Marshall takes advantage of opportunity

Bryan Matthews, Senior Editor
Auburn Sports

AUBURN | One former walk-on, Will Hastings, has developed into one of Auburn’s top wide receivers. Another, Gary Walker, has moved into a backup role at defensive tackle, playing in the last three games.

Now, a walk-on has taken the reins at punter. Aidan Marshall, who is also a true freshman, punted for the first time against Mississippi State Saturday.

“He has been practicing very well and the last two weeks he probably won the competition at practice. We just felt strongly to just give him an opportunity,” Auburn coach Gus Malzahn said.

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Todd Van Emst/Auburn athletics

Marshall, who is the son of a former Auburn track athlete, took full advantage of his opportunity with three punts for a 36.3 average in a 49-10 win over the Bulldogs.

Those number don’t tell the whole story. Two of those punts, a 35-yarder in the second quarter and a 27-yarder in the third were downed inside the MSU 15-yard line.

Marshall’s other punt was a 47-yarder that was fielded at the 18 and returned to the 23.

“I thought he played well,” Malzahn said. “I thought he had some good kicks. The moment wasn't too big. A lot of times you worry about that but he did a good job. I was impressed.”

Marshall got the opportunity after sophomore Ian Shannon struggled with inconsistency. He averaged 39.8 yards on 14 punts through the first four games.

No. 12 Auburn hosts Ole Miss Saturday at Jordan-Hare Stadium. Kickoff is scheduled for 11 a.m. CT on SEC Network.

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