AUBURN, Ala. — The following is a roundup of quotes from Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn's postgame press conference with reporters. Auburn beat Mississippi State 24-20 to snap a 10-game SEC losing streak on Saturday night.
“First of all I’d like to say how proud I am of our team. We talked before the game that it could come down to the end. A lot of these games against Mississippi State have come down to the end. I said, ‘Guys, we need to find a way to win’ and I’m very proud of the way they did that. Our offense sputtered at times in the second half, but they went 88 yards with 1:56 on the clock, found a way to get in the end zone. Very proud of our defense, had some big stops there in the second half. Overall, it’s just a great win and the crowd was awesome. The crowd helped us win that game, especially in the fourth quarter and it was really fun to be a part of it.”
On Nick Marshall:
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“He looked fairly natural there. I mean he was making all the reads, he was making good balls. I don’t know if he threw a bad ball on that drive and he led us down the field. That was huge.”
On Marshall at the end of the game:
“I tell you what, it sure worked out. I’m real proud of the way he responded. You know, he didn’t put the ball in jeopardy at the end, especially when we got in field goal range and we had a chance to at least tie the game. He protected the football, he managed the clock well. I thought our receivers did a solid job and the double move down there at the end was something that they worked on a lot. It was a big throw and big catch.”
On final drive:
“You just try to think about scenarios in games and the what ifs and if we do this and hit this a few times this may be there. That’s one of those things that we felt like we had a chance to do. Just didn’t know it was going to be with 11 seconds left.”
On Marcus Davis:
“Marcus is a guy that, he’s a freshman, but he’s not playing like a freshman. He’s really stepped up and you’ll see him on the field more.”
On the team:
“We have to get more consistent. You know we’re playing with a quarterback who has been on campus for six or seven weeks and he’s going to get better each time out. That’s what we talked about. I don’t want to sound like 'coach-speak' before the season, but our goal is to improve each practice and each game. I felt like we improved. We’ve got to get more consistent. You know we weren’t able to run the football as well as I’d like to, there’s no doubt about that, but give them credit, they’re a good team. We beat a good team tonight.
"I think it does something for our whole team. I mean, I think it gives you a shot in the arm. They know they can do it, and they found a way to do it at home. And I thought that was huge.”
On Nick Marshall's poise:
“You know, we’re learning him as he goes. He’s a calm guy, he doesn’t get to high or too low.”
On Marshall catching his own pass:
“I didn’t know what to think about that. I thought it was close to staying in bounds.”
On halftime adjustments
“That quarterback they have is running the football. And (defensive coordinator) Coach Ellis (Johnson) made really good adjustments in the second half. We got Kris Frost back, and that definitely helped, and they did a solid job in the second half.”
On Dee Ford and Justin Garrett back on the field:
"They were out there and they are both really good football players. We’ll have to watch the film to see how well they graded out. It’s the fact they were on the field and their leadership, and they’re play-making ability really helps.”
On good first quarter:
“Getting first downs, getting momentum, playing with a little bit of pace. It important to get off to a good start.”
On playing without Chris Davis:
“He just wasn’t ready to go. He’s a great competitor, one of our better players. And that’s another thing: one of our better players didn’t play. And we had other guys step up, and that’s a really good thing moving forward in the future.”
On the SEC losing streak
“Yeah, you know we did not talk about that one time. We just talked about this year. You know, a new start, a new beginning, a new day, and our guys really bought into it. Any time you win your first SEC game, it gives you great momentum, and I’m really proud of our guys, and the way they got that done tonight.”
On defense in the fourth quarter:
“The coaches made some adjustments, our guys responded, they stopped the quarterback run I believe in the fourth quarter pretty well. They’re a good offense. They’ve got some playmakers and their offensive line is a veteran group.”
On Dak Prescott:
“He’s a good quarterback, we knew that. I’m not going to say it caught us off-guard, but the fact that he played, you know in the first half, you kind of make adjustments, feel things out, what’s their plan. We got two games this year, and one they blew somebody out, so you figure it out in the first half and you make adjustments at halftime.”
On Nick Marshall on the final drive:
“I think we missed a guy that was pretty open on one, but he just came to the sideline. The great thing about our sideline is our guys really believe they’re going to win and that’s half the battle. There wasn’t anybody panicking. We just said 'Hey, let's go do this thing,' and I think that’s a tribute to our team and Nick, too. He was able to put the mishaps behind him and find a way to lead us to victory. That’s a sign of a very good quarterback.”
On comparing this team to the 2010 team:
“You know, that team was a special veteran group and we’re not anywhere close to being veteran. We’re still a work in progress, but it’s a good progress. I really like where we're at as a team. We’re going to have the chance to improve each game and I think our young guys will grow up and get better. I think we’ll have a chance to cut down on our mistakes further on in the season.”
On whether the pass to Uzomah would have been the final play before attempting a field goal:
"Uh, probably not."
On whether the the game-winning touchdown was designed for Uzomah:
"Yeah, it was."