The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

Sports

October 16, 2013

Malzahn: Marshall back for Auburn-Texas A&M game

— AUBURN, Ala. (AP) — Auburn quarterback Nick Marshall will start against No. 7 Texas A&M, but freshman Jeremy Johnson could also play a role in the offense.

Coach Gus Malzahn said Tuesday Marshall will return Saturday for the 24th-ranked Tigers, who climbed into the national rankings this week for the first since November 2011.

The junior college transfer sat out Auburn's easy win over Western Carolina to rest a knee he injured against Mississippi.

Malzahn said he's not concerned about Marshall being rusty at this point in the season.

"He was locked in during practice last week," the coach said. "He practiced Sunday and looked good. Got another week of practice. We're past the midway point. If it was early in the season, I'd be concerned but not too concerned now."

The Tigers also don't seem concerned about Marshall's knee.

Offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee said Marshall was probably 80 percent healthy for the Western Carolina game and could have played if needed.

"But it was just one of those deals that, if you can give him that extra week, it was good," Lashlee said, adding that Marshall looked back to normal for Sunday's short practice.

"I wouldn't have known there was anything wrong with him."

Johnson, who had appeared headed for a redshirt year, started in his first college action. He was 17-of-21 passing for 201 yards and four touchdowns against one interception in his debut to earn SEC freshman of the week honors.

Johnson tied current Auburn color analyst Stan White for the second-most TD passes by an Auburn quarterback making his first career start.

Center Reese Dismukes said there isn't much adjustment between the two quarterbacks, since both get plenty of snaps in practice.

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