If you happen to stroll by WSU football practice today, you won't see the receiver who snared the critical game-tying touchdown with just one second left in regulation -- the catch that made the Cougars' biggest win of the season possible.
That's because Dom Williams is in California mourning the death of his grandmother, Jennie Dodd, who passed away at age 73 on October 4.
If you didn't know, Dodd raised Williams in Pomona, California, helping him stay out of trouble in a city whose gangs have claimed more than a few lives, both literally and figuratively. And since the soft-spoken Williams isn't one to run around drawing attention to himself, the only public mentions of his loss you'll find are a pair of retweets of a couple of vague references to Dodd.
Williams confirmed his family's loss to us last night via direct message on Twitter.
Kind of puts his performance on Saturday in a little different context, yeah?
Williams finished with 7 catches for 82 yards and the aforementioned touchdown, but that doesn't even begin to tell the story of his afternoon, which had a rocky start. His uneven performance in the first half included a pair of drops, both of which would have converted first downs.
The second, on 4th-and-2, might have picked up a lot more than just the first down:
Dom had one dude in between him and the end zone on this 4th and 2 drop. pic.twitter.com/RYdzWQuUCb— Britton K. Ransford (@BKRansford) October 12, 2015
Fans were frustrated -- Williams oozes potential, but he seems to have these lapses from time to time.
If only we knew.
It's impressive enough for a player to keep plugging away after a couple of gaffes; it's even more so when the player commits a pair of errors while presumably being emotionally drained. Incredibly, nobody's going to remember those drops. They're going to remember how he took a huge shot on the sideline from an Oregon defender and held onto the ball:
They're going to remember how he and Luke Falk combined for a 23-yard gain on 3rd-and-21 on the final drive:
And of course, they're going to remember this:
Turns out, Williams' performance against the Ducks was gutsier than we ever could have imagined. I'm sure nothing can take away whatever pain he's feeling today, as he attends his grandmother's memorial service. But I don't think it's too presumptive to believe Dodd would be incredibly proud of how Williams performed in the wake of her passing.
I know I am.