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Nick Marshall Has the ‘It’ Factor – When the game’s on the line… He Delivers!

By on November 20th, 2013 in Football 9 Comments »

                                                                                                                                              photo: Julie Bennett
“Nick Marshall is the kind of quarterback you need to sign when you’re trying to turn a program around.” Those words were spoken last February by Garden City (Kansas) College Football Coach, Jeff Tatum when Marshall signed with Auburn University. Now nine months later, the Tigers are sitting at 10-1, looking at a chance at a Divisional Championship and Tatum’s testimony has proven prophetic.

This despite how some pundits and even some Auburn fans opined on message boards during the season that Nick might not be the better of two quarterbacks on campus.

Yet with Nick at the helm, the Tigers have returned to the national college football discussion. There are a lot of reasons for the Renaissance, beginning with Gus Malzahn and his excellent staff. However, from a personnel standpoint no player has had a bigger impact on Auburn’s turn around than Marshall.

Being an impact player has been what Nick has done at all levels. He holds the Georgia High School Association record for career touchdown passes (103). And during his one year at Garden City, Nick scored 37 touchdowns (19 passing and 18 running) accounting for more than 4,000 yards in 11 games.

With a proven eye for quarterback talent, Malzahn knew he had a diamond all along. When Marshall inked his commitment papers, Gus said, “He’s a great athlete … one of those impact players. We feel like he could come in here and give us a chance right off the bat.”

And what an impact he has had. Averaging 37 points a game, Auburn has the No. 3-ranked rushing offense in the nation. With Nick’s league leading 823 yards rushing (6.7 avg.) for a quarterback, he is currently outrunning last year’s Heisman winner Johnny Manziel. In addition, he has passed for 1530 yards and nine scores with five picks.

He thrust himself in to the Heisman top 10 (at No.9) after he completed 11-of-23 passes for 236 yards and two touchdowns and ran for 100 yards and two touchdowns in the Tigers 45-41 win over Manziel and Texas A&M.

When some starting talking about his lack of passing in the two games before Georgia, Nick responded by completing 15 of 26 passes for 230 yards and one 73 yard game-winning touchdown pass to go with 88 yards rushing and two TD’s against the Bulldogs.

While not in the top tier of Heisman candidates this year, he could start next year off in the top three if he has good games against Alabama and in the postseason. Yet, no matter what happens next week in the Iron Bowl – to have come out of no where this season to make the top 10 Heisman list is nothing short of phenomenal.

He’s definitely what folks call a playmaker. His ability to simply make plays at the quarterback position has been the difference this year for the Tigers. After engineering Auburn’s third comeback win last Saturday, Malzahn told reporters that his quarterback has the “It” factor; or that intrinsic something that sets special players apart from the crowd.”You start talking about the best player in the country,”Gus said,  “I think he should be in the conversation.”

That “It” factor has been responsible as much as anything for the epic turn around season the Tigers have experienced. Marshall’s ability to run the read option and pass when necessary has the Tigers currently as the No.2 team in the SEC and poised to face the No.1 team in an Iron Bowl showdown.

Many don’t give the Tigers much of a chance against the defending national champions. But that’s okay, no one gave the Tigers much of a chance to win 10 games at the beginning of the season either.  

No doubt the assignment is a tall mountain to climb, but if we’ve learned anything about this Auburn season, it’s been that when the game is on the line …

Nick Marshall delivers!     


  1. Third Generation Tiger Third Generation Tiger says:

    I have a feeling that Gus is always going to have 2 or more really good QBs on the roster. Jeremy Johnson isn’t the same kind of player as Marshall, but he will be special in his own way. 2014 four star QB committ Sean White looking very impressive also. Now, if he can just get the defense to turn the corner!

    • AubTigerman AubTigerman says:

      “Gus is always going to have 2 or more really good QBs on the roster. Jeremy Johnson …will be special in his own way.”.

  2. War Eagle Girl War Eagle Girl says:

    We Comin’

  3. CapnVegetto says:

    No disrespect to Marshall, but I’d like to know where the hell Tre Mason is in the Heisman conversation. I think he deserves it more, but that’s just me.

    No knocking Marshall, he’s been great, but Mason has been better IMO.

    • Tiger on the mountain Tiger on the mountain says:

      Um, did you just go all positive about our QB and other members of our offense? I think I need to sit down…….

  4. Eagle1 says:

    If Nick can stay healthy throughout the next two or three games, and next season also, he might just be remembered along with some of the other great Auburn quarterbacks, and that’s walking in some pretty high cotton. Also, anyone that does not think Auburn can beat Alabama did not watch the Miss. St. game last Saturday. Alabama does have some weakness on defense and if anyone can get to them, it should be Gus and Co. If Johnson can get Auburn’s defense where it needs to be, the Tide might just roll out Jordon Hare Stadium with a loss and hating us even more and the feeling would be mutual!

  5. DothanTiger DothanTiger says:

    Good write up. The whole team and coaches are to be praised for this years success but Marshall is the key. Take him out and I think Auburn may not have won a couple of the games. Glad he chose Auburn. War Eagle and beat bama!

  6. KoolBell KoolBell says:

    Very nice article, ATM!

    Marshall is truly the key to this read option working properly. Tre Mason is the killer, when the teams we face get gassed. Mason has proven he can run thru , or around just about anybody in the country.

    The two of them are too much for most defenses to handle in the running game. Add to that Marshall is coming around as a passer, and that makes him MUCH more difficult to defend.

    Last Saturday, Gary Danielson was heaping praise on Gus and his offensive genius. He stated that the AU run game was 5 basic plays, but cleverly disguised with tons of options and movement.

  7. sparkey sparkey says:

    I’m not sure I agree. I’ve not been a believer in Marshall all season. He’s gotten lucky a few times and against LSU he looked flat out lost during the first half. I think we need JJ to be our starter next season. If he is, we win the whole thing. If it’s Nick again, I think we’re still too one dimensional.

    There were a few plays that Nick blew against Georgia and when Louis ran into Mason that’s completely on Nick. You can’t have that sort of thing. There are not always tips in the air and a strongly concentrating receiver to bail you out every time like that. I’d rather us had taken the lumps and had JJ going strong next season.