Bo Nix threw for 233 yards and three second-half touchdowns, together with a pair to Seth Williams, and No. Eight Auburn scored twice within the fourth quarter to drag away from No. 23 Kentucky for a 29-13 victory Saturday within the season opener.
The Tigers turned a three-quarter scare into a snug win by capitalizing on a late turnover and Kentucky’s failed faux punt within the lone High 25 matchup of the Southeastern Convention’s opening weekend.
The sport was performed earlier than a COVID-19-limited crowd of 17,000-plus — principally Auburn college students — and essentially the most electrical second for the sparse in-person viewers was a 100-yard interception return referred to as again by focusing on simply earlier than halftime.
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Nix delivered some massive performs to start out an encore to a promising freshman season, particularly to Williams. He accomplished 16 of 27 passes and in addition ran for 34 yards.
Kentucky quarterback Terry Wilson returned from a knee harm that value him most of final season. He accomplished 24 of 37 passes for 239 yards and ran for 42 yards. Kavosiey Smoke ran untouched for an early 35-yard landing and Josh Ali caught 9 passes for 98 yards.
The athletic Williams capped his six-catch, 112-yard efficiency with a Four-yard landing within the fourth quarter. He reached over 6-foot-1 cornerback Kelvin Joseph for the catch with 10:21 left.
Jamien Sherwood pressured and recovered a fumble to arrange the decisive rating. Kentucky’s offense then went nowhere, and neither did a faux punt try that set the desk for Nix’s 21-yard landing move to Eli Range.
The Wildcats reduce it to 15-13 with Wilson’s Eight-yard landing to Akeem Hayes late within the third, however could not match Auburn’s first-quarter 2-point conversion for the tie.
The ultimate seconds of the primary half resulted in two evaluations and no factors, to the dismay of each groups.
The Wildcats’ Chris Rodriguez was dominated in need of the purpose line and a evaluate upheld the decision. Then Roger McCreary picked off a Wilson move and raced 100 yards to the tip zone, shedding Wilson’s deal with try on the 20.
However that landing was waved off after one other evaluate resulted in linebacker Derick Corridor getting ejected for focusing on.
“I hope it was a common sense foul as a result of that was a big-time play proper there,” Auburn coach Gus Malzahn instructed the SEC Community at halftime.
Kentucky: Nonetheless hasn’t crushed a top-10 SEC staff on the highway since topping No. 1 Mississippi in 1964. Wilson offered hope for the passing sport after the Wildcats relied closely on the run in his absence final season.
Auburn: Has to get higher on third-down protection, giving up eight first downs on 10 Wildcats makes an attempt within the first half. Receivers Williams and Anthony Schwartz appear to be the big-play threats the Tigers have been anticipating, however the operating sport has an extended strategy to go.
Auburn honored former coach Pat Dye earlier than the sport and Malzahn wearing his honor on the sidelines, sporting Dye’s trademark cap, with a short-sleeved gown shirt and tie. Dye handed away at age 80 on June 1 from issues of kidney and liver failure.
Kentucky hosts Lane Kiffin and Mississippi in its house opener on Saturday.
Auburn visits No. Four Georgia on Saturday in an early matchup of potential division contenders.