Publish date:

Auburn Uses QB Switch, Wild Late Touchdown to Avoid Upset vs. Georgia State

Author:

Auburn quarterback TJ Finley entered Saturday's game against Georgia State with just seven pass attempts on the season. He left it as the Tigers' savior.

Finley relieved starter Bo Nix in the third quarter and helped No. 23 Auburn avoid an upset as the Tigers won, 34–24, thanks to a 98-yard fourth-quarter drive that was capped off by a dramatic fourth-down score in the final minute.

Georgia State led, 24–19, and punted to pin Auburn at its own 2-yard line with just over three minutes remaining. Finley then engineered a 13-play scoring drive that culminated with a fourth-and-9 from the Georgia State 10-yard line. Finley avoided an aggressive pass rush and retreated back to the 25-yard line before finding Shedrick Jackson for the go-ahead score.

Auburn put the game away two plays later when Smoke Monday intercepted Georgia State quarterback Darren Grainger and returned it 36 yards for a touchdown.

SI Recommends

Finley went 9-for-16 for 97 yards and one score after coming on for Nix, adding 15 yards on the ground. He was 5-for-9 for 64 yards on that final drive, and also ripped off a 16-yard run that moved the chains and put the Tigers in Georgia State territory. A transfer from LSU, Finley started five games for LSU last year, throwing for 941 yards and five touchdowns with five interceptions.

Nix, the 2019 SEC Freshman of the Year who's in his third year as Auburn's starting quarterback, was benched after going 13-for-27 for 156 yards. Over his last three games, Nix is 43-for-81 (53.1%) for 449 yards and two touchdowns.

Finley's heroics helped the Tigers avoid what would have been an embarrassing and historic defeat. Auburn was a 27.5-point favorite coming into the game, and the Tigers have never lost to a team currently in the Sun Belt Conference, moving to 23–0 all-time against the league with Saturday's dramatic win.

More College Football Coverage: