Auburn has been one of the most impressive teams during the 2019 college football season. And we’re about to learn a lot about the Tigers over the rest of the 2019 season.
The Tigers destroyed Mississippi State 56-23 at home on Saturday night as the Tiger offense lit up the Bulldogs for 42 first-half points.
It was the best game of freshman quarterback Bo Nix’s career. Nix was 16-of-21 passing for 335 yards and two touchdowns and he also had seven carries for 56 yards and a touchdown. Auburn was so good early that Nix was able to take a seat on the bench in the third quarter as backup QB Joey Gatewood closed out the game.
Auburn wide receiver Seth Williams had eight catches for 161 yards and two scores. His first score was Auburn’s fifth touchdown of the night and his second put the game totally out of reach at 49-9 in the third quarter.
Not much went right for Mississippi State. The Bulldogs were down 14-0 less than six minutes into the game and a fumbled kickoff return allowed Auburn to go up 21-0 with 8:59 remaining in the first quarter. If it was accurate to say things got better from there, we’d say it. But they really didn’t. Linebacker Erroll Thompson even got ejected late in the second quarter for targeting.
Auburn’s big tests are looming
The Tigers have moved to No. 7 in the Associated Press top 25 on the strength of a Week 1 win over Oregon in Dallas and a convincing win over No. 23 Texas A&M in Week 4. But the toughest games are yet to come on the Tigers’ slate.
Four of Auburn’s remaining seven games are against teams currently in the AP Top 10. And the fun starts next week with a trip to No. 9 Florida. After that, Auburn plays No. 4 LSU, No. 3 Georgia and No. 2 Alabama over the next six weeks. The Tigers are the only team to play four top-10 teams over the rest of the season let alone three of the current top five teams in the country.
While the schedule may be daunting, it’s also pretty straightforward. If Auburn wins all or all but one of those games and wins the SEC, the Tigers are going to the College Football Playoff. It doesn’t get much simpler than that, does it?
And let’s be real, the objective seems a little easier if Nix is playing well. The three SEC teams ahead of Auburn in the AP Poll have established veteran QBs. But Nix is progressing well, especially for a freshman. If he can limit mistakes like he did against A&M in Week 4 and also show the promise like he did against Mississippi State at Florida in a week, then there’s no reason why Auburn can’t be 6-0 heading into its first bye of the season.
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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports
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