AUBURN, Ala. — Nick Marshall looked well on his way to finishing with 100-plus yards rushing for the third straight game.
But he never got the chance.
Auburn's junior quarterback was sacked on a second-down play less than a minute into the second quarter of Saturday night's game against Florida Atlantic. Marshall stayed down on the field and was looked at by trainers, but jogged off the field under his own power.
Marshall then headed into the team locker room, appearing to favor his right shoulder. He later returned to the sideline, but did not reenter the contest, which the Tigers went on to win 45-10.
Auburn later announced that he suffered a shoulder injury and kept him out of the game as a precautionary move.
According to Jeremy Johnson, the injury actually didn't occur on the sack in the second quarter. Instead, it happened "way before that," though Marshall's backup didn't offer any further details.
Following the game, Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn had no update on Marshall's condition.
However, he noted he was pleased his starting quarterback's demeanor once he came out of the locker room.
"He was just encouraging Jeremy," Malzahn said. "He was excited for Jeremy making plays and had a smile on his face."
And Marshall's backing of Johnson was well-warranted. One play after Marshall's injury occurred, his backup came in and threw a 36-yard touchdown pass to Sammie Coates to push their lead to 28-0 (following Cody Parkey's extra-point) with 13:55 remaining in the first half.
The Montgomery, Ala., native connected with Coates on one more scoring strike before the first half ended, hitting the sophomore receiver on a 67-yard pass with 3:10 to go.
Johnson said that little tidbit earned Marshall's praise.
"He told me, ‘You already threw two touchdowns?’" Johnson recalled. "I was like, ‘Yeah.’ He was like, ‘That’s good. Just keep leading.’"
At the time of his departure, Marshall had led the Tigers on three scoring drives, taking one in himself, scoring on a 10-yard run at the 6:54 mark of the opening period.
The Georgia native finished with 81 rushing yards on six carries. His 81 yards led all players in the first half. Marshall attempted only one pass, which he completed to Marcus Davis for 10 yards late in the first quarter.