Welcome to the Auburn family, Bo Nix
Nobody saw Patrick Nix coming.
Everyone was waiting for Bo Nix.
Patrick Nix had no time to think or blink when his moment arrived.
Bo Nix was born for this moment.
Separated by a quarter century and a year, united by blood and guts, the first family of Auburn quarterbacks introduced itself to the Auburn family in shockingly similar sensational ways.
Like father, like son and then some. Like Patrick Nix to Frank Sanders in the 1993 Iron Bowl, so went Bo Nix to Seth Williams in the 2019 Advocare Classic.
Distant worlds. Different stakes. Same stunning entrance. Touchdown, Auburn and toilet paper everywhere. The apple didn't fall far from the Toomer's Corner trees.
One win from an unbeaten season in Terry Bowden's first year as head coach, Auburn needed the sophomore Patrick Nix to step up late in the third quarter because senior starter Stan White had just gone out with a knee injury. The Tigers were down nine, going nowhere fast, when Nix took the first important snap of his college career on fourth-and-15 from the Alabama 35.
Boldly, he threw for the goal line. Naturally, Sanders caught it, launched himself into the end zone and the comeback was on.
"Why get nervous when it's your job?" Nix said after the 22-14 victory and the 11-0 season were complete. "I knew it was my time."
One pointless possession from an 0-1 start in Gus Malzahn's latest make-or-break year as head coach, Auburn needed the true freshman Bo Nix to grow up fast on the final drive of his first college game because he'd struggled from the start against a quality Oregon defense.
Boldly, on fourth-and-3 near midfield, he rolled right, planted and pushed upfield and launched himself toward the line to gain. He made it with inches to spare.
Boldly, on third-and-10 at the Oregon 39, he whistled a dart to Williams for 13 yards and a much closer field-goal attempt for Anders Carlson. Except, with a mere 16 seconds left at the next snap from the 26, heredity got the better of discretion.
Boldly, borderline crazy after two interceptions and 18 incompletions in 30 attempts, Nix threw for the goal line. Naturally, Williams caught it, powered into the end zone and the comeback was complete. The remaining nine ticks of the clock were not going to fracture this fairy tale.
"It just shows a lot about our team," Nix said after the 27-21 thriller was done. "It shows a lot about our character. It shows where we've been, where we want to go. We wanted it bad so we did whatever we needed to do to take it. Sure enough, there at the end, we did it."
We. It was the perfect choice of pronoun after the biggest Auburn comeback since the 2010 Iron Bowl Camback.
Up in the stands as the final throw landed and his son became The Man, Patrick Nix broke into a Texas-size smile, raised his arms toward the Jerry World roof and bounced up and down like he'd just shushed Steve Spurrier in the Swamp.
The best fathers want more for their sons than they've enjoyed themselves. Few fathers have been as privileged as Patrick Nix to watch their sons come of age on a public stage the way Bo Nix did Saturday night.
Patrick had raised, coached and mentored Bo for this decisive, defining moment. At the intersection of biology, legacy, destiny and history, a father handed the ball to his son. The son took it, flung the fear out of it and made a memory.
Not the first for the Nix and Auburn families. Likely not the last.
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