Malzahn: ‘The crowd did get to us’
GAINESVILLE | Bo Nix threw three interceptions. Auburn had nine penalties including three false starts. The offense looked out of sync from start to finish.
Yes, Florida defense played very well but the crowd noise at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium definitely played a factor in the 7th-ranked Tigers 24-13 loss to the 10th-ranked Gators.
“The environment. The crowd did get to us,” Auburn coach Gus Malzahn said. “It really kinda surprised me. I don’t know how many false starts we had, but we had a couple of short-yardage deals and got backed up.”
Nix hadn’t thrown an interception since the first half of AU’s opener against Oregon. The true freshman had completed 70.2 percent of his passes in his last three games for 596 yards with four touchdowns and no turnovers.
He was 11 of 27 (40.7 percent) for 145 yards with one touchdown and three interceptions at Florida Field.
“It was really loud and we had trouble hearing the clap for the cadence and sometimes had slow communication,” Nix said. “Stuff like that happens. Every team that walks into the Swamp has communication issues, but we just didn’t do anything for those, to make up for it.”
Malzahn and AU’s players insisted afterward they’ve prepared for noisy atmosphere going back to preseason practice. But that preparation wasn’t enough to prepare the Tigers for the 90,584 fans that packed out the stadium, a group energized by the top 10 matchup and having ESPN’s GameDay in town for the first time in seven years.
“It's a loud stadium, but we practice with noise and stuff like that, so it's nothing like we haven't seen before,” offensive guard Marquel Harrell said. “We've just got to do a better job of communicating across the board.”
Auburn will be off next week before playing at Arkansas Oct. 19.