Bo Nix entered Auburn with huge expectations placed upon him as the No. 29 recruit in the country. Coaches saw Nix as a prototypical quarterback who could make things happen through the air and on the ground. Media members and fans alike easily imagined what Gus Malzahn’s offense could do with a player like that.
And then it didn’t really work.
In his first season at Auburn, Nix passed for just 2300 yards with a QBR of 63. The ground game was worse, as the freshman averaged just 3.3 yards per carry. Fans could easily look past that though, as a true freshman starting in the SEC west is typically a problem. The 2020 season wasn’t much better though, as Nix threw seven interceptions to just 12 touchdowns, finishing with a QBR of 73. And so fans wrote Bo Nix off as an average quarterback who wasn’t special.
And 2021 has sort of proven that to be the case even more! See how I set you up? You see? You thought it was going to be a little switcheroo, but in fact it wasn’t. I got you so good.
Sure, Nix has had a couple of good games against LSU and Arkansas, primarily based on suddenly putting up strong rushing numbers, but his overall performance this season has been quite average for a junior with so many starts under his belt. Nix is certainly playing better football over his past three games (culminating with a 97.7 QBR outing against Arkansas), but he’s still making some of the same mistakes. This is still the same quarterback who, earlier this season, completed 13 of 27 attempts against Georgia State.
Don’t get me wrong. I think Bo Nix is a formidable opponent. If Ole Miss messes around and leaves receivers open, he can make the Rebels pay. I just don’t buy the idea that one great game against Arkansas means he’s a major threat. Auburn’s gameplan over the past few weeks has been to roll Nix out more, let him scramble and be mobile, and see what he can make happen.
If I were DJ Durkin, I’d work hard to take away the Auburn running game and make Bo Nix beat me through the air. That’s a thing he could possibly do, but I’d rather see Nix have to make things happen than watch Tank Bigsby or Jarquez Hunter reliably carve up the defense on the ground. Let Chance Campbell, possibly the best defender on the team, contain Bo Nix. Keep him in the pocket on passing downs. Spy him. Don’t let him wiggle out.
Because if you don’t, something like this could happen.
That would be pretty bad. Pretty bad.
Oh god, I’ve willed it to happen now, haven’t I? Do I even…. do I even post this article? Have the sports gods already read it as I’ve been typing? I’ll just hit the cancel button right here next to----- OH GOD NO