He made plays with his arm.
Above all else, he won. Nick Marshall, who signed with Auburn in February amid sky-high expectations, proved why that was the case Saturday night. The junior quarterback led the Tigers on an 88-yard drive with fewer than two minutes to play to beat Mississippi State 24-20.
Marshall's game-winning drive overshadowed the spectacular play of his counterpart, Dak Prescott, who gave the Tigers' defense trouble all night.
No play captured the Tigers' inability to stop Prescott better than the biggest moment of the game. With five minutes on the clock and no timeouts remaining inside of his own 30-yard line, Mississippi State head coach Dan Mullen elected to roll the dice and go for it on fourth-and-one.
Three plays later, however, Auburn was able to force the punt it needed to set the stage for Marshall's heroics.
The win did more than keep Auburn's unblemished record (3-0, 2-0) alive. first of the season. It avenged the Tigers' loss to the Bulldogs last season, and snapped what had been a 10-game losing streak Southeastern Conference foe.
It was a game that started out as well as the Tigers could have hoped. After receiving the opening kickoff, the Tigers marched down the field quickly, with five plays of nine or more yards. However, Auburn got bogged down once it got close to the end zone, settling for a 40-yard field goal from Cody Parkey.
The Tigers made up for it on their next drive -- in style.
Marshall connected with Quan Bray on a 76-yard touchdown to put Auburn ahead 10-0. The play was a career-long for Marshall, eclipsing the 68-yard score to Sammie Coates versus Arkansas State. And it was Bray's first touchdown as a Tiger as well.
Auburn didn't stop there, as it once again converted for two points, with Ryan White lofting a pass to a leaping Brandon Fulse in the back of the end zone to push the lead to 11-0 at the 4:54 mark of the first quarter.
On the next possession, however, Prescott began to assert himself. He led the Bulldogs (1-2, 0-1) on a 13-play, 73-yard drive, which ended on a 14-yard run by Jameon Lewis. Parkey knocked in another field goal while Prescott scored his first rushing touchdown of the game before the end of the half, which saw the Tigers take a 14-13 advantage into the locker room.
The third quarter looked like it might provide a continuation of the up-tempo opening half. Mississippi State took the initial possession of the half and wasted no time putting it in the end zone, embarking on a six-play, 75-yard drive. And it was another opportunity for Prescott to show off his skill set, as he accounted for every yard on the drive, between his running (58 yards) and passing. He ended the drive with the ball in his hands, punching it in from the 2-yard line. After the ensuing point-after, the Bulldogs had their first lead, 20-14, with 12:38 to go in the third period.
Auburn fired back on the next possession, with Parkey knocking in his third field goal, this one from 47 yards out to cut Mississippi State's lead in half.
The rest of the quarter devolved into a punting contest -- two by the Bulldogs, one by the Tigers -- aside from a fumble by Tre Mason, which Mississippi State couldn't turn into points.