Sep 2, 2013
Nick Marshall gets the win in his first game at Auburn (Anthony Hall photo)
By Charles Goldberg
AUBURN, Ala. — The new starting quarterback didn't have big numbers, but Nick Marshall did his job when it counted.
"Who cares how many yards you throw and how flashy it is. Did you win the game or not?"
Rhett Lashlee asked the question because knew the answer. Auburn's offensive coordinator says Marshall was effective enough in the Tigers' 31-24 win over Washington State in his first start as the Tigers' quarterback.
"For the most part, he didn’t have a lot of mental busts. I felt like he called the right plays and protections and things we needed him to do," Lashlee said. "He didn’t have a turnover. At the end of the day I tell him, the quarterback’s job is simple and it’s to win the game. A lot of that has to do with protecting the football.
"I thought he was very conservative with the football, which is good. As you can see, he opened up a little more in the second half and that’s where we’ve got to go as an offense with him and everybody. We have to open it up and make some plays now."
Lashlee will be looking for that against Arkansas State this Saturday in Jordan-Hare Stadium.
Marshall rebounded from a 2-for-8 passing in the first half to finish hitting 10-of-19 passes for 99 yards. The Tigers otherwise relied on their running game, which was clearly the game plan, and rode it for 297 yards.
"You could tell that he and our whole offense settled down. We completed some balls and he even made some plays with his feet that he hadn’t been making earlier," Lashlee said. "As a whole we had plenty of chances in that third quarter specifically, and even in the fourth quarter, to make some plays. That’s what we’ve got to do. We’ve got to have guys that are making plays in big moments."
Lashlee said some of Marshall's best plays were scrambles. "There were a couple of plays you could tell he just reacted and played and wasn’t maybe thinking too much."
Still, Auburn only scored 15 points with its offense. It had six first downs in the first half.
"We’re not really overall pleased because it’s not to our standards," Lashlee said. "I think we had five penalties. We turned the ball over at a point when the defense had made a big stop and we could put the game away. At the same time, I think the first quarter you could tell we were real jittery as a whole unit. You could just tell."
But, Lashlee said, "what our guys did do is never once did they panic."
"Never once did they get tight. We would score and they would take the lead. It was tight all through the second half even though we have a small lead. Our guys were pretty even keel. They didn’t act like the moment was too big. They found a way to win and at the end of the day you would rather win and have some things to correct than be on the other ends of things."
Video: Rhett Lashlee talks offense
Charles Goldberg is a Senior Writer at AuburnTigers.com. Follow him on Twitter: Follow @AUGoldMine