Terrace Marshall celebrated by holding his hands up high, signaling something only a few people understood.
“That’s my M2B,” Marshall said. “That’s my trademark. It means meant to be, and it’s all in god’s hands.”
The sophomore receiver caught his first touchdown pass since his junior year of high school in the second quarter of LSU's game against Georgia Southern on Saturday.
Then he caught two more touchdown passes, becoming the 11th player in LSU history to catch three touchdown passes in a game. Marshall joined the likes of Odell Beckham, Dwayne Bowe, Devery Henderson, Josh Reed and Wendell Davis as some of the notable Tigers to do so.
"It's amazing," said Marshall, who was the first player to catch three touchdowns in a game since Travin Dural did so against Sam Houston State in 2014. "It's just one game, and I'm looking forward to a great season and taking it one game at a time."
It might not have seemed possible on Sept. 8, 2017, when Marshall broke his left ankle in the second week of his senior season at Parkway High School in Bossier City, Louisiana.
The nation's No. 1 ranked wide receiver in the class of 2018 spent most of the next 18 months rehabbing and trying to get back to the same Terrace Marshall who terrorized defenses prior to his injury.
Marshall entered his first fall camp still feeling the effects of his injury, and what followed was inconsistent playing time and lack of confidence. He finished his freshman season with 12 catches for 192 yards in nine games played.
But Marshall said he focused on picking himself up throughout his freshman year, and after working through his full recovery, Marshall finally felt like he was back to his normal self this spring.
He says he's exploding off the ball more and getting out breaks faster than he was last year, and he attributes a lot of his improvement to former LSU passing game coordinator Jerry Sullivan.
"Around here, everyone is always motivating you get better," Marshall said. "You always have to get better in practice, off the field, everybody is going to get you better.
"But mostly I would say just self-motivation. Just reminding myself it's not the end and tough times don't last forever."
Marshall finally reached the light at the end of the tunnel, and what was at the end of it was special. Marshall dreamed about catching his first career touchdown pass in Tiger Stadium. He wanted to catch a short pass and run through the defense as he took it the distance because it’s easy to catch a go-route for six – it’s not easy to make the SportsCenter Top 10 on Saturday nights.
And even though none of his three touchdown catches were SportsCenter Top 10 worthy, they all count the same on the scoreboard. Marshall caught all three touchdowns in the second quarter and finished with four catches for 31 yards in his sophomore debut.
It was a special moment for Marshall, who waited for almost three years to score another touchdown, and he celebrated with senior quarterback Joe Burrow immediately afterward.
“I was so happy for him because he get didn’t any touchdowns last season, so I was kind of looking for him tonight,” said Burrow, who threw a school-record five touchdowns. “I was looking for him on the first one, but then the play call ended up going to him on the other two so I was happy for him.”
Junior wide receiver Justin Jefferson said the team began to joke with Burrow on the sidelines that he couldn’t throw the ball to Marshall anymore, but he was happy for Marshall to have the night he did after his struggles in 2018.
With his freshman season in the window, Marshall has blinders on. So much so he can barely remember the ups and downs of his first year in the Purple and Gold.
"Last season was a blur to me. Now that I look at it, it was a blur,” Marshall said.
"This season I've got new beginnings. That's how I look at it."