Nick Marshall to start for Auburn against Texas A&M

Nick Marshall will get the start after returning to practice Sunday. (USATSI)
Nick Marshall will get the start after returning to practice Sunday. (USATSI)

After a promising 5-1 start and a shiny new No. 24 ranking in the AP poll, Auburn isn't about to let a potential quarterback controversy throw the "Gus Bus" off course.

Gus Malzahn said Tuesday that Nick Marshall would return as the team's starting quarterback Saturday at Texas A&M (3:30 p.m. ET, CBS). The JUCO transfer led the Tigers to four wins in their first five games before sitting out his team's Week 7 blowout of FCS Western Carolina with a minor knee injury.

"He looked pretty good," Malzahn said of Marshall's performance in Sunday's practice, per ""Hopefully another day of rest [Monday], and he'll be looking good today."

Offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee said Marshall had been available as an emergency quarterback against the Catamounts.

But true freshman Jeremy Johnson got the start instead, completing 17-of-21 passes for 201 yards and four touchdowns. Johnson's strong performance -- combined with Malzahn's decision to burn the four-star signee's redshirt six games into the season -- fueled speculation he could get another start while Marshall recovered.

That won't happen, and Marshall -- a major part of an Auburn rushing attack that ranks fifth in the country in yards per-carry -- will now have a chance to test the Aggies' porous rush defense, which ranks 118th in yards per-carry allowed. With his redshirt gone, it's likely Auburn fans haven't seen the last of Johnson this season, but Malzahn's and Lashlee's certainy in their starter makes it seem equally likely that appearance won't come this week.

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