Bo Nix just did what Auburn quarterbacks haven’t been able to do for 22 years: get a win in Death Valley.
Nix led the team on an 11-play, 92-yard touchdown drive to take the lead with under four minutes remaining. The defense held, and No. 22 Auburn won its first game in Baton Rouge since 1999.
“Tonight was a blast,” Nix said. “I came in this week with a different mindset, I just wanted to be a competitor and just went back to my foundation on what kind of got me here.”
Early in the game Nix and the offense had some success moving the ball in the first half before drives fizzled out in LSU territory. Fellow quarterback T.J. Finley also led a drive in the second quarter, his first pass being a 35-yard completion to tight end John Samuel Shenker, and missing on his next three and turning the ball over on downs.
“That was pre-planned to have T.J. come in there on that third drive,” head coach Bryan Harsin said. “He had earned that opportunity through the week of practice.”
On its first three drives Auburn punted, turned the ball over on downs and missed a 51-yard field goal.
Down 13–0 in the second quarter, on the final two drives of the first half Nix was faced with two fourth-and-two plays on back-to-back drives. On both of those plays Nix had Houdini-esque plays, escaping pressure in the pocket and converting.
“Fourth down, you know, anything can happen,” Nix said.
On the first fourth down play Nix threw a 24-yard touchdown pass to tight end Tyler Fromm, and the second conversion set up a 49-yard field goal by Anders Carlson to cut the deficit to three at the half.
“I'll never forget the vision I had,” Nix said about his touchdown to Fromm. “I just saw that hair coming out of the back of his helmet just flopping, running wide open.”
After a failed surprise onside kick to start the second half led to another LSU field goal, Nix had yet another Johnny Manziel-type of play; scrambling in the pocket before tossing a 33-yard completion to Shenker.
“Well, I'm exhausted,” Nix said. “You know, I haven't run around quite like this in a while.”
The offense was unable to move the ball the rest of the drive leading to Carlson trotting out for another attempt, and this time it was blocked by LSU. The blocked kick led to another red zone stop by the Auburn defense and yet another field goal by Cade York to give LSU a 19–10 lead with under four minutes remaining in the third quarter.
Nix bounced back, leading a nine-play, 75-yard drive for a touchdown to cut the LSU lead down to two. Nix ran it in from five yards out on a read-option play.
“We came in with the plan that I had had a few more zone reads and a few more, not necessarily designed quarterback runs, but running in the option of the play,” Nix said.
Both teams traded punts five times, and Auburn was given the ball midway through the fourth quarter. At its own 34 yard line, Auburn running back Jarquez Hunter carried the ball 44 yards to set up the Tigers in LSU territory. Five plays later, Hunter ran into the end zone to take the lead with under four minutes remaining.
“I just saw a linebacker and said ‘I gotta run through this guy and make this touchdown,’” Hunter said.
On the final drive of the game Auburn defensive back Bydarrius Knighten intercepted Max Johnson’s pass to secure the comeback victory.
Nix finished the game completing 23–44 passes for 255 yards and a touchdown. He added 74 yards and a score on 12 rush attempts.