Oct. 21, 2013
Auburn quarterback Nick Marshall shows the form that helped him win SEC honors (Todd Van Emst photo)
By Charles Goldberg
AUBURN, Ala. — Nick Marshall had a big task in front of him, considering the Heisman Trophy winner was on the other side of the field.
The Auburn quarterback didn't blink. Marshall threw for two touchdowns and ran for two more in helping Auburn beat Texas A&M 45-41 Saturday. Today, Marshall was named the SEC's offensive player of the week.
Marshall hit 11-of-23 passes for 236 yards and rushed 20 times for 100 yards. He had missed the previous game with a sore knee, but showed no ill effects in College Station. He engineered a 13-play drive in the closing minutes that won the game.
"I'm progressing every game. I'm just going to keep getting better at practice and let it carry over to the game," Marshall said Sunday.
Marshall led Auburn to scores on four of its last five series and the Tigers' 615 total yards were the third most in school history in an SEC game.
Marshall says his knee is feeling fine. Offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee says his quarterback is running the offense well, just like he did in Auburn's other wins.
"I think he's shown it now in a couple of games that were either tight or coming down to the last drive," Lashlee said. "He's just got a calmness about him. He knows how to win and whether it's throwing for over 300 against Mississippi State, or against Ole Miss and A&M doing more with his feet, he's not rattled.
"When something bad happens, like he misses a few throws in a row — which happened in the second quarter and stalled us a couple of times — or we fumble, he's done a good job of having a short memory and going forward and getting on to the next drive. His teammates believe in him, I know he believes in them and that's been a positive for us. I felt like when the defense was about to give up that score to put us down by three late, it looked like they were going to score. Our guys are on the sideline, Nick being one of them, they were very confident."
The Heisman Trophy winner on the other side? Texas A&M's Johnny Manziel passed for 454 yards and four touchdowns and ran for another.
Auburn's Tre Mason had a noteworthy performance, too, rushing for 178 yards and the game-winning touchdown.
Auburn is 6-1 overall and 3-1 in the SEC heading to Saturday's home game against Florida Atlantic.
"The challenge is we're going to keep getting better every day," Marshall said. "We'll just focus on our base things and go from there."
Another Auburn quarterback, Jeremy Johnson, won an SEC award last week when he was named the league's top freshman after throwing four touchdown passes against Western Carolina.
Other SEC weekly winners were Missouri's Michael Sam, the defensive player of the week; Tennessee kicker Michael Palardy, special teams player of the week; Missouri quarterback Maty Mauk, freshman of the week; Vandy's Wesley Johnson, the offensive lineman of the week; and Ole Miss' Cameron Whigman, the defensive lineman of the week.
Charles Goldberg is a Senior Writer at AuburnTigers.com. Follow him on Twitter: Follow @AUGoldMine