With starting quarterback Bo Nix suffering an ankle injury in Saturday’s loss to Mississippi State, the Auburn offense will prepare to move on in its remaining three games of the season.
Head coach Bryan Harsin confirmed on Monday that Nix would be out for the remainder of the regular season along with the Tigers’ bowl game. Kicker Anders Carlson also is out with an ACL injury.
“It’s unfortunate what happened to them,” Harsin said. “Those guys have handled it well. The guys on the team know what we need to do to help guys step up and be able to fill those roles and get ourselves ready to play.”
Nix was injured in the third quarter against Mississippi State on a 44-yard pass play to receiver Ja’Varrius Johnson. The junior quarterback sat in the pocket waiting for the play to develop and hit Johnson down the field, but was rolled up on by a Bulldog defensive lineman.
Nix played for three more drives, including a 90-yard touchdown drive, before exiting the game on the final offensive drive of the game.
The three-year starter had season-ending ankle surgery on Monday.
“The first thing we talk about the quarterback position is toughness, and there's no question with that with Bo, and I’ve said that before,” Harsin said. “Bo’s a tough individual number one. He wants to win, he wants to succeed; he wants to be a part of that. It says a lot about just his desire to be out there with his teammates and to provide whatever he can from that position to try and help us win.”
LSU transfer T.J. Finley will step into the starting quarterback role in lieu of Nix. Finley started five games as a freshman last year in Baton Rouge and has played for Auburn at times this season. The sophomore from Ponchatoula, Louisiana has completed 17-of-33 passes for 275 yards and two touchdowns in six game appearances. He has also added five carries for six yards with a long of 15.
“He’s like every other backup quarterback that I’ve been around,” said Harsin of Finley. “He prepares like a starter; he goes out there and practices like a starter. And then, you never know when your opportunity is going to happen.”
Finley has already made headlines this season as Auburn’s quarterback, filling in for Nix in a comeback-win over Georgia State. After a poor offensive showing for the first 56 minutes of gametime, Finley stepped onto the field and led a 13-play, 98-yard touchdown scoring drive to propel the Tigers to victory.
Now starting in a full game, the LSU transfer will have an opportunity to avenge a loss from last season. The Tigers will travel to South Carolina to face the Gamecocks, where Auburn lost last year 30-22.
“We’ll move forward with T.J.,” Harsin said. “He’ll be ready to play and we’ll get a gameplan put together for him, and we’ll move forward with that.”