Marshall led Auburn to a 4-1 start/Todd Van Emst photo
There will be no quarterback controversy at Auburn after true freshman Jeremy Johnson started and led the Tigers to a 62-3 woodshed beating of Western Carolina Saturday afternoon at Jordan-Hare Stadium.
“Well, Nick is our starting quarterback and that’s the bottom line,” Malzahn said. “At the same time, Jeremy will help this team win the rest of the season.”
Make no mistake about it, Johnson was good in his first college game completing 17-of-21 passes for 201 yards with four touchdowns and one interceptions.
But as good as Johnson was, WCU’s defense was just as bad. Auburn rolled up a school-record 712 total yards.
“I thought Jeremy did a solid job,” Malzahn said. “I think he made some good decisions early. The line protected him extremely well. He’s been playing very well in practice and that carried over today.”
Marshall injured his knee in a win over Ole Miss last Saturday. It was healthy enough for him to suit up and go through warmups against the Catamounts Saturday but Malzahn wants his starter to be as healthy as possible going into next Saturday’s game at No. 9 Texas A&M.
“We wanted to rest him and make sure he is 100 percent,” Malzahn said. “We’re hoping so. We’ll see where he’s at tomorrow and Tuesday in practice.”
Marshall started Auburn’s first five games completing 71-of-120 passes for 902 yards with four touchdowns and four interceptions. He’s also rushed for 288 yards and two touchdowns on 55 carries.
Malzahn didn't rule out using Johnson in certain packages when Marshall returns.
“I think we proved today that we have two very capable quarterbacks and I think that will do nothing but help us moving forward,” Malzahn said.
Sophomore Jonathan Wallace, who was listed as Auburn’s backup quarterback for the first five games, saw action in the second half against Western Carolina, attempting one pass, which was incomplete, and rushing for six yards on one carry.
“I think that’s how it was during the first part of the season, but as the season progressed Jeremy has gotten more reps in practice and the majority of the No. 2 reps,” Malzahn said.
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