15th ranked Auburn headed to Columbia to play unranked South Carolina for the first time since 2014, and the first time in William-Brice Stadium since 2011. Despite a late comeback attempt, Auburn was unable to escape with the victory.
The story of Auburn’s offense today was one of an inability to finish. Despite putting up 481 total yards, they were only able to finish in the red zone with a touchdown twice out of their five trips. The Tigers were given a multitude of opportunities but were unable to capitalize on any of them after the first half. Auburn led in the Gamecocks in every offensive category, including turnovers. Auburn was able to rush for 209 yards, with Tank Bigsby breaking 100 yards for the second time of his young career.
South Carolina got a win against Auburn for the first time since 1933 off of its great defensive back play. Bo Nix threw three interceptions today, all of them being on third down. Jaycee Horn made a few big plays for the Gamecocks, ending the game with two interceptions after guarding Seth Williams for the bulk of the game. Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn made sure to give credit where credit is due saying, “They played well and had a good plan.”
South Carolina’s offense was able to score 30 points off of the short fields provided by their three crucial interceptions of Bo Nix. Two of those interceptions came in the second quarter, allowing South Carolina to pull within two points before halftime. The one in the third quarter allowed them to take their first lead of the game over the Tigers. When asked to comment on Bo Nix’s turnovers, Malzahn emphasized the need to “get back” and how they “need to improve and need to protect the football.”
“They're a work in progress, but i think we have the potential to be a very good offense," Malzahn said when asked about the offense.
As mentioned before the rushing attack looked strong this game, and while the passing offense did have its hiccups it showed flashes of its potential future. Nix finished with 272 yards through the air, with four different receivers having 40 or more yards. Dropped passes, quarterback pressure and miscommunications all lead to the downfall of Auburn’s passing game today.
Auburn looks to bounce back next week against Ole Miss in Oxford. That matchup is with an Ole Miss team that has had flashes of offensive super power but struggled against Arkansas on Saturday.