Cool Nick Marshall delivers Auburn's dramatic victory

 
Auburn
 
1st
2nd
3rd
4th
F
 Mississippi State
6
7
7
0
20
 Auburn
11
3
3
7
24
Mississippi State
 
 
 Quick Stats
AU
MSU
 First Downs
22
19
 Rushing Yards
120
202
 Passing Yards
339
213
 Total Yards
459
415
 Total Plays
70
68
 Fumbles-Lost
4-1
1-0
 Penalties-Yards
1-5
5-33
 Interceptions-Yards
0-0
2-42
 3rd Down Conversions
7-15
5-15
 4th Down Conversions
0-0
2-2
 Field Goals
3-3
0-1
 Time of Possession
25:37
34:23

 Stat Leaders
 Passing
C-Att
Yds
TD
Int
 AU - Marshall
23-34
339
2
2
 MSU - Prescott
15-28
213
0
0
 Rushing
Car
Yds
TD
Long
 AU - Grant
8
44
0
12
 MSU - Prescott
22
133
2
47
 Receiving
Rec
Yds
TD
Long
 AU - Bray
3
80
0
34
 MSU - Johnson
4
84
0
61

 AUHD Video
 Video Highlights: Auburn 24, Miss. State 20
 Video Post-Game: Head Coach Gus Malzahn
 Video Verizon Locker Room Report
 Video Post-Game: TE CJ Uzomah
 Video Post-Game: QB Nick Marshall
 Video Post-Game DE Dee Ford
 Video Post-Game: OL Reese Dismukes
 Video Post-Game: WR Marcus Davis
 
 
By Charles Goldberg
AuburnTigers.com
 
AUBURN, Ala. -- It was full-blown dramatics, yet quarterback Nick Marshall made it all sound so simple.
 
"The coaches told me to go out and be cool, calm and collected, and don't risk anything. I took his word and all I had to do was execute."
 
Marshall was cool, calm and collected, all right, and all he did was execute... in a most-exciting way. He threw an 11-yard game-winning touchdown pass to C.J. Uzomah with 10 seconds remaining to lead Auburn past Mississippi State 24-20 in front of a suddenly-roaring crowd in Jordan-Hare Stadium on Saturday night.
 
Marshall, in his third game at Auburn, hit 6-of-8 passes in the final drive that covered 88 yards in 11 plays in less than two minutes.
 
Marshall more than doubled his stats from the first two games, completing 23-of-34 passes for 339 yards and two touchdowns.
 
"We're learning him as he goes. He's a calm guy," said Auburn coach Gus Malzahn.
 
Auburn improved to 3-0 overall and 1-0 in the SEC, snapping a 10-game conference losing streak in the process. Mississippi State fell to 1-2 overall and 0-1 in the league.
 
Malzahn was asked if such a win would give his offense confidence.
 
"I think it does something for our whole team," he said.
 
It wasn't an easy win, though. The Tigers struggled offensively in the second, third and most of the fourth quarter. The defense had to rally to stop backup quarterback Dak Prescott, who rushed 22 times for 133 yards, though most of that came in the middle of the game. Mississippi State didn't score after grabbing a 20-14 lead after its first series of the second half.
 
"I'm just very proud of the defense. We had some big stops in the second half. Overall, it's just a great win," Malzahn said.
 
Malzahn said he had predicted the tough game.
 
"We talked before the game that it could come down to the end," Malzahn said. "A lot of these games with Mississippi State have come down to the end, and I said, 'Guys, we've got to find a way to win.'"
 
Auburn did, breaking away from a malaise that saw the Tigers go almost 50 minutes between touchdowns. That didn't matter, not after Marshall woke up the offense for one final drive.
 
"The offense sputtered at times in the second half, but they went 88 yards with a minute-56 on the clock. They found a way to get in the end zone," Malzahn said.
 
Auburn was racing the clock and State's defense at the end. They got to the 11 and had time to throw into the end zone one or two more times. Malzahn ordered up the pass to Uzomah, a play in which the tight end made a double move and came free racing to the back corner of the end zone.
 
"The double move down there at the end is something that they've worked on a lot. It was a big throw and a big catch," Malzahn said.
 
Malzahn picked just the right time with just enough seconds left to run it.
 
"You just try to think of scenarios in games, and 'what ifs'. If we do 'this,' and hit 'this' a few times, 'this' may be there. It was one of those things we felt like we had a chance to do. We just didn't know it would be with 11 seconds left."
 
Or 10.
 
"The great thing about our sideline is our guys really believe they're going to win and that's half the battle," Malzahn said. "There wasn't anybody panicking. We just said, 'Hey, lets go do this and I think that's a tribute to our team and Nick, too. He was able to put the mishaps behind him and lead us to victory. That's a sign of a very good quarterback."
 
It was a fun game early on, like when Auburn scored on its first drive, or when Marshall hit Quan Bray on a 76-yard TD pass and converted a two-point conversion to give Auburn a 11-0 lead with 4:54 left in the first quarter.
 
It was still fun when Marshall did one of the strangest things you'll see, by completing a pass to himself when he caught his deflected pass for a 37-yard gain.
 
Talk about padding your stats.
 
"I didn't know what to think about that," Malzahn said.
 
But things took a turn for the worse through the middle stages of the game.
 
Auburn and Marshall started fast. Auburn had 199 yards in the first quarter, 151 of which was from Marshall's 9-of-11 passing.
 
But things began to stall early in the second quarter. Auburn had only 18 yards in the second quarter and Marshall hit only 1-of-5 passes for four yards, though he had a couple of drops that hurt. He was 6-of-7 in the third quarter, but Auburn managed only Cody Parkey's third field goal of the game.
 
But that only set up the final-drive dramatics.
 
"We're a work in progress," Malzahn said, "but it's a good progress."
 
Charles Goldberg is a Senior Writer at AuburnTigers.com. Follow him on Twitter: