COSTA MESA — Mike Williams was barely home from the return flight from Sunday’s AFC Wild-card Playoff victory in Baltimore when he was on the move again.
The former Clemson All-American joined his alma mater on the sideline at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara for Monday Night’s College Football Playoff national championship blowout of Alabama.
True freshman wide receiver Justin Ross had 153 yards receiving and two touchdowns in the 44-16 beatdown.
“Another great game for WRU,” declared Williams, alluding to Wide Receiver University.
Ross made a pair spectacular one-handed catches to sustain touchdown drives.
Two years ago, it was Williams making the circus catches, including one that kept the winning drive alive for Clemson. In all, he caught eight passes for 74 yards and a touchdown.
When Williams, who had to sit out his rookie season while injured last year, got back to the Hoag Performance Center Tuesday, he was newly motivated for Sunday’s AFC Divisional Playoff game at New England.
“Obviously, Tom Brady is the greatest quarterback of all time, and Bill Belichick may be the greatest coach,” Williams said. So I guess in a lot of ways you could draw an analogy to Alabama, because they’re seemingly in the championship game every year.”
Williams’ ability to make the big catch prompted the Chargers to select him seventh overall in 2017.
In huge road wins at London, Seattle, Pittsburgh and Kansas City, Williams again delivered the big catch in clutch time.
The 6-foot-3 wide receiver only caught two passes at Baltimore. But he averaged 21 yards per catch.
“Mike has worked hard to emerge as one of our go-to guys on key downs,” said Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers. “I have confidence that if I throw the ball up there to him, he’s going to come down with it.”
Keenan Allen remains Rivers’ favorite target.
But Williams’ big-play threat could draw the coverage of New England’s All-Pro cornerback Stephon Gilmore Sunday.
Gilmore only allowed 46.7 percent of the passes thrown his way to be completed, and then for an average of barely 11 yards.
One tape Williams has studied extensively this week is the Tennessee Titans’ 34-10 whipping of the Patriots in Nashville.
Matched against Gilmore, 6-foot-2 Titans wide receiver Corey Davis caught six of the eight passes sent his way for 98 yards and a touchdown.
“We’re up against a great opponent,” Williams said. “But that game Monday night would get you fired up to play anybody.”