Don’t call Auburn quarterback Nick Marshall “one-dimensional.” The dual-threat star who made more plays with his legs than his arm says he’s plenty capable of throwing the football:
“When plays break down, I’m just able to make plays with my legs. But I keep my eyes down the field…
(The one-dimensional talk) motivates me a lot. A lot of teams don’t think we can throw the ball.”
The one-dimensional label can be traced back to two things. First, Gus Malzahn calls a helluva lot of run plays. Marshall only attempted 212 passes on the season. (For comparison, Johnny Manziel and Bo Wallace both through 390+ passes.) Marshall ran the ball a whopping 156 times for 1,023 yards.
Second, the judo-transfer admits that he’s improved as he’s learned the offense. ”The first part of the season, I was jittery, it wasn’t something I was used to on this stage. As I got more into the offense, playing in the games, I got more confident.”
Sure enough, Marshall completed more than 60% of his passes just once in Auburn’s first four games (coming through when needed in a 24-20 win over Mississippi State). Against Arkansas (eight) and Tennessee (seven), Marshall threw just 15 passes total. He ran the ball 23 times in those two Tiger wins.
But down the stretch against Georgia, Alabama and Missouri, Marshall completed 35-of-53 passes (66.0%) for 458 yards, four touchdowns and no interceptions. He’s also shown a penchant for being clutch. Marshall’s passer rating in games’ first halves was 128.4. In second halves he improved to 159.3.
Marshall still can’t be called a passer first by any means. But if Florida State is expecting to see a one-dimensional QB in the BCS Championship Game, they need to think again. Auburn’s junior quarterback has gotten better as the year has gone on. When called upon to sling it, he’s been able to do so effectively enough to land the Tigers in Pasadena.