Nov. 17, 2013
Auburn's Nick Marshall leads the way to one of his two touchdowns against Georgia (Kyle Taylor photo)
By Charles Goldberg
AUBURN, Ala. — Nick Marshall, the former Georgia defensive back and current Auburn quarterback, said all along he wouldn’t be phased by playing his former team Saturday.
He didn’t seem to be, throwing the game-winning touchdown to Ricardo Louis with 25 seconds left, via a bounce off a Georgia defender, to lead Auburn to a thrilling 43-38 victory Saturday night in Jordan-Hare Stadium.
The coaches predicted Marshall wouldn’t be bothered by playing his former school. They were apparently right.
"It was just another opponent we were waiting on," Marshall said. "I really didn’t pay much attention to it."
Marshall played 13 games at defensive back for Georgia in 2011, left the Bulldogs, went to junior college and resurfaced in the SEC this fall as Auburn’s quarterback.
Marshall finished hitting 15-of-26 passes for 229 yards and the touchdown. He also completed consecutive passes of 18, 17, 3 and 17 yards to set up a Corey Grant 21-yard touchdown run in the first quarter. He completed a 20-yard pass to Sammie Coates and a 44-yard pass to Louis on another drive that he finished off with a 5-yard touchdown run. That went nicely with his 6-yard touchdown run earlier.
Before he was throwing it long to Louis, Marshall rushed 19 times for 89 yards.
"He has the ‘it’ factor. He’s a special player," said coach Gus Malzahn. "If something great will happen like that, and he has the same expression on his face, if something doesn’t happen, the expression doesn’t change in his face. He is even-keel.”"
Still, he had to throw it for Auburn to win it.
"Same way he is in the huddle every play, he doesn’t change," Malzahn said. "The moment doesn’t change him."
Malzahn, despite repeated questions last week, didn’t seem to get caught up in the Marshall-playing-Georgia thing. If anything, it was offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee who “probably” talked to Marshall about it during the week.
"In practice," Malzahn said, "Coach Lashlee has done a great job with our guys. He focuses on the last play in games. It really goes back to our players and finding a way."
And that’s what Nick Marshall did.
Charles Goldberg is a Senior Writer at AuburnTigers..com. Follow him on Twitter: Follow @AUGoldMine