Georgia St Auburn Football

Georgia State coach Shawn Elliott and the Panthers led Auburn until the final minute Saturday. [BUTCH DILL/THE ASSOCIATED PRESS]

AUBURN — Auburn's 34-24 win over Georgia State was the result everyone expected, but far from the means of reaching that result.

A backup quarterback's last-gasp touchdown drive will leave questions about the future for Auburn's offense, but for the time being, it was an encouraging ending to a resilient comeback.

Offense — D+: If T.J. Finley hadn't pulled off a miraculous fourth-and-goal adjustment to win the game, Auburn would have finished without having scored an offensive touchdown. Bo Nix was 13-for-27 before he was pulled.

Defense — C+: Credit to the defense for the dramatic turnaround in the second half. The first half was uncharacteristic for how Auburn has stopped the run this season, but it looked like itself again after regrouping. Georgia State's strength is not the pass game, but Darren Grainger came through with clutch throws when needed. This is developing into a top concern for Auburn.

Special teams — A: Even with Anders Carlson's missed 40-yard field goal in the fourth quarter, Auburn doesn't win without special teams. The punt unit contributed a touchdown with Caylin Newton on the block and Barton Lester on the recovery. Nehemiah Pritchett had a 72-yard kickoff return through traffic in the first half. And Carlson still finished 4-for-5.

Coaching — C-: Was replacing Nix a good decision in the long term? Would Nix have adjusted with more time, and would Auburn have won with him leading the offense? Hard to say just yet, but it worked. Bullet dodged, for now.

Overall — D+: Auburn gets a plus for coming through in the final moments to get the job done, but it should never come to that against Georgia State. A roller coaster of emotions for Auburn.

Bennett Durando

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