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Auburn's unflappable Nick Marshall on big stage again
Nov. 25, 2014

Auburn's Nick Marshall will try to win the Iron Bowl again

By Charles Goldberg

AUBURN, Ala.  Nick Marshall has directed a half a dozen comeback wins and played for the national championship. A few recent bumps on the stat sheet hasn't changed a thing says his offensive coordinator.

Rhett Lashlee says his Auburn quarterback remains unflappable, and that will be a plus when Marshall tries to beat Alabama for the second straight season Saturday night in Tuscaloosa. He'll have at his disposal a more balanced offense that last year, and he'll have the SEC's leading rusher in Cameron Artis-Payne. He also hopes to have leading receiver Duke Williams, who has missed the last two games with a knee injury. 

Lashlee's opinion of Marshall has mirrored that of head coach Gus Malzahn for two years now: Nothing seems to rattle Marshall. Both coaches can point to a series of last-minute wins.

Don't forget, before there was a Chris Davis 109-yard return of an Alabama missed field goal that gave Auburn a 34-28 win, there was a Nick Marshall throwing a 39-yard touchdown pass to Sammie Coates with 32 seconds remaining that made it all possible. He's led Auburn to six fourth-quarter wins in 22 starts. He one of four SEC quarterbacks to ever rush for more than 1,000 yards in a season.

Auburn is 8-3. Alabama is 10-1. Auburn has a top-notch offense. Alabama's defense is one of the best around. Play ball, says Marshall.

"It will be a great game going to a big environment because it's the Iron Bowl," Marshall said.

Marshall is where he was last season: First on the team in passing, second on the team in rushing. He's thrown 15 touchdown passes. He's scored 11 via the run.  

Lashlee says Nick Marshall has performed well on the big stage.

"When the tough moments or the pressure moments come you usually see a little bit of a change in demeanor. As a coach, you wish they were all that way all the time, but it's also a great character trait he has that when things are tight or tough or when it's crunch time, he's usually at his best," Lashlee said. "It doesn't necessarily have to be the fourth quarter, maybe when you need a big drive or you need something. I've noticed there's times you can tell where he's locked in and if he calls for a play you need to call it because he feels pretty good about it."

Lashlee sees what others can't. He says Marshall played well enough at Georgia, despite a 34-7 loss; and said his quarterback was good against Samford, though his running stats were off in a 31-7 win.

"I thought he played hard and well against Georgia. Statistically, he didn't, but that wasn't all on him," Lashlee said. "Up to then, he's played well most games, too. Sometimes you're hot, and you get momentum that way. Sometimes you get in a little bit of a frustrating rut. It was good to see us break out of that in the middle of the second quarter (against Samford). But all you can do is stay the course, and he's done a good job of that.

"Our guys did what they needed to do to win. Now we're able to move forward. I'm not concerned at all. I feel good about where our guys are at."

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



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