How’d y’all sleep last night, huh? Personally, scrolling through Twitter after a win like that turns the clock to 2 AM pretty quickly, but the bleary eyes on a Sunday morning are worth it when a game finishes like yesterday’s 27-21 victory over Oregon.
Man, Andy Burcham did a great job last night, and I know that early on I was thinking about Rod’s first game — the debacle against USC in 2003 — and how eerily similar this was shaping up. Thankfully, Gus made some changes and we settled in late. I think we’re going to enjoy having Andy on the mic this season, and last night couldn’t have been a better intro for him to start his tenure as Voice of the Tigers.
Alright, on to Snap Judgments:
Did the defense come out and set the tone early? No.
Did the offensive line show they had fixed the issues from last season? No.
Did only the good plays get called now that Gus is running the offense? Not really.
Did Bo Nix look like the next great Auburn quarterback? No. No he did not.
Did Auburn beat the #11 team in the country in a neutral site game with a true freshman quarterback? You bet your ass they did. As a Bama fan friend of mine likes to remind me... Good teams win, but great teams cover.
Bo’s just like his daddy. Late game heroics made Pat Nix a legend at Auburn. For Bo and the start of his young career to end Auburn’s last offensive possession with a touchdown pass in that corner of the end zone... it left me speechless. Now, what does this mean for the season as a whole? Not a whole lot. But in the moment, it’s a bit time win for a team led by a true freshman quarterback and a coach that has a lot of folks, who will never get on his side, to quiet.
I can’t get over how poised Nix was on the final drive. This team showed its character last night. They could have folded down 21-6, but they kept pushing through. I’m so proud of them. It wasn’t great, but it was a win over a P5 conference contender.
I had a good feeling the whole way through. Despite the rough start from the defense, Kevin Steele’s group kept the game within reach. Boobee Whitlow played his tail off and really got the offense going. Will Hastings and Eli Stove made good contributions in their return to the lineup. On defense, K.J. Britt and Jeremiah Dinson had outstanding games, especially Britt. He was all over the place! The last drive was quite legendary. Yes, Bo wasn’t perfect last night, but it was his first collegiate game and he’s going to make mistakes. But with the game on the line, he made some incredible plays with both his arm and his feet. And they finally got Seth Williams involved too! There was one game this weekend featuring two ranked teams. Auburn won it. War Eagle!
Eli Stove is my Moon Pie and RC Cola Contributor of the Game. He stepped up in the second half and is responsible for a ton of our second half yards. Bo Nix looked like a freshman at times, but also looked like the moment wasn’t too big for him after halftime. He threw some ducks and some balls that sailed on him, but he threw two huge completions late and is hopefully establishing a rapport with Seth Williams. I love him.
-Son of Crow
Auburn found a way to win with a true freshman quarterback. Mistakes were made, certainly, but Auburn did just enough to overcome them. Credit to the defense for stepping up after a very sluggish start. Also credit to Malzahn for trusting his young quarterback when it mattered most. Auburn can now spend the next several weeks preparing for their opponents normally, instead of dealing with “hot seat” distractions. Nix can earn some much needed game experience before the big trip to College Station.
Rightfully so, most of the talk this week is going to be about Bo Nix and his first game ending like that. Legend in the making for sure. The final drive was really similar in multiple ways to two of his dad’s most famous moments in orange and blue — obviously the touchdown pass looked a lot like Nix to Sanders against Bama in 1993, but the game-winning drive in the Swamp in 1994 had a fourth down conversion and a clutch sideline route that put Auburn in scoring range. I’m sure Bo’s seen that tape plenty of times, and the historical context of what he did can’t be overstated. Freshmen don’t just shrug off turnovers and missed throws and dial in at the most crucial moment. He did.
Other than him, Boobee Whitlow showed that his work with Cadillac has paid off. He looked like a mixture of Kerryon, Tre Mason, even Cadillac himself last night running the football. It’s clear that he’ll be the workhorse of the group, and he may have established himself quicker than Gus usually takes to decide on a feature back. You could tell some of the limited reps in camp for Seth Williams and others hurt a bit in the game, but when it mattered Bo was dialed in with his receivers. Oregon seemed like they wanted to take Williams out of the game, but forgot about him late and asserted himself.
On defense, I kept expecting Oregon to hit another big play, but after the first quarter their drive chart went punt, fumble, punt, punt, half, touchdown, punt, punt, punt, downs, punt, half. Fantastic adjustments from Kevin Steele allowed Auburn to stay within striking distance. Also, despite limited depth, the Auburn defense got stronger as the game went on, while the Oregon players clearly weren’t conditioned well enough to prevent cramping. Guess that mustachioed strength coach they’ve got needs to revamp his program a bit.
Now it’s time to refocus because Tulane isn’t going to be the easiest G5 game in the world. They can score points, but we should be able to get out with a solid win next weekend while growing the cohesion of the offense.