ARLINGTON, Texas — In the first season-opening start for an Auburn true freshman since 1946, Bo Nix looked like a first-year player.
He had his ups and downs, but in the end, the former 5-star prospect shined brightest when it mattered, completing a 26-yard, go-ahead touchdown to Seth Williams with nine seconds left in the game to lift No. 16 Auburn over No. 11 Oregon, 27-21, in AT&T Stadium.
Here's everything the young gunslinger had to say after the win.
Q. Bo, I hate to bring up the past, was that your first Frank Sanders moment?
QB BO NIX: Well, everybody keeps comparing different passes to it. But I think that was my first Bo-to-Seth moment, and that was just the first moment that we were able to come through. And we were able to do something for our team that we had struggled to do all day. Me and Seth [Williams] hadn't completed many passes. That might have been the second on that drive. But like I said, it was just a huge moment for Auburn, and I was grateful and glad to be a part of it. It was a huge win.
Q. Talk about your mind-set. You've got 60 yards to go and two minutes plus. How were you feeling out there? Was it like high school again?
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QB BO NIX: I knew that we had to get in field goal range. I knew we had to get to the 35-yard line. But, like I said, the offense, we were moving at that point. We struggled in the first half. The second half we started to run the ball really well. Finally, it came down to a two-minute drill. And we had to throw the ball just a little bit. There for a second it looked like we were running out of time. We just stayed calm and we protected well, and we made a huge fourth-down conversion there at the point, and completed that out route to Seth. Like I said, we just finished it off.
Q. I know in the backyard with your brother, your buddies, you have dreamt of throwing the game-winning score for the Auburn Tigers in a game. Did reality meet the dreams that you have been thinking about your whole life?
QB BO NIX: Absolutely. I would have never thought the game would have ended like that, to be honest, especially the first one. We would not have been in the situation had the defense not played out of their minds in the second half. After the first quarter, they gave up seven points and that's a huge defensive stand for any team. So we just really had all the momentum in the second half. They had a huge fourth-down stop and we started moving the ball. We got the ball back with two minutes. Finally, it was our turn to make a play and thankfully we did it.
Q. Just describe the nerves before the game.
QB BO NIX: Like any guy, I guess, any competitive guy, you would -- it's a tough situation. It's a tough environment. That stadium is huge. Obviously, it's the biggest I have ever played in. And your first game with a new team. You are playing against a great team. You are playing against a great quarterback. So, I was just excited. I was excited to play. I was ready to play. I started off a little slow. But my teammates had my back like they told me they would. And sure enough, we finished it out.
Q. The fourth and 3 play, what did you see?
QB BO NIX: I saw a whole bunch of white jerseys. (laughter). And everybody I felt like was covered. And it just hit me that I guess I better run for it. I don't know, I just -- I got it. So, I was thankful. And everything passed off and I just -- I ran and got it.
Q. Bo, that final play to Seth [Williams ], when did you sort of know you were going to him? And what did you see on that play?
QB BO NIX: Well, it was the specific play. I had him and Eli out there. So I chose to go to the field. And they spun the coverage, and they left Seth kind of open. The safety had his back to me, so I gave him a chance. And I knew he was going to catch the ball.
Q. In that first half, the offense struggled to move the ball a little bit. I know you threw one pick. What was going through your mind? And what was Oregon's defense doing that made it so difficult?
QB BO NIX: I think it was a combination of things. We were moving the ball successfully. We just kept getting in our own way. We had some penalties. I turned the ball over. Certain plays weren't working like we had hoped. We just kept the pedal to the metal, and we just kept doing on what we do. At the end of the day we ran the ball and we ran the ball pretty successfully. Once we found out, Coach Malzahn just decided we're going to run the ball. And we did that in the second half. We went down the field and scored. And then we kind of got our mojo back, and we started competing. We started playing. We got excited on the sideline and the momentum started going towards us. And I think that helped the defense a lot. And, like I said previously, they really took a stand.
Q. When you started that drive, that last drive, you're talking to the offense before you go out there, what do you say to them? And what do you see in their eyes that they believed in you at that moment, if you saw them?
QB BO NIX: Right. So the second half, we came in here, we knew we had to make some adjustments. And never did we doubt each other. Never did we start pointing fingers. That's when it kind of hit me that we have a really good chance of coming back because it's not anybody's fault. We have a great mind-set. We were down. We knew what we had to do. We had to go out there and do it. We had a great leadership up front. Five seniors and they really put it together, and they just started blocking people and really getting after it. And so we just started running the ball. And everything worked in our favor there in the second half. But when they looked at me and they knew they needed a spark, I looked at them and knew I needed a spark. So we each -- we went together and we moved the ball down the field and we scored a touchdown.
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