AUBURN, Ala. Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn met with media members following his team's victory Saturday night at Jordan-Hare Stadium, which saw the Tigers come out on top of the Ole Miss Rebels 30-22.
Malzahn praised both Nick Marshall's rushing performance and the defense's play in the final quarter.
See the full transcript of his postgame interview session below (edited for clarity), and check out the full video at the bottom of this article.
Obviously this was a very big win against a good team on our home field. I am very proud of our defense, especially in the fourth quarter. We had a long run. We turned the ball over. They held them, and got the ball back for us. I thought that was a huge key. Also punting the ball down there on the 1-yard line, I thought was a big key to the game. The crowd was unbelievable. The crowd really helped us win this game. There were some mistakes made during the game, but overall, were happy to have the victory. The big sacks were critical, getting back there and putting pressure on the quarterback. And we beat a good team."
On Nick Marshall:
I thought he helped us win the game, and helped us win the game with his feet. He showed a lot of toughness, and made a big throw to Tre Mason down there in the third quarter that led to a touchdown. He did what it took to help us win.
On Nick Marshalls running ability:
I think he is really talented with the read-option. That puts a lot of pressure on defenses when we can execute it. There was some pretty good blocking at the point of attack and on a lot of those runs, too.
On Carl Lawsons play:
Carl is starting to grow up, and really put a lot of pressure on the quarterback. They've got a lot of weapons offensively and their quarterback is a veteran guy. They have a lot of skill guys who can run, and Im very happy with our defense.
On the defensive linemen:
I think its very important. I think its one of our strengths that we play a lot of guys, and there were some big plays when we needed it in the fourth quarter. Putting pressure on the quarterback, that was huge.
On Cassanova McKinzys injury:
He was on the sideline afterwards. Ill find out a little bit more, but its a good sign that he was up walking around and cheering. It was scary when you go out there and a players having trouble moving. Thats a scary deal.
On Anthony Swain:
He did a good job. He stepped up when Cassanova went down, and did a very good job. (He) played with a lot of confidence and made some good open-field tackles.
On the teams progression and Nick Marshalls running:
We knew he had very good running skills. Its just a matter of him feeling more comfortable with our read-zones and the things that we do. He made some very good decisions today on the read-zones. ... I dont think there was a whole lot of bad decisions in the read game, and I think that week off helped him, too.
On Robenson Therezie's "pick-six" interception:
It was really huge. That was a momentum play. It put us up by another score and it kind of gave us a chance to catch our breath and they were playing catch-up from then on.
On Ole Miss going for it on the fourth down and Auburn slowing down the offense in the fourth quarter:
(Ole Miss) Coach (Hugh) Freeze is a very good coach and he is very aggressive, and thats the way he does things. Hes been very successful. We had the lead and our defense was playing well. We didnt want to take a chance and turn the ball over. ... I got a little conservative when we were winning. We came up a little short on a couple of those things, but our defense was playing good, and you just get a feel for the game. Sometimes you're a little more aggressive and sometimes you're not.
On the defense improving:
Theres no doubt that they got better, from when we played LSU to here. We played against an explosive offense and Im very proud of them.
On friendship with Hugh Freeze:
I've got a lot of respect for Hugh. Hes one of the best in the business. His team is one of the up-and-coming teams. Hes done a great job with their program. I just told him good luck. Hes a good friend of mine. Im glad that game is over.
On beating a ranked team:
We talked about getting better each week. We knew we were going to have to play better than we did against LSU to have a chance to beat them, and we did. There were some mistakes that we can still improve (on), a few turnovers we have to correct. But our defense picked us up right there, and we beat a good team.
On Montravius Adams' and Jeff Whitakers injuries:
(Adams) could have had a chance to come back in, but other guys were playing well. I don't think there's a whole lot to it. Hopefully well know something more this week.
On the passing game:
Tonight when we were playing with tempo, we were playing better. When we got the lead, we kind of slowed things down, and were not at our best when were slowing things down, but that was the right thing to do. Well continue to work on that.
On Marshalls efficiency:
I think on those three drives, we actually got some first downs. We were playing fast, and thats who we are. We've got to do a better job of that. Weve got to be more consistent getting first downs, especially in that third and fourth quarter."
On the future and bowl games:
Were taking it one game at a time. This was a huge win for us, against a top-25 team, at home. Were not looking ahead. Were going to the next game, and Im just proud of our guys. We talked about getting better each week, and I think we still have a chance to continue that.
On Tre Mason:
Tre had a good night for us, very big kickoff return right there in the fourth quarter. That kind of flipped the field, and that was definitely a momentum play.
On Tre Mason being the feature back:
We have a lot of trust in him, and of course, we like our other two backs, too. Corey did a solid job tonight, and Cameron did OK. Obviously the one fumble, we have to correct that.
On Jonathan Jones:
Jonathan Jones is a very talented player and defensive back. Chris Davis, we werent for sure he was even going to play, and he played very well. Hes one of our leaders when he is on the field, and it helps.
On Chris Davis in the third and fourth quarter:
You know, he hadnt played in three weeks. They were throwing the ball and guys were running deep. We were playing a lot of man right there, and its just a matter of making sure that hes fresh.