midfield. The mighty fullback took off and appeared to score a touchdown. He was tackled from behind at the last second.

“He ended up about waist deep in the end zone,” Barfield said.

“I took it all the way down to …” Andrews paused. “Well, I believe I scored.”

But the referees spotted the ball inside the 1-yard line as time expired. The game ended in a 22-22 tie, snatching a dramatic upset from Auburn and knocking Georgia out of the Sugar Bowl.

Former Auburn running back William Andrews at the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame, where he was inducted in the class of 2022.

It was a defining moment in Barfield’s five-year tenure that “stays with me,” but it also reflected two of Andrews’ traits. First, even after his carries were reduced, “you wanted him to have the ball if it was a critical situation,” Barfield said.

More importantly was Andrews’ reaction.

He briefly pleaded his case – “If my knee hit on the 2-yard line, where’s the rest of my body? It had to be across the goal line” – then shrugged it off and carried on. While Auburn tried to prove his touchdown with an eight-millimeter film taken from the sideline, Andrews figured “it didn’t do any good to argue,” Barfield remembers.

“That’s William,” teammate Joe Cribbs laughed.

Williams’ positivity endured that robbery. His friendliness endured a position battle against Cribbs and James Brooks, a three-headed monster that formed Auburn’s legendary “ABC” backfield. And his patience endured the long wait to be immortalized alongside Cribbs and Brooks in the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame.

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