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Was Auburn Victory a Miracle Win for Tigers?

By on September 3rd, 2019 in Football, News 21 Comments »

Auburn's Seth Williams makes clutch touchdown reception to defeat No.11 Oregon in AdvoCare Kickoff Classic Aug.31, 2019 in Arlington, Texas. (photo: USA TODAY Sports)

Has there ever been a more anticipated debut for an Auburn player than that of freshman Bo Nix? The hype surrounding the freshman has grown exponentially since the five star signed with the Tigers back in February.

Mr. Alabama Football led his high school team to back-to-back state titles, but even that paled in comparison to the pressure of being the Tigers’ signal caller against Pac-12 power Oregon on national TV in the same place the Dallas Cowboys play on Sundays.

 No one could deny he had the tools to be an outstanding collegiate player. However, one question awaited: was he ready to handle the pressure of leading a top Power-5 team on the big stage? We all know he passed the test, completing a touchdown  pass with less than 10 seconds to go, to give what some in the media have labeled a “miracle win.”

Yet in the days since the Tigers’ victory, some have questioned Nix’s performance. They point to his less than auspicious first half when he completed only 6 of 20 passes with two interceptions. True, he made some freshman mistakes; more importantly, he did not have the help of a consistent running game.

But when the O-line got it together and started opening holes for the backs, Bo showed what he could do. He finished the game 13 of 31 for 177 yards and two touchdowns. And in the fourth quarter it was Nix who was the best quarterback in the game, not the senior Heisman prospect Justin Herbert.

He more than answered the question of whether he could handle the pressure. In the final drive he showed the poise of a veteran with ice water in his veins, throwing the game-winning touchdown with nine clicks left on the clock.

He improved as the game progressed. And we saw a freshman grow up before our eyes. If he can continue to get help from his running game, there’s no telling how far he can lead this team.

So did Bo deliver a miracle win for the Tigers? I don’t think so. When you’re down 21–6 at the beginning of the third quarter, and your defense effectively shuts down the projected No. 1 QB of the next NFL Draft, and your offense scores 21 unanswered points in the last half—you earned it.

War Eagle!


  1. Acid Reign Acid Reign says:

    ……Did Auburn benefit from Duck mistakes, that prevented Oregon from building a huge lead? Certainly! Did Oregon prevent Bo Nix and the Auburn Tigers from taking the game away late? No, they did not! That, my friends is football! It is why we watch.

  2. KungFuPanda9 KungFuPanda9 says:

    I don’t know who is criticizing Bo’s performance, but whoever they are “don’t know football.”

    You even stated, “But when the O-Line got it together and stared opening holes for the backs, Bo showed what he could do.” Therein lies the key to offensive production.

    It was an interesting game. Oregon is a good team. They are fast and well-coached. Their defense was getting penetration, which makes it difficult for the QB to take his time. So Bo did an excellent job of managing the ball, looking for receivers, or running when everything else broke down.

    I compare Bo’s debut with Marshall’s experience against LSU during that monsoon-like rainstorm. Both quarterbacks were seemingly overwhelmed by circumstances. But eventually they both got their wits gathered and adapted to conditions. It was interesting to watch Nix grow into the role during the course of one game. He will be fine going forward. It is now up to the rest of the team to equal his potential. That includes the coaches as well.

    • neonbets says:

      And yet, keep every single thing the same except that Williams doesn’t make the last catch—there would be plenty to criticize about Nix’s performance. [Hopefully, Bo would be the first to agree.]

      Fact is, he was shaky for much of the game–except the last drive. Obviously, the last drive is ‘when it really counts’, and he was fantastic. But, prior to the last drive, he wasn’t very good.

      It’s way too early to draw conclusions about Nix on the basis of this performance, and one fourth quarter drive in particular.

  3. WarSamEagle WarSamEagle says:

    Agree ATM, the Tigers earned it! But even if it did have divine intervention, I’ll take it! And Miracle or not, Bo Nix was everything I expected him to be.

  4. dyingculture dyingculture says:

    There have been at least a half-dozen games just like this one over the past couple of years. The kind of game where Auburn plays poorly and gets beaten pretty badly, but hangs around and hangs around, never really in it but not completely out of it. Where the team does just enough to have a chance to win in the end. The Clemson games come to mind.

    In the past, Auburn has lost just about every single one of these kind of games. The only difference was this time, Auburn won. That, to me, is what makes this such an important game.

  5. Orangeblood says:

    They were the higher-ranked team! They had the quarterback with the Heisman hype.

    Was Auburn expected to win?

    Regarding Nix’s pass completion precentage. I really liked the ones he maturely threw away.

    • jbellison56 says:

      Nix’s pass percentage would have been higher if not for the way his receivers were often mugged (mostly with no flags). Hope Will Hastings was not seriously injured on his mugging that put him out of the game.

      • AubTigerman AubTigerman says:

        “Mugging” is the right word. And there should have been more flags thrown.

  6. wde1988 wde1988 says:

    Paul, let me start by saying great article!

    I have to chuckle at folks that would think it was a miracle. The catch at Jordan Hare with UGA in 2013 was a “sent from Heaven above” miracle. This was anything but and it comes down to hard work and coaching. Still, I am thankful for that too.

    I am still laughing at MEME I saw on face book this morning where a doctor is with his patient telling him he must give up meat, sugar, caffeine and Auburn Football. That’s pretty funny, I don’t care who you are… Auburn football is an acquired taste. It’s not for the faint of heart.

    I thought the straw that would break the tigers back came in the 1st Half when already up two touch downs the duck were pressing for a third and the receiver failed to catch the lightning bolt the Oregon QB launched while on the run. The next play Oregon’s field goal kicker missed the field goal. The Ducks did put another touchdown on the board but it could have possibly been catastrophic for the psyche of this team had they gone down 28-6.

    I need to give Coach Malzahn some props here. And I mean that sincerely. He and Kevin Steel both. And they are well deserved. I saw something Saturday night I haven’t seen in a while. A plan. A strategy. And it changed as Oregon changed. What’s better it actually worked!

    I have grown to hate advertising. Why?? Auburn’s defensive line coming in to the game was overhyped in my opinion. The first half or maybe a little less than that Oregon was able to move the ball anywhere they wanted. We couldn’t stop them. Oregon had AU on the ropes. Dinking and diving up and down the field. Kevin Steel slowly and methodically started taking things away. By the second half Oregon might be able to get a long completion of 8 yards and pick up a few first downs but their production fell to damn near zero. They certainly didn’t threaten to score again. That’s what a good defensive coordinator does. He earned his pay. And some kids grew up.

    On offense, AU was really, really green. That was my biggest concern. The first four possessions for me seemed to relive the Mississippi State game from last year. We got six points but we could not get in to the end zone. Again, it was Malzahn and the offensive staff pulling in the same direction that enabled AU to climb back in the game and eventually win.

    It was the same old story. No running game. No passing game. Until the second half. From what I can gather the offensive line told Malzahn at half… run the ball. And that’s what AU did. What a difference. Whitlow got over 100 yards. I will be the first one to raise their hand and say that I was not impressed with any of the receivers besides maybe Hastings and Stove. Williams play was so mediocre the first half I actually thought he caused at least one of the interceptions. That said… Williams had some redemption in the end. He is lucky too, because most QBs wouldn’t throw to someone acting like such a diva…. But Nix is an exceptional QB. He apparently is a pretty good judge of character too. Because Williams catch helped AU to pull ahead and win. Although, I thought his stupid penalty regardless of why was another sign that this young man can grow more in the next weeks. While he did ultimately help AU win, he almost helped AU to lose.

    Awesome game. Awesome venue. And I thought like Pearl, Malzahn seemed to be humble and make AU shine like a brand new penny. And it only cost us $49M. 

    It’s a long season and anything can happen. But I guess I am going against the doctor’s orders. I can’t wait to see the next game! I guess I am a…. Addict!!

    War Eagle!

    • AubTigerman AubTigerman says:

      Thanks WDE’88,

      No doubt the throw and catch produced the win. But I think the key came after AU fell behind 21-6, Auburn made adjustments, played good football, and physically wore them down. Lets hope the old axiom “A team improves the most between the first and second week” holds true. – War Eagle!

  7. friedca friedca says:

    Not sure how folks can say it was a miracle when we clearly adapted in the second half and capitalized on one of their biggest shortfalls, conditioning. The game was intense and even in the indoor setting you could tell that halfway through the 3rd Oregon was getting tired.

    Guys were sucking down air on the sidelines and the commentators commented on how tired they looked. That is when the offense was able to open up holes and get the run game going. Once that got going it opened up the pass game as we saw down the stretch.

    • AubTigerman AubTigerman says:

      You make a good point. It did appear that Auburn was the better conditioned team.

  8. easyedwin easyedwin says:

    Bo finally adjusted to the speed of the game. He took off running too soon in the first half, never letting the play run as planned.

    Hey, we are number 10 now!!!!

    war dam, errybody.

  9. There was no miracle, just hard work in the preseason, grit and determination in the game.

  10. ATL_AU_FAN ATL_AU_FAN says:

    It almost created a heart attack but, no, not a miracle.
    It was a team coming together when it mattered most. That’s the start of a “good” team.
    The Ducks, and nothing at all against them, thought they had it as did the fans.
    But, the fans generally were gracious losers and seemed, for whatever reason, expected it.
    Auburn now has some breathing room to work out some wrinkles.
    Let’s hope neither of the next two are trap games.
    Then the next test begins.

    • AubTigerman AubTigerman says:

      I'm always concerned about opponents. Tulane is no cupcake and Woody Barrett will be highly motivated when he returns to Jordan-Hare. In his first year at Kent state he set KSU’s single-season completions record (229),

  11. SEC_Eric SEC_Eric says:

    Doesn’t matter what anyone calls it… it was still a win.

  12. No miracle here, the best team won. Overall, I thought Auburn was the team with the better athletes and Bo Nix got better as the game progressed. Biggest thing was, Auburn made adjustments that helped them win the game.

  13. Tiger4Life says:

    Why can’t we throw the ball every game like we did in the bowl game vs Purdue? I would install pass plays that ensure Nix ALWAYS has an OPEN safety valve to throw to (or easily able to throw it away)… Too often, it looked similar to Jarrett Stidham last year catching the snap and then almost immediately frantically running for his life while his receivers complete their long routes…
    Study the best passing attacks in the country and install short quick hitters that let our speedsters catch the ball in stride and RUN…

    • AubTigerman AubTigerman says:

      Good point Tiger4Life, Mixing downhill running with hitting speedy receivers “in stride” I believe is a proven formula for success.

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