Football By: Greg Ostendorf
BATON ROUGE, La. – A week ago, Bo Nix watched from the sideline in Jordan-Hare Stadium as T.J. Finley led Auburn down the field and threw the game-winning touchdown to beat Georgia State. On Saturday night at LSU, it was his turn.
The junior quarterback orchestrated an 11-play, 92-yard drive in the final five minutes capped by a 1-yard touchdown run from Jarquez Hunter, which proved to be the winning score.
After the game, it was all smiles for Nix and his head coach Bryan Harsin.
“Bo had a great night,” Harsin said in his post-game interview with ESPN. “I’m very happy for him to be able to come back, have a great week of prep and then go play like he did tonight – and then get this win for his team and Auburn. He loves Auburn, and so I know this is important to him and everybody in that locker room.”
Just seven days earlier, following the Georgia State victory, Nix wasn’t sure if he would even play at LSU. For the first time since he was a true freshman in 2019 and was named the starter prior to the season, Nix was battling for the starting quarterback job.
Was he upset he got pulled? Yes. Was there frustration? Of course. But he didn’t let it deter him. If anything, it was motivation – an opportunity to prove himself.
“I came in this week with a different mindset,” Nix said after the game. “I just wanted to be a competitor and went back to my foundation of what kind of got me here. It seemed to pay off throughout the week. Tonight, I didn’t really know how it was going to go, but I knew I wanted to come in here focused and compete like crazy and do whatever it took to win the game.”
“Compete like crazy” would be an understatement for Nix’s performance Saturday night. Auburn would not have been in position to march down the field and win the game if not for some of Nix’s heroics earlier, beginning with the first touchdown.
Down 13-0 late in the first half, Auburn faced a 4th-and-2 in LSU territory. Nix took the snap and rolled right but his target was covered. So he eluded an LSU defender and started back across the field. He juked another defender. As he approached the sideline, he somehow escaped a third defender, and then with three more closing in on him, he threw a heave and hit Tyler Fromm in stride for a touchdown.
PLAY OF THE NIGHT 🤯
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) October 3, 2021
“I knew obviously everybody was about to be there pretty much tackle me, and I saw Tyler Fromm running in the back,” Nix said. “I just saw that hair coming out of the back of his helmet, just flopping running wide open. I got lucky and threw it, got the ball out of my hands just fast enough, and he ran under it and caught it.”
“Golly, what an effort by him,” Fromm said. “He plays so hard. It means a lot to him. He cares about the team. I think that just drives him. Just about anybody can look at him, and you can see a winner and a fighter.”
Nix made a similar “Houdini-esque” play on Auburn’s next drive to convert a fourth down and help put the Tigers in position to kick a field goal at the end of the half.
At the end of the night, Nix led all but one drive for Auburn. He was 23 of 44 through the air for 255 yards and a touchdown and finished as the team’s leading rusher with 74 yards on 12 carries. However, those 74 yards don’t take into account all the scrambling he did in the backfield, keeping plays alive and giving his receivers a chance to make plays.
“I’m exhausted,” Nix admitted after the game. “But whatever I had to do for my team to win the game, whatever I had to do for my team to move the ball, I was willing to do it.”
“He competed,” Harsin said. “That’s what competitors do. When things don’t go their way at some point, they compete and come back.”