The LSU-Auburn game usually provides a lot of intrigue and by kickoff, promises for some mesmerizing moments. But the storyline to follow this week is just which quarterback the purple and gold will be facing.
One of course is Bo Nix, a veteran quarterback for the Auburn program who has had some success against LSU recently. Look no further than the 48-11 beatdown Auburn laid on LSU just last year. But after a performance against Georgia State where Nix struggled immensely, Auburn and coach Bryan Harsin inserted TJ Finley in the fourth quarter.
Down 24-19, Finley led Auburn on a 98-yard touchdown drive capped off by this absurd touchdown throw on 4th-and-9 to avoid a monumental upset by the FCS program.
For the game, Finley completed 9-of-16 passes for 97 yards and a touchdown while running for an additional 15 yards.
"I was quite disappointed in myself. I missed a wide open touchdown on third down but my mindset was just next play," Finley said after the game. "I saw pressure coming from the left side, I spinned out of the tackle and Shedrick [Jackson] did a great job of getting open. It was a great feeling, I've never had that experience at Auburn."
Immediately the question postgame became which quarterback would earn the start against LSU next weekend in Death Valley. Auburn coach Bryan Harsin gave no indication as to who might start against LSU next weekend but said that all of the positions will need to prepare the same way to come away with a win over the purple and gold.
“I don’t have a gameplan like that. That’s not how it works. I don’t have a gameplan like that, and I don’t have to tell anyone what the gameplan is," Harsin said. "Those guys, quarterback position, you get yourself ready like everybody else. Bottom line. You’re part of this team. I know everybody wants to make a big thing out of that. That becomes the storyline. The storyline is ‘get better.’ That’s the storyline. Prepare yourself. Have yourself ready. Coaches, get better. Everybody improve, every single day. Be 1-0 every day, and then get yourself ready throughout the week so you can go cut it loose on Saturday and play really good football."
Finley started five games for the purple and gold and went through all of spring camp competing with Max Johnson and Myles Brennan for the starting job before ultimately electing to transfer.
The sophomore quarterback said whether he's starting or coming off the bench on Saturday, he's treating the return to Tiger Stadium like his homecoming.
"It's going to be amazing. I can't wait. A lot of players there have supported my decision to come here," Finley said. "There's no bad blood with LSU at all because they understand the situation I was put in. I can't wait to go back, I told all my teammates it's my homecoming."