Postgame analysis of Auburn's 20-14 win over Ole Miss:
THREE THINGS WORTH TALKING ABOUT
Midway through the first quarter Bo Nix connected with wideout Anthony Schwartz on a post route. Schwartz was covered heavily but had a step on the Ole Miss defensive back, and Nix delivered a beautiful ball where Schwartz could catch it.
That 50-yard gain was Nix's longest throw of the year (before completing a 78-yard pass to Harold Joiner, the majority of which came on yards after the catch). The rest of the drive didn't result in a score, but it was good to see Nix complete a ball like that. A sign of growth and trust from the coaching staff.
That same drive, Nix threw two more shots down field: one that was dropped by Jay Jay Wilson and another into the end zone that landed just beyond the reach of wide receiver Seth Williams.
With the imposing, stingy nature of Auburn's defense already a given, week in and week out, one can only imagine how dangerous the Tigers would become if they had big-play ability on the offensive side of the ball.
Staying with Nix, Saturday's win over Ole Miss came with a career highs for the young quarterback — a highs that might be proof of the aforementioned maturity.
For the first time this season and in his career, Nix completed more than, wait for it, 16 passes in a game. In fact, he finished with 30 completions on 44 attempts (another season and career high). This was the most completions and Auburn quarterback has record against Ole Miss since, guess who, his father Patrick Nix.
And the third high, of course, 340 yards passing.
These numbers shows that Nix is beginning to hit his mark (to a certain extent).
Carlson's tough night
Entering the Saturday evening matchup with the Rebels, Auburn kicker Anders Carlson was 10-for-12 on field goal attempts in 2019.
Well, he was 0-2 in the first quarter alone Saturday night with misses of 42 and 49 yards. In the fourth quarter, he missed from 49 again.
Rushing offense — B: Wasn't super impressive, but wasn't bad at all. A classic rushing night for Auburn, though it finished a little below its average of 225.9 per game.
Rushing defense — B: Facing the slippery John Rhys Plumlee of Ole Miss has provided some challenges for opposing teams. Ask Alabama which gave up 109 yards to the freshman quarterback, the first of a string of three straight 100-yard games for Plumlee against SEC teams. He is the first quarterback to accomplish that feat since Tim Tebow.
Passing offense — A: The majority of this grade comes off the strength of Nix's longs during the contest: 78 and 50 yards. Nix looked more comfortable throwing down field Saturday night and had his best game of the year arguably completing more than 16 passes for the fist time this season.
Passing defense — A++: Ole Miss quarterbacks were uncomfortable the majority of the night because of the disruption the Auburn front seven was able to produce. Thus, coverage was easy for the Auburn defensive backs. Ole Miss didn't have time to look down field.
Special teams — F: OK, we understated that the entirety of special teams play doesn't fall completely on the shoulders of the kickers. There are still other components that go into a successful night on special teams. Unfortunately, Anders Carlson's two missed field goals in the first quarter and three overall overshadow that.
Coaching — B: Per usual play calling on the offensive side of the ball was a bore. However, this may be completely results-based as the Auburn staff did get Nix some attempts vertically that were missed. These were shots that would have taken the top off the Ole Miss defense. So, they are trying.
Overall — B+: The defense did its job, a norm, and deceptively, the offense did as well. They had 315 yards at the half, just had a tough time putting it in the end zone. So, maybe the idea of Auburn's offense becoming more than it has been is not a dream. (Failed to cover the spread.)