FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Bo Nix is the perfect symbol for Auburn’s football roller coaster season. Auburn’s gloomy and ever-changing public perception follows him.
When the quarterback was benched, when the Jordan-Hare Stadium crowd chanted “We want Finley”, it was a reflection of the times. When Nix made the Game of the Year and Auburn fans celebrated him for achieving a long-sought victory at LSU, it was a reflection of the times.
With Nix, Auburn goes up and down.
He may have played his best game of the season at Arkansas on Saturday, finishing 21-for-26 for 292 yards and three total touchdowns as Auburn (5-2, 2-1 SEC) knocked out the Razorbacks. n ° 19 (4 -3, 1-3). His consistency and explosiveness are a constant in this week’s superlatives.
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Player and game of the game
In the loss to Penn State earlier this season, Nix attempted a few deep balls that seemed… out of place. He was throwing lollipops with hang times worthy of a bettor. He missed a few open receivers downstream. The following week, he was benched at the end of the third quarter against Georgia State. Even since returning to the starter role, he hasn’t attempted so many deep balls.
He shot in Auburn’s first set against Arkansas, and it was a passing game that bolstered Ja’Varrius Johnson’s confidence. The 39-yard touchdown gave Auburn an early lead.
“As you come up with a plan, you feel like anything you implement will have some success,” said coach Bryan Harsin. “That’s why you put it in. So when you hit it and you got it early on, it just tells you, ‘Hey, all that work we did, all that we focused on. , all the stuff we spent more time working on – it’s gonna pay off. And I think that’s human nature, right? “
This helped Nix earn the title of player of the game, and it was a precursor to the game of the game. Nix’s deep ball was clean enough to keep trying it.
Demetris Robertson’s 71-yard score in the third quarter went off beautifully. Nix stared at an unblocked blitzer. He was pierced after his release. And Robertson wasn’t wide open. Hudson Clark of Arkansas reached out to try to disrupt Robertson or break the pass, but it still landed just out of reach and in Robertson’s hands. It was a great run, a great shot and a great catch for a 28-17 lead.
“We had been practicing this; we wanted to make sure we looked good,” Nix said. “Coming into the game they played us the way we wanted, so we had the perfect opportunity – first down, and obviously we took a hit there. ‘D-Rob’ did. a great job stemming the corner; they were in quarterback coverage so we got behind the defense. He made a great adjustment on the ball and then he finished the game. A lot of the guys are just OK with the catch, but he wanted to go score, which is important. “
Nix completed assists to 10 different receivers, which limited their falls after a lousy game against Georgia. The variety was impressive. Nix then calmly orchestrated the game’s sealing run in the fourth with two conversions in the third – one with his arm, one with his legs – and his rushed touchdown was the icing on the cake.
“Is there anything more endemic to being a Hawgs fan than having a fairly legitimate gripe to umpire, but then watch Tennessee decide to change the whole discussion from umpiring to behavior? fans?” -AU Nashvegas (@AUNashvegas)
Ah, the Arkansas Obsolescence Theory. Just when the Hogs have some big wins, just when they become relevant enough that controversial calls against them are a major SEC scenario, someone is standing up to knock them down again.
If you’re a fan of that theory, then of course the golf ball and mustard monsoon in Tennessee could just as easily be a divine intervention designed as a subtle laughter at the expense of Arkansas. Bottom line, though: yes, Arkansas had a legitimate gripe against some of Saturday’s calls, particularly the no-escape call in the first half and the pass interference flag in the second. This stadium was louder when filled with happy boos than when fans cheered. Harsin called it a “fun game”. Auburn relished the taunts.
The biggest question for the future
After the game, Auburn rusher Derick Hall reiterated a point he made earlier in the week: At its best, Auburn’s defense is strong, but playing your best for a full 60 minutes has been a struggle. There was a streak late in the first half and most of the third quarter in which the defense was on the pitch for excessive time and allowed three touchdowns. Fatigue took over. Part of it is just bad luck, but playing a full game in defense will remain vital after the week off.