Auburn Football: Players of the Game vs Kansas State

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Sep 18, 2014; Manhattan, KS, USA; Auburn Tigers quarterback Nick Marshall (14) drops back to pass during a 20-14 win against the Kansas State Wildcats at Bill Snyder Family Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Scott Sewell-USA TODAY Sports

Nick Marshall

Things didn’t start that well for Nick Marshall on Thursday. Auburn’s senior starting quarterback completed his very first pass of the game – a 15-yarder to Duke Williams, but could not connect on the next three, and completed just six of 14 pass attempts in the first half.

Early in the second quarter, Marshall set up to throw, but his pass was batted into the air and into the outstretched arms of Kansas State senior linebacker Dakorey Johnson, giving Marshall his first interception of the season. At that point, the quarterback was 3-for-8 passing with 29 yards and the pick.

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  • Marshall and the Tigers’ passing game would recover though. He found Ricardo Louis on a 40-yard touchdown pass late in the second quarter to give Auburn a 10-7 lead, and then hit D’haquille Williams in the end zone in the fourth to put the lead out of reach. The senior completed 15 of his final 23 passes for 202 yards and two touchdowns.

    More important than the stats he had Thursday is the confidence in Marshall shown by the Auburn football coaching staff. After averaging 330 rushing yards through the first two games of the season, Auburn finished with less than half of that against the Wildcats. Instead, the Tigers turned to the passing attack to pick up yardage throughout the game – and at the most important time.

    Nick Marshall’s 31st pass of the night came on a 3rd-and-9 at the Auburn 37-yard line. There was 2:06 on the clock and the Tigers desperately needed to convert to keep the ball away from Kansas State to preserve a six-point lead. Malzahn called a pass play, and Marshall completed it to Duke Williams to seal the victory.

    “It’s kinda one of those deals,” Malzahn said following the game. “You run the football you take away 40 seconds and give them a chance to win the game, or you can go ahead and win the game yourself.”

    “It’s why our guys believe in him, why they follow him,” offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee added about Marshall. “He’s able to lead in clutch situations and the moments are never too big for him. It doesn’t matter if he’s played great all game or struggled somewhere in between. When the game is on the line, he comes through for us.”