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Nick, Dak and a dual-threat Saturday for No. 2 Auburn
Oct. 10, 2014

Auburn's Robenson Therezie got to Dak Prescott last season in Jordan-Hare Stadium

By Charles Goldberg
AUBURN, Ala. -- They love Dak Prescott in Starkville, so much so he's the hottest name around, maybe in the SEC, maybe beyond that.
Mississippi State has devoted a page to its quarterback in its game notes, comparing him to Heisman Trophy winners Cam Newton, Johnny Manziel and Tim Tebow. The Mississippi State stats say he stands with them through the first five games of their Heisman Trophy seasons.
Auburn knows Cam Newton. Even Dak Prescott. He made his first start against the Tigers last season. Auburn, smartly, said all the right things about him this week, but, alas, the Tigers will try to knock him down Saturday. 
No. 2 Auburn plays No. 3 Mississippi State at 2:30 p.m. in Starkville in a game that will feature two of the best quarterbacks in the SEC in Prescott and Nick Marshall.
They have each played five games this season and have combined for 828 rushing yards, 1,937 passing yards and 31 touchdowns. Oh, and last Saturday, they accounted for nine touchdowns against nationally-ranked teams.
As far as Prescott versus Newton goes, Auburn coach Gus Malzahn said this:
"He's got some similarities. He's a big, physical guy. A lot of times in short yardage he'll find a way to get it," Malzahn said.
Defensive coordinator Ellis Johnson said Prescott is "as good a dual-threat quarterback as there is in America."
As far as Auburn pushing Marshall for the Heisman, he said "we'll let everything play out."
"It's awful early for everything," he said. "My experience is at the end of the year, the teams that are winning and their best players are in the mix. I think everybody saw that last year with Tre (Mason). We feel like Nick is one of the better quarterbacks in the country. He's been consistent with finding ways to win. I'm sure there are very few guys who can say the same."
Auburn didn't use a full-blown Heisman campaign when Newton won it. The Tigers created a webpage about him, but that was well into the season. Newton was the runaway winner.

Prescott's campaign may be impacted by Saturday, though helping or hurting a Heisman campaign isn't on Auburn's mind.
"Honestly, that's not something that we really talk about a lot, or as much as you might think," said defensive lineman Gabe Wright. "We enjoy the challenge. And like coach always says, this is why we came to the SEC. Ultimately that's why we came to Auburn, to play this big type of games."
Prescott surprised Auburn last year, with his 346 combined yards and two touchdowns, and the fact he started. Auburn had prepared for Tyler Russell. Still, the Tigers won 24-20 when Marshall threw the game-winning touchdown pass with 10 seconds left.
Prescott, Wright said, "puts a tremendous amount of pressure on you. He is a dual-threat quarterback and just saying that, I think that in itself already speaks volumes. Dual-threat means he can both run and pass. And he's mentally capable to run their offense now. I think he's more comfortable now."
That dual-threat thing is a concern, with Auburn facing Prescott, and State facing Marshall.
"When a guy is a dual-threat, that's just another thing that you have to watch for," Wright said. "The style of defense we play, we don't mind rushing four people and dropping back a couple of people. When you rush four, there's always that thing where the O-line has five then the quarterback makes six, so it's six against four in a sense. That in itself already puts us outnumbered, but there are different things we can do defensively, of course. Scheme it up. Spy a little bit. But we are an aggressive defense and we do like to get back there and get sacks."

Charles Goldberg is a Senior Writer at Follow him on Twitter:



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