Bo Nix seeking 'perfect game' as Auburn rolls into SEC play
Statistically, Bo Nix had his most efficient game in an Auburn uniform on Saturday, completing 12 of 16 passes for 161 yards and a score, good for an overall quarterback rating of 180 in the Tigers' 55-16 victory over Kent State.
But that was Kent State, a defense that matched up poorly with Auburn across the board from a talent perspective.
Nix is now slated to enter conference play for the first time in his career as the true freshman gunslinger for No. 8 Auburn, but his mentality hasn't changed from his first snap with the team: be perfect with every throw.
"It’s real beneficial because against a team like [Kent State], you have to really make sure you’re on your game," Nix said. "You can’t necessarily slack off because it’s not a SEC opponent or something like that. So I was just trying to go out there and be as sharp as I could. And my mentality going into every game is to try to be perfect and to try to hit every pass."
Had it not been for two drops — a would-be touchdown that JaTarvious Whitlow couldn't corral, and a drop on a low ball to Will Hastings — Nix's evening would have been even better. However, Nix is even taking the blame for those miscues.
"You can call them two drops, but I feel like those were on me," Nix said. "I could have located the ball a little bit better. I can really help out the receivers, and, hopefully, down the road, we can have a perfect game."
Nix's other misfires, he said, were a result of a poor stance when releasing the ball.
"It all goes back to footwork," Nix said. "In a throw like that, your feet and your pocket presence and all that stuff — just movement — it can tie into a throw. So on one, I was a little bit fast stepping up into the pocket. And then on the other I just didn’t take the proper drop, and so I was out of rhythm."
He adjusted midgame and improved in that area later in the contest with a perfect third quarter (4-for-4 for 89 yards and a flea-flicker touchdown to Eli Stove).
"I knew where to go with the ball," Nix said of looking more comfortable as the game went on. "And a lot of times, that’s the most important part. If you know where to go with the ball and locate it, then you can complete a lot of passes."
While Nix's primary focus is on the efficiency and accuracy of his right arm heading into a hostile environment at No. 17 Texas A&M (2:30 p.m. CST, CBS), he also flashed elusiveness in the open field, pulling on a number of read options, racking up 21 yards and a touchdown on the ground.
Nix admitted Kent State's formations occasionally allowed him to take off, which won't always be the case, especially against conference foes. But like most aspects of Auburn's offense with the freshman QB, it's improving week to week.
"The more I play and the more I get comfortable, I think I'll be more efficient of a runner," Nix said.