ARLINGTON, Texas, Sporting Alert – Bo Nix threw a touchdown pass to Seth Williams with 9 seconds left in the game and No. 16 Auburn beat No. 11 Oregon 27-21 to open the season on Saturday night.
With the game tied at 21 apiece and destined for overtime play, true freshman quarterback Nix connected with Williams for a 26-yard touchdown to seal the comeback win for the Tigers inside the AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
The play gave Auburn their first lead of the game after finding themselves trailing 21-6 late in the third quarter.
“Play of the game,” Auburn coach Gus Malzahn said.
Malzahn added about Nix: “He has some savviness to him, there’s no doubt. When the game is on the line, you’ve got to make plays, and that’s the one thing he showed.”
According to ESPN Stats and Information, it was the first time Auburn was scoring a go-ahead touchdown in the final minute of regulation since Chris Davis’ 100-plus yards stunning Kick Six against Alabama on the final play in 2013.
Nix finished 13-of-31 on completed passes for 177 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions.
He also rushed seven times for 42 yards in the only AP ranked vs. ranked matchup in Week 1.
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JaTarvious Whitlow had 110 yards rushing on 24 carries, while Joey Gatewood ran for a score and Eli Stove joined Williams with a TD catch.
Meanwhile, star quarterback Justin Herbert, who return to the Oregon setup instead of entering the NFL draft early, went 28-of-37 on completed passes for 242 yards with a touchdown.
Johnny Johnson III took seven catches for 98 yards, Spencer Webb had a 20-yard score catch, while CJ Verdell had 76 yards on 14 carries with one touchdown.
Darrian Felix also ran for a score for the Ducks, who led 14-6 at halftime.
“Tough, really tough one,” Oregon coach Mario Cristobal said after the defeat.
Oregon and Auburn were meeting for the first time since the 2011 BCS Championship Game in which the Cam Newton-led squad sealed the win as time expired.
“We brought back a play we used to run in 2010 with Cam (Newton),” said Malzahn revealed. “He (Nix) looked pretty good going over the top with it.”
Despite the defeat, Oregon is expected to remain the AP top 25 in the next poll, but Auburn is set to move up in the rankings.
The Ducks are playing at home against Nevada on Saturday night in their next fixture, while the Tigers are hosting Tulane on the same night.