5 Auburn Tigers to Watch vs. Kansas State

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Sep 6, 2014; Auburn, AL, USA; Auburn Tigers quarterback Nick Marshall (14) runs the ball past San Jose State Spartans defensive tackle Tony Popovich (98) for a touchdown during the third quarter at Jordan Hare Stadium. The Tigers defeated the Spartans 59-13. Mandatory Credit: Shanna Lockwood-USA TODAY Sports

#14 Nick Marshall, 6-foot-1, 210 pounds, Senior Quarterback

Auburn quarterback Nick Marshall has gotten some heat for his passing performance last week against San Jose State. We heard a lot over the course of the off-season about Marshall’s improved passing, but the senior has not shown it just yet.

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Last Saturday, Marshall attempted 19 passes in just over three quarters, and he completed ten of them for 101 yards and a touchdown. In Week 1 against Arkansas, the senior quarterback attempted only six passes, largely due to sitting out the first two quarters of the game.

According to Auburn’s official stats, Marshall has only a 119.94 passing efficiency rating. Last season, Marshall finished with a 144.04 passing efficiency rating. It’s early, but through the first two games of 2014, Marshall’s off-season practice and preparation has not translated to the passing stat sheet.

Of course, one of the great things about Nick Marshall is his dual threat ability. Over the first two weeks of the season, Marhsall has gained 122 rushing yards with two touchdowns. Last week, Marshall passed the century mark against the Spartans and finished with 102 rushing yards.

However, he has even shown some inconsistency in the running game. Nearly half of Marshall’s yards against SJSU game on a 49-yard run in the first quarter. He was inches from the end zone when Spartans’ defensive back Jimmy Pruitt knocked the football away and forced a turnover.

Nick Marshall is still the best quarterback in the SEC, and he is a legitimate Heisman Trophy candidate. He will improve his passing numbers, and should become more consistent overall. Against K-State this Thursday, that’s what fans will be watching for.