Oct. 27, 2013
Auburn's Jeremy Johnson goes deep against Florida Atlantic (Todd Van Emst photo)
By Charles Goldberg
AUBURN, Ala. — Jeremy Johnson hadn't played. Not a snap. But when called upon, when Nick Marshall went down with an injury, Jeremy Johnson did one of the things he does best.
He threw long.
Johnson threw a 36-yard touchdown pass to Sammie Coates on his first play and threw a 67-yard touchdown on his seventh pass in Saturday's 45-10 win over Florida Atlantic.
"We work on shots every day at practice," Johnson said.
Gus Malzahn didn't play him in the first five games. He started Game 6, threw two passes in Game 7 and came in to play in the middle part of the game Saturday night.
"Coach Malzahn always tells me to prepare as a starter, stayed focused as a starter, so really, that's all I did throughout the week and throughout the game. I just came in and executed," Johnson said.
Johnson has played in three games, two in relief of an injured Marshall. He's done quite well, having hit 27 of 39 passes for 393 yards and six touchdowns in limited duty. Marshall is the starter, though his availability for next Saturday's game at Arkansas is in question after suffering a shoulder injury against Florida Atlantic.
"If my number is called, I'll be ready," Johnson said.
Marshall missed the Western Carolina game with a knee injury. Johnson stepped in threw four touchdown passes. He was 0-for-2 last week against Texas A&M. He was on course to play Saturday as Auburn built a quick, big lead, but his entry in the game was expedited when Marshall went down early in the second quarter. Johnson said he figured he might be called, even before Marshall came out.
"I kind of knew he was hurt, and I kept asking if he was all right," Johnson said. "Then once I saw him down, coach told me to starting warming up."
Johnson hit 10-of-16 passes for 192 yards and two touchdowns against the Owls. He said Marshall provided the encouragement on the sidelines.
"He was telling me 'good job' and to keep leading," Johnson said. "Coach Malzahn ran the plays I'm really good at."
Auburn ran at will with Marshall at quarterback, executing the zone-read for big yards.
"It's really not by forte," Johnson said. "I'm pretty much a downhill runner, but, if I have to do it to win, I'll just do it."
Coates' forte is big plays. He has 21 catches for 536 yards — averaging a whopping 25.5 yard sper catch. That leads the nation.
"I can show them I can still bring a lot to table," Coates said. "I think we've got a lot of playmakers on the team. We've got a lot of guys making big plays."
Video: Jeremy Johnson talks about Auburn's victory:
Charles Goldberg is a Senior Writer on AuburnTigers.com. Follow him on Twitter: