1. The play that said it all: Auburn’s 24-13 loss at Florida on Saturday could be summarized in just one play.
Bo Nix, the true freshman quarterback who had inspired such warm feelings for the Tigers with his early-season play, faced third-and-8 from the Florida 36-yard line.
Auburn was on the edge of field-goal range and trailed 17-13. It wasn’t time for a home run, but Nix appeared to try for one.
He scrambled, twisting around twice like he was playing backyard ball, and found himself in a situation that Harry Houdini couldn’t escape. The eventually 22-yard sack nixed not only the drive but led to a game-sealing touchdown.
With a little more experience, Nix will know on such a play when the journey is over and it’s time to cut bait. On Saturday, that play sunk the Tigers to the bottom.
The 46-yard punt that followed left Florida at its own 12-yard line, and Lamical Perine took it from there. His 88-yard run provided the game’s final points.
2. Oh, my, T.J. Britt: Auburn linebacker T.J. Britt provided some laughable assistance on Perine’s touchdown run.
Perine and Britt collided near the line — and Britt acted like a bumper on a pool table. Perine simply bounced off.
Perine broke another tackle “effort” several yards downfield, but Britt’s was particularly glaring.
Unfortunately, it wasn’t Britt’s first such appearance in Saturday’s game. On Florida’s first offensive play, Britt looked like a little brother chasing down the household bully, fitfully trying to catch up to Freddie Swain on a 64-yard touchdown.
Maybe Britt was even telling himself: “I think I can. I think I can.”
3. Embarrassing numbers: Florida defensive back Trey Dean III (21) reacts after a pass goes long at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, Fla., on Saturday, Oct. 5, 2019. Florida defeated Auburn 24-13. (Photo: Jake Crandall)
Perine’s 88-yard touchdown run was the longest surrendered by Auburn in three years. In 2016, Texas A&M’s Trayveon Williams went 89 yards against the Tigers.
Auburn’s offense, late in the game, did cross into double-digit first downs to save the Tigers from more red-faced infamy.
Auburn last failed to record at least 10 first downs in 2016 when the Tigers notched seven against Alabama. Since 2000, Auburn has had nine games with single-digit first downs — five against Alabama.
On Saturday, with three first downs on their final five plays, the Tigers recorded 12 first downs.
Rushing offense — D-: Auburn’s 124 yards was its weakest effort of the season … by a 48-yard margin. JaTarvious Whitlow’s 81 rushing yards included 75 in the second half.
Rushing defense — C: The Tigers surrendered their most rushing yards all season, though 132 doesn’t look that bad. Of course, 88 of it was on one play by Lamical Perine. Derrick Brown deserves accolades for his two fumble recoveries, but there was the tragic ending to one. Brown had green grass and no Gators ahead of him on one return, may have had visions of touchdown glory dancing in his head and fell down.
Passing offense — F: Bo Nix finally looked like a true freshman. He notched his third, fourth and fifth career interceptions. He looked flummoxed, particularly on the fourth-quarter play where he scrambled and scrambled his way into a 22-yard sack.
Passing defense — B: Again, Florida’s 266 yards don’t look that bad. Freddie Swain did roast the Tigers for 146 yards on six catches. He went for a 64-yard touchdown on Florida’s second play, making Auburn linebacker K.J. Britt look foolish in the process. Of course, Britt had a “tackling” dummy-like effort on Perine’s 88-yard run, too.
Special teams — C: Anders Carlson drilled first-quarter field goals of 48 and 39 yards, while Arryn Siposs averaged almost 41 yards per punt. Ah, but punt returner Christian Tutt, while signaling for teammates to get away, has the ball hit him. Florida recovered in the red zone.
Coaching — F: The Tigers leaned too heavily on Nix and the magic he showed at Texas A&M wasn’t present in Gainesville.
Overall — D: Auburn gets a week off before the second leg of its three straight road games. Of course, going to Arkansas should be the easiest of the three.
- Montgomery Advertiser