Winning drive seals Marshall's status
by Brandon Miller
bmiller@annistonstar.com
Sep 14, 2013 | 1899 views |  0 comments | 21 21 recommendations | email to a friend | print
AUBURN – Nick Marshall’s legendary status emerged Saturday night.

Although it was only the junior’s third start at Auburn, Marshall made everything happen in his Southeastern Conference debut and then some, leading the Tigers to a 24-20 win.

His biggest moment came on a game-winning drive that began with 1:56 left on the clock.

The drive ended with Marshall hitting wideout C.J. Uzomah for the 11-yard game-winner, but it wasn't easy for Auburn and Marshall leading up to the score.

“The defense stepped up big for us,” Marshall said. “I told the defense don’t worry about anything and just get us one more stop and I just put us in the end zone.”

The Tigers started with the ball on their own 12-yard line, but after Marshall rushed once Auburn had it at the 18. On the following play Marshall hit wideout Marcus Davis for 7 yards and followed by connecting with Davis again to get Auburn to the 41.

As fate would have it, the quarterback found Davis for the third consecutive play, this time for 7 yards, before Marshall hit Jaylen Denson to place the ball on the Mississippi State 36.

The consistency continued.

Marshall completed to Davis — again — for 9 yards before the quarterback ran for two yards, getting out of bounds to stop the clock with 27 seconds left.

“I saw a guy who is getting more comfortable with our offense,” wide receiver Quan Bray said. “We work on (our two-minute offense) every day. It’s big because we are a no-huddle offense, all about tempo and he went out there and executed.”

After completing five consecutive passes for 55 yards, Marshall’s next two passes were incomplete, one missing Sammie Coates and Davis dropping the other.

It put Auburn in a third-and-10 situation, which didn’t get better when the pocket collapsed, but Marshall found a seam up the middle and sprinted to the left sideline, gaining 11 yards before getting out of bounds to stop the clock.

“I mean, it was just another drive,” center Reese Dismukes said. “We worked at it a lot through camp and every week and it paid off tonight.”

After Tre Mason rushed for 3 yards to move the ball into the middle of the field, Auburn would take a timeout with 15 seconds remaining. Marshall would have a shot at the end zone, and if it was unsuccessful, Cody Parkey would have a chip shot to tie the game.

But Marshall made the biggest play of the game.

The quarterback took the snap and panned toward the right sideline and found Uzomah in the middle of the end zone. Marshall threw a tight spiral to where only the wideout could catch it, which he did with three steps in bounds.

“It was unbelievable,” Uzomah said. “I caught the ball, looked up and saw everyone on their feet and I could not hear one thing. Everyone was jumping on me, but I could not hear one thing. All I could hear was the 80,000 fans roaring.”

Although the win included Marshall’s first two interceptions as a Tiger, it also included 339 yards on 23-of-34 passing.

The win sealed something longer than Marshall’s time at Auburn — the Tigers’ 10-game SEC losing streak. After 686 days, Auburn is back in the conference win column, and it has Marshall to Uzomah to thank.
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