Bo Nix’s Outstanding Road Performance Leads Auburn Past Arkansas No.17
Bo Nix’s future as Auburn’s starting quarterback was tenuous just three weeks ago.
The junior was benched in the second half against Georgia State, relegated to a secondary spectator as substitute TJ Finley claimed a victory from behind and sparked a week-long controversy over the Plains quarterback. Oh, how things change.
Since retiring from the bench on September 25 at home, Nix has responded impressively, stringing together three solid performances heading into the week off – the most recent of which was by far the best of his career on the road and against a ranked opponent. Nix completed 21 of 26 passes for 292 yards and three total touchdowns as Auburn knocked out the Arkansas No.17, 38-23, on Saturday afternoon in Fayetteville, Arkansas.
“Nothing has really changed; I’m the same player, ”Nix said. “I come focused everyday, ready to have a good day and to compete. I think at the end of the day the competition is just the main thing – I think that’s the main factor in my game. “
Nix’s performance against Arkansas led Auburn to his sixth straight win in the series – a necessary victory for the Tigers after losing their first two outings to ranked opponents this season – and it was perhaps the best effort. individual of the third year starter. career.
Nix’s struggles both on the road and against ranked opponents have been well documented throughout his career. He entered the season with a career completion rate of 54.5% in nine real road games, with more interceptions (10) than touchdowns (nine) and an average of attempted yards per pass of 5.65.
An early-season loss at Penn State, when he played well but made just 21 of 37 passes for 185 yards, didn’t do much to rewrite the book on Nix. But he had a tough road victory at LSU two weeks ago, a week off his bench against Georgia State, and followed it with a strong performance against Georgia marred by dropped passes.
Everything went perfectly against Arkansas. He opened the game 6 of 6 passing 72 yards and a touchdown on Auburn’s opening possession, the Tigers’ first touchdown on a first down against an SEC opponent since 2019. He completed passes. to 10 different receivers and finished with a 192.8 quarterback, his second best on the road of his career.
“Anyone can get a piece of the pie,” said wide receiver Demetris Robertson.
Nix’s only mistake of the day came late in the first half, when Auburn tried to be aggressive with his pre-half play and Nix threw an interception down the left sideline on a double kick. Ze’Vian Capers. It almost rocked the game for Arkansas, who took advantage of the mid-game eight minutes to score 14 straight points to take the lead.
But Nix and Auburn responded. The Tigers regained the lead on a defensive touchdown, then after a fourth defensive save, Nix found Robertson for a 71-yard touchdown on the first snap after the change of possession. That gave Auburn a 28-17 lead with 4:16 left in the third.
Nix then sealed the game in the fourth quarter, as Auburn put in a methodical 12-play, 75-yard practice that sapped 6:11 on the clock. On that record, Nix completed 3 of 3 passes for 37 yards. He also converted a crucial third down on a quarterback sweep on a false backhand, then stamped out Arkansas hopes with a 23-yard touchdown on a draw in an empty set to carry the lead of ‘Auburn at 3 pm with 2:30 to play.
“He’s a competitor so that’s something I would expect from him, he just came out and lead these guys,” said defenseman Derick Hall. “… He wants to win, and it has shown in the last three weeks. He’s going to keep growing and improving, and that’s right, like I said, he’s our quarterback, and we back him 100 percent.
Since that second half against Georgia State, Nix has completed 65 of his 108 passes for 764 yards while posting five total touchdowns and leading Auburn to his two biggest wins of the season against LSU and now 17th in Arkansas.
Not much has changed for Nix over the past three weeks, but it certainly looks like his second-half bench has kindled a competitive fire beneath him that has produced some of his best football yet.
“When I go out there and compete and want the ball and want the ball at the end of the game like today, that’s when I’m at my best.” , Nix said. “And I think our team as a whole would obviously agree.”
Tom Green is an Auburn beat reporter for Alabama Media Group. Follow him on twitter @Tomas_Verde.