Auburn QB Nix Out For Rest of Season

Auburn's Bo Nix suffered a fractured ankle in Saturday's loss to Mississippi State that leaves him out for the rest of the season. The quarterback will see his junior year cut short, having undergone successful surgery on Monday.

The Tigers will look to T.J. Finley for the rest of the campaign on the back of the injury, but it was likely that head coach Bryan Harsin would have looked to the former LSU transfer as Nix had been coming under heavy criticism for making some costly turnovers in the previous game. He also seemed to have a go at fans recently.

Harsin confirmed reports of Nix missing the rest of the year while praising the QB's toughness.

"The first thing you talk about at the quarterback position is toughness, and there's no question with that with Bo," Harsin remarked. "And I've said that before ... He's a tough individual, No. 1. He wants to win, he wants to succeed, he wants to be a part of that. It says a lot about his desire to be out there with his teammates and to provide whatever he can from that position to try to help us win. I love that. I love the attitude. Unfortunately, he was injured and he'll be out the rest of the season. But he's got a great attitude."

Nix, 21, hurt his ankle in the third quarter of the loss while completing a 44-yard pass to Ja'Varrius Johnson. He stayed on the field for the remainder of the drive, which ended in a blocked field goal attempt from 35 yards, and was then evaluated on the sidelines. He was seen trying to walk it off and even returned to the game after the team's medical staff gave him the green light. He led three more drives, making nine out of his 17 passes for 109 yards and setting Auburn up for their only second-half touchdown before coming out of the game late in the fourth quarter.

"As he went back in there, he looked, he stood in the pocket, he threw the ball well," Harsin noted. "He gave us opportunities to make plays, there's no doubt about it, and we didn't make those plays in those moments for us to continue drives and have a chance to go down there and do the things like we did in the first half."

Nix was replaced by Finley for the Tigers' final possession as they trailed by 9 en route to a 43-34 loss. He said he opted to leave the game because he felt like it was "better to have a guy, in that situation, who can really move around and not be hindered with anything."

This will come as a bitter blow to the player, who will be worried about his chances of making it to the pros after seeing his junior year end early. Of course, there will be an opportunity to make up for lost time, but his name will not be one of those discussed in an NFL forum for at least another year.

Harsin also explained the decision to have Finley go in for the last possession, offering he did not think Nix could have continued based on the way he was limping in the fourth.

"I didn't think that he could go anymore at that point, and then, you know, with T.J., trying to get a little bit of a spark -- but really, it came back to Bo, just could he go or not," the coach said. "...It's just, didn't feel like where it looked like Bo could really go. So, T.J. was obviously going to be ready to go and get him in the game. At that point, too, you know, could we get a spark? Can we get the ball down the field and make something happen? Because we needed to: you know, we were now in that situation where we've got to score and get the ball back and try to score again quickly -- get a field goal at that point. So, really, it came down to that."

Harsin claims not to believe the injury was compounded by another hit after he reentered the game. He also wasn't sure the drives that followed the initial contact made it worse. The team wasn't aware he had suffered a fracture until he had another evaluation done on the injury after the game.

It's quite unfortunate for the young QB as he finished what was his last game of the season with a career-high 377 passing yards and 2 touchdowns.

"He's in good spirits," Harsin added. "You know, I'm there to support him like his teammates and the other coaches on this staff are doing. You know, when guys get injured, that's what you do: you support them. The next step is, you know, go have your surgery and get yourself healthy. You know, there is a human element to this, and so that part of it, that's the focus.

"And then after the surgery, you know, we'll regroup and we'll focus on what comes next and what he has to do and those types of things. But, that wasn't the initial conversation right after he was injured; like, what we have to do moving forward."

Finley will be the man controlling things from the back the rest of the season and will make a start against USC for the second straight year.

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