There will never be another Auburn player quite like Jay Prosch
"The Juggernaut" only touched the ball five times for Auburn in 2013. But the Tigers wouldn't have played for titles without him.
FB Jay Prosch (Auburn Athletics)
After hanging on to win a wild season opener against Washington State, the 2013 Auburn Tigers hosted Arkansas State in a game with some unusual quirks.
Gus Malzahn was coaching against the team he just left. The man who would later replace him at Auburn, Bryan Harsin, was his replacement at Arkansas State.
The game was shown on Fox Sports’ regional networks, which is an extremely outdated sentence. (This was the final year before the start of the SEC Network.)
Arkansas State took two 15-yard penalties at the start of each half due to a uniform violation. The officials determined that the Red Wolves didn’t have enough contrast on their dark grey jerseys with red numbers, so Auburn’s first play came from near midfield — while Arkansas State opened the third quarter at its own 12-yard line.
The game itself went mostly according to plan. Nick Marshall looked better through the air in his second start, but Auburn mostly did its damage on the ground with 301 rushing yards and three touchdowns. Auburn’s defense was at its bend-don’t-break best, allowing 422 total yards but zero touchdowns. The Tigers stopped the Red Wolves on third down three different times and forced a turnover in their own territory.
But the weirdest quirk about Auburn’s 38-9 win over Arkansas State in 2013 might be the identity of the Tigers’ leader in receptions that night. No, it wasn’t Sammie Coates, who had a 68-yard touchdown in the game. It wasn’t current Auburn receivers coach Marcus Davis, who caught his first career score on the opening drive.
It was Jay Prosch.
Prosch would catch only five passes all season. Three of them came in this game against Arkansas State, and he turned them into 31 yards. He would later catch an 8-yard touchdown pass against Western Carolina and a famous 56-yarder in an upset win over Texas A&M that truly put the 2013 Tigers on the map.
Those were the only five times Prosch touched the ball on offense during the 2013 season. (He also returned two short kickoffs.) But he would still be one of the Tigers’ most valuable players during their run to the SEC title and the final BCS National Championship Game.
In the Arkansas State game, he was on the field for 56 of Auburn’s 69 offensive snaps. He only ran a handful of routes and never got a carry in a heavily rotating backfield. And Auburn wouldn’t have been nearly as successful as it was on offense that night — or the entire season — without him.
“If Jay wasn't out there, everybody would notice,” former Auburn offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee said before the national title game.
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