Back Nix Ready for Next Progression

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Nix Ready for Next Progression

By BJ Bennett
SouthernPigskin.com
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Season one, for Bo Nix, was both a success and a starting point.

Bo Nix's true freshman season was one to remember. Stepping in as Auburn's starting quarterback right away, he promptly responded with a game-winning touchdown pass to Seth Williams with nine seconds remaining to help lead the Tigers past 5th-ranked Oregon in his high-profile debut. Nix's introduction to the Iron Bowl came with a touchdown passing, a touchdown rushing, a late two-point conversion toss to Shedrick Jackson and 48 points against 5th-ranked Alabama in an Auburn victory.

For good measure, Nix, in his first year in college football, very nearly took the Tigers to a win at top-ranked LSU and almost beat 4th-ranked Georgia as well.

It was quite the start for Nix, the son of a former star signal caller on the Plains. He was comfortable and clutch on the big stage and has the memories made to prove it. Nix finished with 23 total touchdowns, a pair of 335-yard passing performances, three multi-score passing efforts, ran for a touchdown in seven of Auburn's ten final regular season contests and didn't throw an interception over the Tigers' last five outings.

Just three SEC quarterbacks the past 20 years have thrown for at least 2,500 yards and rushed for seven touchdowns as freshmen: Texas A&M's Johnny Manziel, Alabama's Jalen Hurts and Nix.

Season one, for Nix, was both a success and a starting point. As one of not many returning starting quarterbacks in the SEC, Nix is now in even more of a spotlight. The bright lights have often been where he has been at his best.

The finish to last season points to more proficiency for Nix. He completed 62% of his passes in each of Auburn's last five games and, as mentioned, did not throw a single interception in that stretch, a span of 173 attempts. Though the Tigers lost in Tampa, Nix completed over 65% of his passes against a top ten Minnesota pass defense in the Outback Bowl.

Saturday will be another major challenge. Kentucky, Auburn's season-opening opponent in 2020's SEC-only schedule, raked number two nationally in pass defense a year ago, trailing only Ohio State. The Wildcats gave up merely 167.8 passing yards per game and tied the Buckeyes with an FBS-low nine passing touchdowns allowed. Once more, Kentucky's secondary is poised to be talented and experienced. Nix, now with some considerable experience of his own, will be tested yet again.

Going back to this past year, Nix has a lot of momentum leading him into this season. Opportunities await. As the Tigers continue to face one of the toughest schedules in all of college football, Nix appears poised to continue his progression into one of the game's top quarterbacks.

Nix and Auburn are ready for more.

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