Bad call helps No. 23 Auburn come back to beat Georgia State

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Auburn got a little help from the officials in its comeback win over Georgia State on Saturday.

The No. 23 Tigers trailed for most of the second half before taking the lead with 45 seconds left in a 34-24 win over the Panthers. And Auburn's go-ahead TD may not have happened at all if it wasn't for an incorrect call after a replay review. 

Officials ruled that John Samuel Shenker made a diving catch at the Georgia State 11 with 1:13 to go. Georgia State players immediately thought that the ball went through Shenker's hands. And they were right. Watch the replay below. 

This pass was clearly incomplete. (Via SEC Network)
This pass was clearly incomplete. (Via SEC Network)

You can clearly see the ball go through his arms and hit the ground. But officials ruled that the call of a catch stood on the field and Auburn had a first down at the 11. 

The Tigers scored four plays later on fourth down to go ahead and a pick-six on Georgia State's desperation drive provided the final margin of victory.

Was the bad call the sole reason Auburn won the game? No. It came on first down. But, it certainly changed the tenor of the final 73 seconds. Had the pass been correctly ruled incomplete, Auburn would have had the ball on second down at the Georgia State 30. The Tigers still could have scored a go-ahead TD and won the game. But Georgia State's chances of stopping Auburn would have been a whole lot better. 

Bo Nix benched

Finley played the fourth quarter in relief of Nix, Auburn's starter since the 2019 season. Finley finished the game 9-of-16 passing for 97 yards and that TD while also rushing three times for 15 yards. Nix was 13-of-27 passing for 156 yards before he was replaced.

Finley played well enough to be considered for the starting job ahead of the Tigers’ game versus LSU on Oct. 2. Auburn failed to score an offensive touchdown while Nix was in the game and he averaged less than six yards a passing attempt. Auburn's points came on four field goals and a blocked punt that ended up as a touchdown before Finley entered the game.