ATLANTA — The faces and numbers had changed, but Bo Nix had faced this Georgia defense before Saturday’s contest at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
“It was the same Georgia,” said Nix, who traded in his Auburn uniform for a new beginning with the Oregon Ducks after last season.
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“I’ve seen a lot of those looks, they’re just really good — really good at the point of attack, really good at playing the ball and really good at tackling.”
It was a long day for Nix, who despite looking good and moving the ball at times -- both teams had 14 first downs at halftime -- was on the wrong end of a lopsided 49-3 scoreboard.
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“In a situation like that you can’t be defeated by it,” said Nix, who was 21-of-37 passing for 173 yards and two interceptions while also leading Oregon in rushing with 37 yards on 8 carries
“You have to move on to the next play and do better.”
Georgia’s defense stubbornly refused to reward Nix and the Ducks, even when they managed to drive the ball into the Bulldogs’ territory four times.
Twice, on back-to-back drives, Oregon was thwarted by turnovers on Georgia’s side of the field.
“The first one, I feel like the guy (Malaki Starks) made a great play,” Nix said, referring to a leaping catch Starks made while falling backward.
“The second one, obviously, bad decision. We had a good play called, and they rolled right into it, and bad decision.”
Indeed, Georgia safety Christopher Smith continued his penchant for making big plays, breaking hard on a seam route and returning an interception 22 yards.
Nix and the Ducks fought to the bitter end, moving the ball to the Georgia 2-yard line before their final drive stalled out with an incomplete fourth down pass.
Nix opened his career at Auburn as a freshman with a high-profile win against Oregon in Arlington, Texas.
The Ducks’ hope was that he could repeat his neutral site magic as a 17-point underdog against a Georgia team that lost five first-round picks off its defense.
“It’s unfortunate the opportunity is past and it wasn’t a different outcome,” Nix said. “Obviously, you hate losing, but you have to move past it.”
Oregon plays host to Eastern Washington at 8:30 (EST) next Saturday before a showdown against BYU at 3:30 p.m. on Sept. 17.