If I gave you some hope with some of today’s posts, let Matt Hinton spread a little gloom.
But he’s not doing too shabby in the passing department, either.
Still, within the context of a system that always strives to set up the pass with the run, Marshall is probably underappreciated as a passer: In conference games this year, he’s the most efficient passer in the SEC, ahead of Dak Prescott, Blake Sims, et al. His arm strength is above average — 50-yard bomb to Sammie Coates is a weekly staple of the offense, regardless of the coverage — and Marshall is capable of fitting passes into tight windows if necessary. Most frustrating for opposing defenses, though, is Marshall’s ability to extend plays under pressure, keep his head, and find something downfield where initially there was nothing. The play below, an ad-libbed, third-and-11 conversion at Ole Miss on November 1, was the turning point in a must-win game that Auburn trailed by 10 points in the second half.
I think we’d all agree Ole Miss sports a better defense than Georgia does.
If you really want to get depressed, here’s a tough stat: Nick Marshall’s passer ratings over the last three games are 192.68, 186.07 and 174.74. Auburn may have struggled in all three games, but it sure wasn’t because of Marshall’s passing.
If you’re looking for a straw to grasp, the one game this season in which he struggled throwing the ball was against Mississippi State, when the Tigers got down early, scrambled to stay in the game and had Marshall attempt 35 passes. That’s not something Malzahn wants to do Saturday night, obviously. Again, Mike Bobo, your defense could use your help.