AUBURN | Just about every time Kam Martin carries the football, good things happen for No. 13 Auburn.
The sophomore is actually the Tigers’ leading rusher despite receiving carries in only two of four games.
“It is a possibility, there's no doubt,” said Gus Malzahn of Martin being a bigger part of the game plan. “Like I've said before, him not getting the carries as much wasn't a sign of the coaches not having confidence in him. But he will definitely be a part moving forward, and he should be.”
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Martin rushed for 136 yards and a touchdown on 16 carries in the opener but didn’t receive a carry in the next two games against Clemson and Mercer. Saturday at Missouri, Martin gained 74 yards on nine carries.
His 210 rushing yards and 9.1 yards per carry average is tops among Auburn running backs. His 61-yard run against GSU is the Tigers’ longest play from scrimmage this season.
“Kam Martin’s got it done when he’s went out there,” Malzahn said. “He had the big explosive run where he cut it back across midfield (against Missouri), had a really good jump cut in a pace situation the play after that.
“He’s a guy that he performs at a high level when he’s in there. He gives us a little bit of a different dimension when he’s in there. His quickness, his explosiveness, and he runs bigger than he is. He broke a couple of tackles there that we were real impressed with too.”
How many opportunities Martin gets against No. 24 Mississippi State this Saturday remains to be seen. Malzahn is expecting his top two running backs, Kamryn Pettway and Kerryon Johnson, to be healthy and available to play.
“I've always said this: Kam has always been more than capable. He's a great running back,” Johnson said. “If he was at another place, he'd probably be playing a lot more. But he's a patient guy. Kam just loves to play football. So any chance he gets, he's going to go out there and give it his 100 percent. I think people are seeing that.
“To have a third guy like that and then have a fourth guy like Malik and then Devan Barrett comes in and gives us some plays... I mean, that's awesome, just to have that kind of depth so you're not struggling, so you're not panicked.”
Kickoff at Jordan-Hare Stadium is set for 5 p.m. CT on ESPN.