AUBURN — Bo Nix in his third season and Bryan Harsin in his first are discovering a similar characteristic about themselves.
They're discovering they love to play on the road.
Harsin, Auburn’s first-year coach, was asked Wednesday of the off week what he has learned from his first seven games in the SEC.
"I've always believed this, even in the Mountain West: You've got to be ready to play every single week," Harsin said. "What does stand out is: You go on the road, I think the fans of the teams we play are very good. Like, they're into it. They're not in our favor, but as far as the atmosphere goes, it's enjoyable, in a way, to go into a stadium that's packed. People are passionate. I think that's part of college football. That's one of the things that the SEC really provides, is you're going to be in really challenging environments. But I think it's also enjoyable as a competitor to be in those situations."
Auburn (5-2, 2-1 SEC) has won back-to-back road games for the first time since 2017, when it won at Arkansas and Texas A&M. In the Gus Malzahn era, the Tigers were 17-18 on the road, including a combined 0-12 when playing at LSU, Alabama and Georgia.
One of those three weights is already off Harsin's back. He won in his first try at LSU thanks to his quarterback's theatrics. Then in Arkansas, Auburn pulled off its first double-digit road win against a ranked team since 2015 (26-10 vs. Texas A&M).
Nix seems to enjoy the hostile environments, too. The junior is playing his best games on the road. He was 21-for-26 against the Razorbacks with two passing touchdowns and one rushing. It was a career game.
"I think that Bo is that student of the game when it comes to learning from the previous game," Harsin said. "What are the things that we need to apply going into that next week, trying to apply that through a practice and then being better at it as we go into the next game."
I don’t think anything’s changed (since Georgia State)," Nix said after the Arkansas game. "When I go out there and compete and desire the ball and want the ball at the end of the game like today, that’s when I’m just at my best. And I think our team as a whole would obviously agree.”
At Arkansas, Nix had an adjusted completion percentage of over 80 percent for a second straight week. This time, all but one of his accurate passes were actually caught as Auburn's receivers bounced back from a seven-drop game against Georgia. Nix said after the Georgia game that he would never hold drops against his receivers, but the difference the next week was clear.
"I also thought the guys around him played better," Harsin said. "So it was good to see just some execution from more guys on the offensive side than we had in the previous game leading up into Arkansas. So that was an improvement."
Auburn's remaining road games are at Texas A&M — where No. 1 Alabama was toppled — and South Carolina.