Much of the reason why was the play of Marshall at quarterback. Looking like Nick Marshall for much of the game until an ejection late in the third quarter put an end to his day, he was all over the field for Leeds. Making plays with his arm and using his 4.6 speed to run for 77 yards on 11 carries, Marshall said for him and his teammates it was the perfect way to start off the season.
“We had been thinking about it ever since the state championship game,” Marshall said. “Two weeks later we were in the weight room. During summer workouts we were counting down the days. It was our first game and the biggest game of our season. Now we can just take them one game at a time.”
A standout at Auburn’s quarterback camp over the summer, the 6-0, 170 Marshall already has offers from Navy, Louisville, Cincinnati, Western Kentucky, South Alabama and several others as an athlete. While he has got the skills to play quarterback in the right system on the next level, Marshall pointed out for him the only goal is getting his shot to play.
“I have improved a lot,” Marshall said. “I have been going to a lot of camps just working on my craft. I have gotten faster too, just going to work with trainers.
“I think I have made the biggest jump with my passing,” he added. “From my freshman year to now I have improved my accuracy a lot. This summer was the biggest thing for me with that.”
Tre Nation is a physical back who can take over a game.
Not to be outdone was Nation. A bruising 5-11, 215 back, Nation ran for 148 yards on 26 carries and scored a pair of touchdowns as he took over the game in the second half with Marshall on the sidelines. He said being counted on so heavily is something they had been preparing for and he was glad to get his shot to be a key player in such a big game.
“It was real big,” Nation said. “We have actually practiced for something like that to happen. We would move me to quarterback kind of like a wildcat. We put two backs in the backfield and it worked out.
“It was really important for us,” he added. “We had been preparing all week and our coach (Keith Etheridge) told us to finish the game and play hard and depend on each other. My team really showed up and I showed up. We all fought together and won as a team.”
Already with 25 offers, mostly from smaller schools, Nation said Louisville and Cincinnati stand out to him early, but he is interested in several SEC schools including Auburn, Alabama, Mississippi State, Ole Miss, Tennessee and others.