Bo Nix Takes Big Step In Win

Despite being the only team in college football that had two wins over ranked opponents, Auburn went into week five with questions around the team. The Tigers took the next step on Saturday night in a convincing 56-23 victory over the Mississippi State Bulldogs. The Tigers got a big boost as quarterback Bo Nix takes a big step in the win.

Bo Nix Continues To Improve

The savior label that was put on Bo Nix before the season was a bit premature. The ending of the win over Oregon in the season opener also put unrealistic expectations on him. Like any true freshman, he needed time to grow and adjust to the speed of college football.

Through the first four games Nix was completing 54% of his passing and only averaging 161.3 yards per game. Another statistic to notice is in the first two games against Oregon and Tulane he had a total of 68 pass attempts. That creates a lot of room for mistakes. His struggles also could be contributed to the fact that injuries at receiver delayed his ability to gain some confidence and rhythm within the offense. Seth Williams was out for almost two games and speedster Anthony Schwartz was limited due to a hand injury from the preseason.

On Saturday night though, it all seemed to come together. Nix had his career best game with 335 yards with two touchdowns. Most importantly he was 16 for 21 and hit the deep ball with consistency. Against the Texas A&M Aggies, he missed three deep passes to Schwartz, Will Hastings, and Eli Stove that would have iced the game a lot sooner than the Tigers did. The main target on this night and the season thus far was Seth Williams. The sophomore receiver had his best outing as a Tiger with eight receptions and 161 yards with two scores. Schwartz was big with two catches for 67 yards.

Dominant Run Game

When Auburn traveled to Starkville, Mississippi last season the Bulldogs gashed the Tigers. In that game Mississippi State ran for a total of 349 yards rushing on 57 attempts for a 6.1 average for the 23-9 victory. Quarterback Nick Fitzgerald led the way with 195 yards on 28 carries for two touchdowns. Running back Kylin Hill put up 126 yards and averaged 5.5 yards per carry. Fitzgerald is gone, but Hill looked to continue what he did last year. The Auburn defense had other ideas.

In the 2019 edition, the Bulldogs were only able to muster up 118 yards and only 45 for Hill on the evening. The leading rusher for the Bulldogs against the Tigers was once again the quarterback. Freshman Garrett Shrader led the way with 89 yards and one touchdown. Shrader came in early in the first quarter to relieve starter Tommy Stevens who suffered a lower body injury and would not return. For any team trying to run up the middle on Auburn will find this season that is not an easy task.

Auburn rushed for a total of 217 yards and it was not one guy carrying the load. It was a group effort getting it done on the ground. Nix was the leading rushing with 56 and behind was JaTarvious Whitlow with 55 yards and three scores. The first one set the tone with 12:55 in the first quarter on a 30-yard run by Whitlow. The only Bulldog to touch Whitlow on the play was live mascot Bully. Bully was ok after the play. Auburn scored five touchdowns on the ground in the first half and took a 42-9 lead into halftime.

What’s Next?

The schedule begins to get very tough in the month of October. The next game will be a road contest against 10th ranked Florida which is looking to make their claim as a national contender. Following the trip to Gainesville will be the first bye week and road trips to Arkansas and LSU. November will not get any easier with the rivalry matchups against Georgia and Alabama. Lucky for Auburn though both those contests will be in Auburn. With that gauntlet Auburn could be an 8-4 team still or they could be a playoff contender.