ARLINGTON, Texas -- And so the legend of Bo Nix begins … or rather … was launched.

The five-star right arm that had been so coveted by Auburn laid a no-so-perfect strike into the arms of 6-foot-3 receiver Seth Williams with 9 seconds left to manufacture another Auburn miracle.

The resulting touchdown sent the No. 16 Tigers over No. 11 Oregon, 27-21, and caused the latest toilet papering of oak trees less than 800 miles away on Toomer's Corner.

"I never thought the game would end like that," Nix said, "especially the first one."

But it was more than that. Auburn has a future because it has a quarterback.

Who cares if Nix completed 42 percent of his passes or threw two interceptions?

This Bo knows comebacks, too, leading the Tigers back from a 21-6 second-half deficit.

This Bo Nix conjured memories of the Kick Six. It wasn't quite that for the first true freshman quarterback to start the season for Auburn since 1946 … but it was damn close.

"This is not like a Kick Six, but this is a pretty good one to open up the season," said Auburn defensive end Big Kat Bryant.

How about opening up a career?

When Nix chose Auburn, he was a native son, a legacy staying home. Bo is the state of Alabama's all-time high school leader in total offense. His father, Patrick Nix, played the same position for the Tigers in the mid-1990s.

Bo's arrival marked potentially the biggest difference-maker for Auburn at the position since Cam Newton.

Coach Gus Malzahn seemed to signal that. The one snap backup quarterback Joey Gatewood played was a charge into the end zone to cut the lead to 21-20. It was the first time Malzahn used the play since 2010 with Newton.

From there, it was up to Nix to leave hints that he is the next great one. The numbers from Saturday night don't say it, but the result does.

Nix was 6-of-19 passing at one point in the second half. He finished a sub-par 13 of 31 with two interceptions.

But when Malzahn and the Tigers absolutely needed him, he was there. Nix completed 4 of 6 for 53 yards on the final 60-yard drive that took up 2:11 of the final 2:20 of the game.

Nix dove for a first down at midfield on fourth-and-3 that kept the drive alive. After a measurement, the nose of the ball just edged past the down marker.

"Coming into the game, I was like, 'I hope Bo don't let this big game atmosphere get to him,'" Auburn running back JaTarvious Whitlow said. "When he came in and did that in a big game, it tells a lot. … Most quarterbacks go in there and freeze up.

"Not him. He put his head down and got the extra 3 yards we needed to get the big fourth down to win the game."

Six plays later Nix, saw Williams shielding Oregon corner Verone McKinley III in the left side of the end zone. Williams tipped the slightly underthrown ball to himself.

"He's got some gunslinger in him," Malzahn said of his new quarterback toy. "There's no doubt."

Auburn led for the first time -- and covered the four-point spread -- with nine ticks left.

"At first I was like, 'Oh, it's just a touchdown," Williams said. "But the way the crowd reacted, I looked at the scoreboard. 'Oh snap, I just won the game.'"

But to start your first college game on a national stage and lead a comeback from 15 points down in the second half? That's legend stuff already for the kid who shares the same first name as a certain Heisman Trophy-winning tailback from Auburn.

"When you're a quarterback, completion percentage is really important," Nix said. "It's not at the end of the day the most important. I did turn the ball over twice. That's the thing I was most sick about."

If it wasn't for his 6-foot-2 frame, Nix would have the look of an equipment manager. Oregon held him in check for most of the game. The Ducks were up 14-6 at halftime, but it should have been more like 24-3.

Camden Lewis missed a chip-shot 20-yard field goal. Jeremy Holland's 81-yard punt return to the Auburn 8 was negated on the next play when quarterback Justin Herbert fumbled.

Oregon coach Mario Cristobal left himself open for plenty of second-guessing. He burned two timeouts after Herbert was temporarily knocked out of the game. The Ducks were out of timeouts after Herbert tried to reenter. (Herbert had to sit out one play after leaving with an injury.)

On the next play, C.J. Verdell was stopped cold by the Tigers' defensive line on a fourth-and-1 at the Auburn 41. That essentially ended a gutty effort by Oregon.

Cristobal got his Ducks alone in a room before he got his ducks in a row.

Saturday's clash against Auburn, he told them during preparation, is not about saving the Pac-12's reputation. It was about restoring that of Oregon.

You might remember the Ducks from earlier this decade that went 46-7 under Chip Kelly and advanced to College Football Playoff National Championship under Mark Helfrich.

You might also have forgotten them after that.

Oregon forced a lot of folks to pay attention again. The biggest game of Week 1 might not be the most impactful -- hello, Tennessee and Florida State -- but it did prove the Ducks are worthy of being in the national picture.

They did it without five -- count 'em, five – wide receivers out with injuries. The Pac-12's highest-ranked team not only lost, but gosh darn it, it blew it.

Nix was more than glad to take it.

"He has some savviness to him, there is no doubt," Malzahn said. "When the game is on the line, you've got to make plays. But when the game is on the line, he found a way to win the game."