Bo Nix Delivers In Auburn Debut

The 2020 SEC football season gets started this weekend when the Auburn Tigers host the Kentucky Wildcats in the marquee game of the weekend.
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Saturday night felt like destiny fulfilled for Bo Nix when he connected with Seth Williams for the go-ahead score with just nine seconds left against Oregon. The last time the Tigers faced off with the Ducks, Nix was in attendance for that game as well. That was the 2011 BCS National Championship when Auburn defeated Oregon 22-19 and Nix was in the stands watching as a fan. This time he was the catalyst of the comeback.

Bo Nix Delivers In Auburn Debut

The X-Factor

Whatever “it” is, Nix showed in the final moments he has it. In sports just a few moments can define a career. It can create a legacy. In the final Auburn drive, Nix had a few of those “moments”. Bo to Seth will be and has been played repeatedly on all the highlight shows, but that was not the most important play Nix made.

With 1:21 remaining in the game Auburn faced a fourth down with three yards to go. This was the play that had to be made or the Oregon Ducks would be the victor. It is a very interesting call here for head coach Gus Malzahn. It is a moment where he had no choice but to have faith in his true freshman quarterback. So, Auburn ran a rollout to the right and with no one open Nix put his athleticism to good use and ran for the first down. He got it by the nose of the football. Nix very easily could have forced a pass there, but instead he had to confidence to take it upon himself to make the play.

With 16 seconds left the setup play happened. The play before the play. People will talk about the Seth Williams touchdown for years and what it meant for Nix. The play was just a simple 13-yard pass to Williams near the out of bounds marker. It really was a throw of confidence. It also would have meant a fourth down coming from the Oregon 39 had it not been completed. Then, Malzahn would have a tough decision to make. It would have been either trust Nix on a fourth and long or kick the long field goal. The Williams catch before the touchdown catch gave Auburn the chance they needed.

First Half Struggles

Sometimes during a movie, the first two acts can be somewhat disappointing. But if the final act is amazing that’s the part, we will all remember and celebrate. This game had that quality. Especially for Nix.

He was very inconsistent in the start going 13 for 31. The Auburn offensive line did not do many favors for their inexperienced signal-caller either. While he was only sacked once in the game, he was hurried seven times on the stat sheet. This was an issue for the previous quarterback Jarrett Stidham last season. Many times, Stidham had to leave the pocket to just throw the ball away due to the constant pressure he was under.

Unlike Stidham, Nix has the ability and the want to use his mobility to make plays. That can be a blessing and a sin at the exact same time. Nix on multiple occasions decided instead of throwing the ball away to force things down the field and threw two interceptions in the second quarter. The interceptions were also a result of the game being too fast for Nix, and not being able to see the field correctly. That should be corrected with experience.

What’s Next?

Auburn was very fortunate to come out with a victory in week one. Oregon had plenty of chances to put it away early, but the Ducks were unable to take advantage. Auburn needs to find a more consistent rushing attack so they can take some of the pressure off Nix while he gets more comfortable with the college game. The future is bright for this team, but the present may still present some issues.