Auburn Tigers quarterback Bo Nix (10) walks the field before taking on Mississippi State Bulldogs at Jordan-Hare Stadium in Auburn, Ala., on Saturday, Nov. 13, 2021.

Former Auburn QB Bo Nix announces transfer to Oregon

Former Auburn quarterback Bo Nix, one of the most sought-after passers in the transfer portal, announced Sunday on social media that he will enroll at Oregon.

Nix graduated Auburn early and will be a graduate transfer in 2022.

In 34 games for the Tigers, Nix threw for 7,251 yards, 39 touchdowns and 16 interceptions, adding 18 rushing scores.

In 2021, he completed a career-best 61 percent of his passes for 2,294 yards, 11 touchdowns and three picks with four rushing touchdowns as Auburn finished 6-6. He played in 10 of the team’s 12 games, with his season ending after he sustained an ankle injury Nov. 13 in a loss to Mississippi State.

“I have made so many decisions for Auburn, and now it’s time to do what’s best for me. It’s time that I move on to the next chapter in my life,” Nix said earlier this month in a video posted to Instagram. “To reach further goals, I’ve decided it’s best to be a grad transfer and find a new start somewhere else.”

Nix’s decision to attend Oregon came after he was rumored to be considering a transfer to Ole Miss. The Ducks are in the midst of a coaching change with Mario Cristobal leaving for Miami and the school hiring Georgia assistant Dan Lanning as his replacement. New Oregon offensive coordinator Kenny Dillingham was Nix’s offensive coordinator at Auburn in 2019.

The Ducks were 10-3 overall this season and 7-2 in the Pac-12 North, falling 38-10 to Utah in the conference title game. The 14th-ranked Ducks will meet 16th-ranked Oklahoma in the Dec. 29 Alamo Bowl at San Antonio, Texas.

Auburn is set to face No. 20 Houston in the Birmingham Bowl on Dec. 28.

–Field Level Media

Nov 13, 2021; Auburn, Alabama, USA;  Mississippi State Bulldogs quarterback Will Rogers (2) throws a pass during the first quarter against the Auburn Tigers at Jordan-Hare Stadium.  Mandatory Credit: John Reed-USA TODAY Sports

Mississippi State stuns No. 17 Auburn 43-34

Will Rogers fired six touchdown passes as Mississippi State scored 40 unanswered points to erase a 25-point first-half deficit, stunning No. 17 Auburn 43-34 on Saturday afternoon at Auburn, Ala.

With the Bulldogs (6-4, 4-3 SEC) trailing 28-3 late in the first half, Rogers led a school-record comeback, giving Mississippi State the lead for good with 13:28 remaining.

Mississippi State received two touchdown receptions from Makai Polk and Jamire Calvin, while Dillon Johnson and Malik Heath caught one TD each.

Rogers completed 17 straight passes at one point in the second half and finished 44 of 55 for 415 yards and no interceptions.

The outing was his eighth consecutive game with at least 300 yards and ninth this season. He had 294 yards in his only game where he didn’t reach at least 300 this season.

Tank Bigsby scored two rushing touchdowns for Auburn, while Ja’Varrarius Johnson had four catches, 102 yards for the Tigers, with a TD.

Luke Deal and Kobe Hudson notched TD receptions for Auburn (6-4, 3-3). Hudson had eight catches for 107 yards.

Bo Nix was 27 of 41 for 377 yards with two passing TDs but did not play on the final series.

Entering on a six-quarter stretch when the Tigers failed to reach paydirt, they found the end zone on their first four possessions in the game, with Bigsby scoring the first on a 5-yard run at 12:37 of the opening quarter.

After Nolan McCord’s 34-yard kick for the Bulldogs, Nix tossed a long lateral to Johnson, who cut inside and sprinted away on a 57-yard scoring jaunt at 4:26 for a 14-3 edge.

Auburn took a 21-3 lead in the second quarter when Nix found Deal cruising across the back of the end zone. Hudson made a spectacular one-handed catch in the corner with a defensive back draped on him for a 28-3 lead.

The Bulldogs halted the half’s onslaught with a 4-yard pass to Polk from Rogers, who completed 11 straight late in the half.

In the third, Rogers caught fire and tossed 3-yard scores to Calvin and Johnson – the latter capping a 98-yard drive – as the Bulldogs trailed 28-23.

After Cameron Young’s block of a 35-yard field, Rogers put the Bulldogs up 29-28 with his second TD to Polk, but they missed their second straight two-point conversion.

Rogers’ fifth score, a short pass to Calvin with 9:35 remaining, pushed the lead to 36-28.

The Bulldogs thwarted a fake punt with 8:30 left, and Malik Heath cught the final Rogers TD pass, a 6-yarder with 5:31 remaining.

Bigsby scored on a 1-yard run with 3:37 left, but Fred Peters intercepted Nix’s pass on the two-point conversion attempt.

–Field Level Media

Nov 6, 2021; College Station, Texas, USA;  Auburn Tigers tight end John Samuel Shenker (47) is tacked by Texas A&M Aggies defensive back Demani Richardson (26) in the second quarter at Kyle Field. Mandatory Credit: Thomas Shea-USA TODAY Sports

No. 14 Texas A&M stymies No. 13 Auburn, 20-3

Texas A&M’s defense scored the game’s only touchdown and Seth Small kicked four field goals as the No. 14 Aggies shut down No. 13 Auburn 20-3 on Saturday in SEC play at College Station, Texas.

The Aggies (7-2, 4-2 SEC) overwhelmed Auburn from the opening kickoff. The Tigers (6-3, 3-2) finished with just 226 yards and committed a turnover that enabled Texas A&M to take control of a close game early in the fourth quarter.

The Tigers were trailing 9-3 early in the fourth quarter when Auburn quarterback Bo Nix made a huge mistake. While rolling out for a bootleg, he dropped the ball without being touched. Defensive end Micheal Clemons scooped it up on Auburn’s 24-yard line and raced untouched into the end zone and Ainias Smith caught Zach Calzada’s two-point conversion pass to make it 17-3 with 13:04 remaining.

Small’s 37-yard field goal with 3:15 remaining capped the scoring.

Calzada went 15-for-29 passing for 192 yards and no interceptions, as the Aggies were much more successful moving the ball on the ground. Isaiah Spiller rushed for 112 yards on 21 carries and Devon
Achane added 98 yards on 10 carries to lead a rushing attack that amassed 217 yards.

Nix was 20-for-41 passing for 153 yards with an interception. Tank Bigsby rushed for 69 yards on 15 carries, as the Tigers were held to 73 yards on 29 attempts, an average of 2.5 yards per carry.

Texas A&M and Auburn exchanged field goals in the first quarter, with Small connecting from 21 yards before Anders Carlson capped Auburn’s ensuing possession by hitting from 32 yards.

The Aggies failed to regain the lead with 3:15 left in the first half when Small missed a 42-yard field goal.

Auburn had a golden opportunity to take a lead to open the third quarter, but Carlson pushed a 33-yard field wide left with 9:16 left in the quarter.

The Aggies took advantage of the mistake to drive down the field and take a 6-3 lead on Small’s 29-yard field goal with 3:39 left in the quarter.

Small extended the lead to 9-3 with a 47-yard field goal less than two minutes into the fourth quarter.

–Field Level Media

Oct 30, 2021; Auburn, Alabama, USA; Auburn Tigers wide receiver Kobe Hudson (5) is tackled by Mississippi Rebels defensive back Deane Leonard (24) during the first quarter at Jordan-Hare Stadium.  Mandatory Credit: John Reed-USA TODAY Sports

Bo Nix leads No. 18 Auburn past No. 10 Ole Miss

Bo Nix rushed for two touchdowns and passed for one as host No. 18 Auburn defeated No. 10 Ole Miss 31-20 in an SEC game Saturday night.

Nix completed 22-of-30 passes for 276 yards for the Tigers (6-2, 3-1 SEC), who remained tied in the loss column with idle No. 3 Alabama for the West division lead.

Tank Bigsby added 140 rushing yards and a touchdown on 23 carries.

Matt Corral ran for a touchdown and passed for 289 yards but did not have a touchdown pass for the Rebels (6-2, 3-2), who fell into a three-way tie for third place in the West. Corral completed 21 of 37 passes and threw one interception, just his second of the season.

Jahcour Pearson caught seven passes for 135 yards to lead an injury-depleted Rebels receiving corps.

Caden Costa’s 49-yard field goal produced the only points of the third quarter and got Ole Miss within 28-20. The Rebels turned the ball over on downs at the Tigers’ 20 and 13 in the period.

Anders Carlson, who missed a 43-yard field goal in the third quarter, made a 28-yarder to increase the lead to 31-20 with 10:52 remaining in the game.

Ole Miss reached a first down at the Auburn 14 early in the fourth quarter, but Jaylin Simpson intercepted Corral in the end zone.

The Rebels got the ball back on a fumble recovery, but Corral threw an interception on fourth-and-3 at the Tigers 18 with 4:42 left.

Nix concluded the first possession of the game with an 11-yard touchdown run.

Costa kicked a 29-yard field goal before Bigsby ran one yard for a touchdown that gave the Tigers a 14-3 lead at the end of the first quarter.

Snoop Conner’s 13-yard touchdown run pulled the Rebels within 14-10.

Nix ran seven yards for a touchdown and Corral answered with an 11-yard touchdown run.

A nine-yard touchdown pass from Nix to Jarquez Hunter gave Auburn a 28-17 halftime lead.

–Field Level Media

Oct 23, 2021; Oxford, Mississippi, USA; Mississippi Rebels quarterback Matt Corral (2) rushes for a touchdown during the first half against the LSU Tigers at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports

No. 10 Ole Miss hopes to continue success vs. No. 18 Auburn

After snapping a five-game losing streak to a rival Tigers team last Saturday at home, No. 10 Ole Miss will try to duplicate the feat on the road a week later against another Tigers squad.

The Rebels (6-1, 3-1) will stay in SEC West play by visiting No. 18 Auburn (5-2, 2-1) on Saturday night.

Ole Miss is second in the division and Auburn is third. Alabama (7-1, 4-1) is first.

Ole Miss’ Lane Kiffin made history this week when he became the third Rebels coach to enter the top 10 in his second season — joining Houston Nutt (2009) and Johnny Vaught (1948).

After Kiffin’s squad beat LSU 31-17 in Oxford to break the Tigers’ reign of five straight wins in the series, the Rebels will try to do the same against Auburn.

The Rebels’ most recent win against the school was in 2015 when former Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze and quarterback Chad Kelly led the team to victories over both powerhouse programs in Alabama.

In vying for another streak-breaking win, Kiffin’s defense will try to contain a version of its star quarterback, Matt Corral, in Auburn’s shifty Bo Nix.

In addition to being sharp passers, Corral and Nix possess elite running skills. The Ole Miss quarterback is gutsy and more north-south, while the Auburn signal-caller is a devil-may-care gunslinger who darts out of the pocket and often zig-zags across the gridiron.

A common adage regarding Nix is who will Auburn get on any given Saturday — Good Bo or Bad Bo?

But Nix, a junior from Pinson, Ala., is trending up after passing for a season-high 292 yards and two scores and rushing for 42 — including a 23-yard touchdown run that sealed the Tigers’ 38-23 road upset of Arkansas two weeks ago.

He got a boost from his much-maligned receiving corps in Fayetteville and has taken care of the ball, tossing just two interceptions in 211 attempts after throwing seven in 2020.

“Basically, we have people like that, have to stay in your lanes, you got to push the pocket, you have to keep your eyes on him and not try to speed rush,” said Kiffin of controlling the evasive Nix, who has passed for 1,488 yards and rushed for 159.

With last week’s bye giving his Tigers two weeks to prepare, Auburn coach Bryan Harsin has had his attention on the cunning Corral, who has become the dominant variable in the Heisman Trophy equation after improving his ball security in 2021.

The Ventura, Calif., junior had 29 TD passes but 14 interceptions in performing inconsistently last season. This year, though, he has 15 TD passes and a lone interception while passing for 1,913 yards.

Corral, who has 474 rushing yards, is tied with backfield mate Snoop Conner and Missouri’s Tyler Badie with nine scores on the ground, second in the conference to Alabama’s Brian Robinson (11).

“A big part of that is their style of offense and their quarterback and his play,” said Harsin, whose squad will face its fourth ranked opponent of the season. “Front-runner for the Heisman. Completing about 70 percent of his passes.

“He runs the ball hard, he’s a physical player at that position, and he’s shown that throughout the entire season.”

Auburn leads the all-time series 34-11.

–Field Level Media

Oct 16, 2021; Fayetteville, Arkansas, USA; Auburn Tigers running back Jarquez Hunter (27) rushes during the first quarter against the Arkansas Razorbacks at Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

Bo Nix fuels Auburn past No. 17 Arkansas

Bo Nix passed for two touchdowns and put the game away with a 23-yard scoring run to lift visiting Auburn to a 38-23 win over No. 17 Arkansas on Saturday in Fayetteville, Ark.

Nix, who completed 21 of 26 passes for 292 yards, went the distance on a draw to seal Auburn’s sixth straight win in the series.

It is the Tigers’ longest active streak against any Southeastern Conference foe and their first in seven tries against a ranked opponent.

Auburn (5-2, 2-1) received a game-best 68 rushing yards and a touchdown on 18 carries by Tank Bigsby. Ja’Varrius Johnson and Demetris Robertson caught touchdown passes.

KJ Jefferson completed 21 of 35 passes for 228 yards and two touchdowns to Treylon Burks, who had nine catches for a game-high 109 yards.

Jefferson added a team-best 66 yards on 18 carries for Arkansas (4-3, 1-3), which has dropped three in a row.

Nix hit all five passes for 72 yards on the first series before, finally finding Johnson, who slipped behind the secondary for a 39-yard touchdown.

Arkansas’ Cam Little nailed a 44-yard field goal to make it 7-3, but he failed wide right from 53 in the second quarter.

Nix led his squad 65 yards in nine plays after the miss. Bigsby finished off the drive with a short 1-yard touchdown run for a 14-3 advantage.

On fourth-and-1 from the Auburn 18, the Tigers’ bottled up Raheim Sanders for no gain and a turnover on downs at the 6:21 mark.

After an interception by Montaric Brown, Jefferson ended an 84-yard drive in 2:35 by faking a jump pass and tossing an 11-yard score to Burks for a 14-10 halftime deficit.

The home side grabbed its first lead, 17-14, on Burks’ second touchdown. He had a leaping snag of a 30-yard pass from Jefferson on the second half’s opening possession.

On the second of consecutive sacks of Jefferson, Derick Hall forced the ball out of the quarterback’s hands in the end zone. Fellow defensive lineman Marcus Harris recovered it as the Tigers regained a 21-17 advantage.

In a pivotal two-play sequence, Auburn stuffed Jefferson on a fourth-down try at the Tigers’ 29. Nix then went deep and found Robertson for a 71-yard score.

Dominique Johnson found the end zone from 10 yards, but Jefferson’s two-point pass fell incomplete to keep Auburn’s lead at 28-23.

Anders Carlson’s 29-yard field goal put Auburn up by eight with 10:35 remaining.

–Field Level Media

Oct 9, 2021; Auburn, Alabama, USA;  Auburn Tigers tight end Luke Deal (86) rolls over Georgia Bulldogs defensive back Christopher Smith (29) during the first quarter at Jordan-Hare Stadium. Mandatory Credit: John Reed-USA TODAY Sports

No. 2 Georgia cruises past No. 18 Auburn

Stetson Bennett went 14-for-21 passing for 231 yards and two touchdowns to lead No. 2 Georgia to a 34-10 victory over host No. 18 Auburn on Saturday.

Ladd McConkey had five catches for 135 yards and a score, with Zamir White adding 79 yards and two touchdowns on 18 carries for the Bulldogs (6-0, 4-0 SEC).

Georgia limited Auburn quarterback Bo Nix to 217 yards on 21-for-38 passing, with one interception. The Tigers (4-2, 1-1) mustered 318 yards of total offense compared with Georgia’s 432.

After Auburn turned the ball over on downs when Nix threw an incomplete pass on fourth-and-8 from Georgia’s 40-yard line midway though the third quarter, Bennett immediately hit McConkey sprinting down the middle of the field for a 60-yard touchdown for a 24-3 advantage.

The Tigers responded by pulling to 24-10 when Tank Bigsby’s 6-yard run capped a six-play, 78-yard drive with 4:01 left in the third quarter.

Georgia dominated the fourth quarter and put the game away by scoring the next 10 points on a 21-yard field goal by Jack Podlesny and a 10-yard run by White with 7:11 remaining.

Auburn had taken a 3-0 lead when Anders Carlson’s 24-yard field goal capped a 17-play, 68-yard drive during which the Tigers converted twice on fourth down during their nearly seven-minute possession. It marked the first time Georgia trailed this season.

Georgia took advantage of an Auburn miscue to tie the game. Linebacker Nakobe Dean intercepted Nix’s pass that deflected off Shaun Shivers’ hands to give the Bulldogs the ball at Auburn’s 26-yard line. Six plays later, Jack Podlesny kicked a 23-yard field goal with 2:55 left in the first quarter.

Georgia took the lead on its next series. White plunged into the end zone from a yard out to cap a seven-play, 70-yard drive with 14:39 left in the first half. The drive also was costly for Auburn, as safety Smoke Monday was kicked out of the game after he was called for targeting while tackling Bennett near the sideline.

Georgia extended its lead to 17-3 on its next possession. Bennett was masterful, going 3 for-3 for 73 yards during a six-play, 78-yard drive that he capped with a 3-yard touchdown pass to Adonai Mitchell with 9:10 left in the half.

Auburn had a chance to pull to within a touchdown in the final minute of the half, but Nix’s pass on fourth-and-goal from the 3-yard line was broken up in the back of the end zone by Latavious Brini.

–Field Level Media

Sep 18, 2021; Athens, Georgia, USA; Georgia Bulldogs linebacker Channing Tindall (41) knocks the helmet of South Carolina Gamecocks wide receiver Dakereon Joyner (5) off on a tackle during the first half at Sanford Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

No. 2 Georgia takes nation’s top defense to No. 18 Auburn

No. 2 Georgia will look to post its third straight shutout Saturday when the Bulldogs visit No. 18 Auburn in a game between teams that have not lost in Southeastern Conference play.

Georgia (5-0, 3-0 SEC) is coming off consecutive shutouts of Vanderbilt and then-No. 8 Arkansas — the first time it has blanked consecutive conference opponents since it won the national title in 1980.

Auburn (4-1, 1-0) is coming off a 24-19 win at LSU.

“The Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry” has been a one-sided affair in recent years. Georgia has defeated Auburn in the past four meetings, including a 28-7 win in the SEC title game in 2017. The Bulldogs have beaten the Tigers in 13 of the past 16 games and are 17-12-2 all-time at Auburn.

“We know our guys are getting ready to go into a very tough environment,” Georgia coach Kirby Smart said. “Playing at Auburn is probably one of the toughest places to play in the SEC — their crowd fan base does a tremendous job with those elements. We tell our guys to keep calm in the storm, keep your composure, and play our best football against what I think is a very talented Auburn football team.”

Georgia, which dominated Arkansas 37-0 last Saturday and Vanderbilt 62-0 the week before, has allowed just 23 points and one offensive touchdown all season.

Auburn rallied from a 13-0 second-quarter deficit last week to post its first win at LSU since 1999, and will look for quarterback Bo Nix to continue doing exactly what he did against LSU. Nix went 23 of 44 passing for 255 yards and a touchdown, in addition to rushing for a team-high 74 yards and a score on 12 carries.

Nix is complemented by running backs Tank Bigsby (430 yards, 5.8-yard average, 4 TDs) and Jarquez Hunter (447 yards, 10.6 yards, 3 TDs), while John Samuel Shenker leads the team in receptions (18) and receiving yards (236) .

But Auburn hasn’t faced a defense as good as Georgia, which ranks first nationally in total defense (177.8 yards per game), passing yards allowed (110.0) and scoring defense (4.6 points per game), in addition to being fourth in rushing yards allowed (67.8).

“You’re gonna have to win some of those 1-on-1 matchups,” Auburn first-year coach Bryan Harsin said. “You still have to scheme for that. You can’t just give up on that, just because they have good players.”

As for Georgia, quarterback JT Daniels didn’t play against Arkansas after being used sparingly a week earlier, and Smart said it remains unclear whether he will return from his strained oblique muscle. Stetson Bennett, who is 29-for-41 for 472 yards with six touchdowns and two interceptions, could make his third start of the season.

Georgia is expected to lean heavily on its rushing attack, with Zamir White (275 yards, 5.2-yard average, 4 TDs), James Cook (215 yards, 6.2 yards, 2 TDs) and Kendall Milton (167 yards, 4.6 yards). Tight end Brock Bowers has emerged as one of the nation’s best true freshmen, with a team-high 18 catches for 272 yards and 4 TDs.

The Bulldogs are amid one of the toughest stretches of any team this season, with four straight games against ranked teams. Georgia plays host to undefeated and No. 16 Kentucky on Oct. 16 before getting the next week off to prepare for its annual showdown against No. 20 Florida at Jacksonville, Fla., on Oct. 30.

–Field Level Media

Auburn Tigers quarterback T.J. Finley (1) looks to throw at Jordan-Hare Stadium in Auburn, Ala., on Saturday, Sept. 25, 2021. Auburn Tigers defeated Georgia State Panthers 34-24.

No. 22 Auburn looks to keep LSU guessing at QB

TJ Finley is likely to play against his former team when No. 22 Auburn visits LSU on Saturday night.

Finley relieved an ineffective Bo Nix last Saturday and rallied Auburn to a 34-24 victory against visiting Georgia State.

Auburn head coach Bryan Harsin has been non-committal about whether Nix or Finley will start this week, but it seems likely that Finley will at least split time with Nix if not supplant him as the starting quarterback for Auburn (3-1, 0-0) in its SEC opener at Baton Rouge, La.

“Both those guys need to be ready,” Harsin said.

And LSU coach Ed Orgeron needs to be ready for both those guys.

“You just have to have a plan,” Orgeron said. “You have to see what Bo does well, what TJ does well. I don’t think the run game’s going to change with either one of them. I don’t think the pass protection’s going to change.”

But Harsin was convinced that a change at quarterback was necessary last week after the Auburn offense sputtered while Nix completed 13 of 27 passes for 156 yards. He turned to Finley on Auburn’s third series of the third quarter.

“We played every running back,” Harsin said. “We played every wide receiver. I wasn’t going to switch the offensive line out. … I made the decision to change and try to create some momentum.”

It worked. Finley completed 9 of 16 passes for 97 yards and led Auburn on a 13-play, 98-yard go-ahead touchdown drive that ended with just 45 seconds left in the game. He threw a 10-yard touchdown pass to Shedrick Jackson on fourth and 9.

“It’s easy to slack on the preparation (as a backup),” Harsin said, “and (Finley) didn’t do that.”

Harsin’s concerns about his offense have to do with more than just Nix’s inconsistency. On Sunday, Harsin fired wide receivers coach Cornelius Williams and replaced him with Eric Kiesau.

Finley’s situation at Auburn is reminiscent of his one season at LSU last year. Myles Brennan was injured in the third game of the season and Finley edged out fellow true freshman Max Johnson to start against South Carolina.

The Tigers rolled to a 52-24 victory behind Finley, but a week later at Auburn, Finley lost a fumble that was returned for a touchdown and threw two interceptions during a 48-11 Auburn victory.

Johnson relieved Finley, but Finley started three more games before Johnson started the final two games and led LSU to victories.

After spring practice, it was clear that Johnson and a healthy Brennan would enter preseason camp in a two-man battle to start this season for LSU (3-1, 1-0). So Finley, who grew up in Ponchatoula, La., transferred to Auburn.

“TJ didn’t want to leave, but it was a decision that was best for him,” Orgeron “He’s always going to be a part of our family.”

Brennan is sidelined by a broken arm suffered in late July, so Johnson has started the first four games.

He has thrown 15 touchdown passes and three interceptions for the Tigers despite operating with a poor running game and inconsistent protection.

“We have some outstanding backs,” Orgeron said. “We just don’t have any room to run. Our pass protection has to improve. We’re nowhere near being the team we want to be, but we’re getting there.”

–Field Level Media

Sep 25, 2021; Auburn, Alabama, USA;  Georgia State Panthers quarterback Darren Grainger (3) rolls out to pass during the first quarter against the Auburn Tigers at Jordan-Hare Stadium. Mandatory Credit: John Reed-USA TODAY Sports

No. 23 Auburn scores comeback win to avoid upset

T.J. Finley threw a 10-yard touchdown pass to Shedrick Jackson with 45 seconds remaining and No. 23 Auburn rallied past Georgia State 34-24.

Finley was nearly tackled for a loss, but escaped, stepped up and found Jackson in the end zone for Auburn’s (3-1) only offensive touchdown of the day to cap a 13-play, 98-yard drive.

Georgia State (1-3), which led 24-12 at halftime, had one last chance, but Smoke Monday intercepted Darren Grainger and returned it 36 yards to ice it.

Finley, who replaced starter Bo Nix in the third quarter, completed five-of-nine passes for 64 yards on the final drive and ran for 16 more.

Finley’s 19-yard pass to John Samuel Shenker to the Georgia State 11 on the final drive was ruled complete on the field and survived a review.

Anders Carlson kicked four field goals for the Tigers.

Tucker Gregg carried 12 times for 150 yards and a touchdown for the Panthers. Grainger passed for 97 yards, two touchdowns and the interception. He ran for 61 yards.

Auburn trailed 24-12 in the third quarter before Caylen Newton blocked Michael Hayes’ punt and Barton Lester recovered in the end zone to pull within 24-19 at the 4:44 mark.

Georgia State went 75 yards in 15 plays to take a 10-6 second quarter lead. On second down from the Auburn 30, Grainger scrambled 14 yards. Three plays later he found Jamari Thrash alone in the end zone for a 12-yard score.

On the ensuing drive, Auburn’s Jarquez Hunter ran 27 yards to the Georgia State 15, but the Tigers again settled for a Carlson field goal, this time from 27 yards.

The Panthers again drove 75 yards to increase the lead to 17-9. Tight end Roger Carter caught a 24-yard pass to the Auburn 18 and three plays later caught Grainger’s second touchdown pass, a 7-yarder.

Carlson hit from 45 yards out to pull Auburn within 17-12 with 2:54 left in the first half.

Starting at the 40 after an Auburn penalty, Georgia State took less than a minute to score. On first down at midfield, Gregg burst through the line and went 50 yards to make it 24-12.

Auburn had given up 45.7 rushing yards per game over their first three, but the Panthers rushed for 219 yards in the first half alone.

–Field Level Media