If Karlos Williams’ head was other places tonight– it’s understandable.
On the morning of Williams’ first start at running back — on what was supposed to be a milestone in his life — Williams received word that his grandmother had passed away.
It was a moment he had been preparing for, but it was a tough moment nonetheless.
“I had a lot of closure with her,” said Williams after the game. “So I knew that time was coming. Didn’t really know exactly [when] but I knew it was coming soon.”
Last week as Florida State broke camp Williams left to spend some time with his ailing grandmother. She had been in the hospital with swelling and bleeding in her brain and the family knew the prognosis wasn’t good.
“We didn’t think she was going to make it and last that long [we thought she had] probably about a week, week and a half,” said Williams. “I went home, spent some time with her, said my last goodbyes, got a lot of closure then. We expected her to [pass] earlier this week, but she made it home, spent 48 hours at home, finally got to be out of the hospital, back to her comfort zone, got to be around her own house, be in her own environment and she went home.”
Williams didn’t have an easy morning, and he certainly didn’t have an easy night. He carried the ball 23 times for 66 yards, he fumbled once and narrowly avoided losing a second fumble when an official whistled that his forward progress had been stopped.
But he was there when Florida State needed him.
On a night when the blocking was shoddy and the lanes failed to open with any regularity, Williams ground out yardage and kept plugging away as FSU fought for its 37-31 win.
He caught a 21-yard pass to set Florida State up in field goal position at the start of the 4th quarter. He had his biggest run of the day — sealing the game by churning for ten yards and a big Seminole first down — as Florida State tried to milk the clock on its final possession. It may not have been pretty, but when FSU needed him– Williams answered the call.
“I’m very religious and I definitely believe that she’s up in heaven, watching down on me,” said Williams. “She was with me tonight, getting those tough yards and I know she’s proud.”
Added Jameis Winston: “That was just amazing to me… That was his first game, [where] he is the [starting] running back for Florida State. It just showed tremendous character for him. We made sure we had his back. Of course someone’s going to be [unnerved] when you lose something so important to you, but he manned up and he did his job and he went out there played a great game.”
Despite the loss, Williams wasn’t ready to blame any part of his night on being heartbroken or distracted: “It didn’t really bother me too much — losing anybody in the family definitely hurts — but I just know she’s in a better place looking down on me and I’m going to make her proud all season.”