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Bo Nix Making Plays, Impact at Auburn

By BJ Bennett
SouthernPigskin.com
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One way or another, the Tigers will help shape the race to the College Football Playoff. Bo Nix could prove to be one of this season's central figures.

Auburn starting quarterback Bo Nix is 13th in the SEC in passing and fourth on his own team in rushing. In an era of video game highlights and fantasy football scoring, such statistics may be viewed as modest. Nix, however, is a real quarterback, making a real difference for a really good team. The Tigers' true freshman has led his side to a 4-0 start and, most notably, perhaps the best resume in the game today. Though without grand macro production, Nix has been magical in the big moments. That moxie is pacing Auburn's march.

Earning the Tigers' starting job mere months after finishing his high school career, Nix, the son of former Auburn signal caller Patrick Nix, introduced himself to the nation with a spotlight debut: playing star quarterback Justin Herbert and nationally-ranked Oregon in the home of the Dallas Cowboys in Arlington. Nix finished with 177 passing yards, 42 rushing yards and, more importantly, a handful of now-memorable plays.

Staying calm and composed, NIx rallied the Tigers back from a 21-6 deficit. He, on Auburn's final drive, came through with an ending for the ages. After converting a 4th-and-3 near midfield with a short run, Nix drove the Tigers down to just outside the Oregon redzone. With nine seconds remaining, and the outcome directly on the line, he threw a perfect endzone jump ball to Seth Williams for an impressive and improbable game-winning touchdown. The scene, featuring the true freshman, was surreal. In some ways, step one was a movie script. 

For both Nix and his team, that finish has been the start of something special.

Auburn's most recent performance came with even more national validation. The Tigers won convincingly at Texas A&M in their SEC opener, with another Nix-to-Williams touchdown pass giving Auburn a 21-3 early third quarter lead. It was a confident performance from the Tigers, with Auburn taking control of the high-profile pairing right away. The end result, with a true freshman signal caller, was the Tigers' first-ever win at vaunted Kyle Field. 

As was the case late in the game against Oregon, Auburn, in College Station, looked the part of a national contender. Correspondingly, the Tigers are standing seventh in the national polls, already up from 16th in the preseason. With a schedule featuring four opponents currently ranked in the top ten, Florida and LSU on the road and Georgia and Alabama coming to the Plains, Auburn will have the chance to move up even more. 

One way or another, the Tigers will help shape the race to the College Football Playoff. Nix could prove to be one of this season's central figures.

At 6'2'' with a dynamic skill set, Nix came to Auburn as an iconic five-star prospect, a talent who set Alabama state records with more than 12,000 career total yards and 161 total touchdowns. Playing for his father Patrick, Bo won back-to-back state championships at power Pinson Valley. The elder NIx, an aforementioned standout quarterback at Auburn, helped the Tigers go undefeated as a sophomore a generation ago and finished his college tenure as the program's all-time leader in pass efficiency.

The younger Nix, creating his own legacy, is off to a serendipitous start.

For all of the stats, Nix, above all else, is a winner. Including his upperclassman seasons in high school, Nix has now won 32-of-his-last-33 games. More than just his production, Nix is helping pace Auburn with his perspective. The first few weeks of the season have been a notable statement. For whatever it's worth, the last time the Tigers started 4-0 with two wins over nationally-ranked teams, Auburn went on to win the BCS National Championship behind the legendary Cam Newton.   

These Tigers are talented and hungry. Boasting an experienced head coach in Gus Malzahn, arguably the nation's best defensive line and a deep array of playmakers, including multiple capable quarterbacks, Auburn has emerged as one of the most interesting contenders in the country. Nix, tough and timely, is a big reason why. Quite quickly, his reputation is growing just like his team's.    

Nix is a remarkable young talent with wide-ranging abilities. His impact goes well beyond the box score.

BJ Bennett - B.J. Bennett is SouthernPigskin.com's founder and publisher. He is the co-host of "Three & Out" with Kevin Thomas and Ben Troupe on the "Southern Pigskin Radio Network". Email: bj@espncoastal.com / Twitter: @BJBennettSports