Mettenberger, Marshall follow similar career paths

The paths of LSU’s Zach Mettenberger and Auburn’s Nick Marshall

will finally intersect after following parallel treks.

Both quarterbacks started their careers at Georgia, got kicked

off the team and then headed to a Kansas junior college before

landing once again in the Southeastern Conference. Now,

Mettenberger will lead No. 6 LSU against Marshall and the visiting

Tigers Saturday night.

”I’ll definitely be interested to see what happens,” Georgia

quarterback Mark Richt said, adding he likes both ”very

much.”

Both Mettenberger and Marshall have been taking full advantage

of their second chances.

Mettenberger is leading a national title contender in his third

season at LSU and has been the SEC’s most efficient passer. He was

dismissed by the Bulldogs in April 2010 because of legal trouble

stemming from his treatment of a woman at a bar, and spent one

season at Butler Community College.

Nearly two years later, Marshall was booted for violating team

rules at Georgia, where he played cornerback as a freshman. He went

to Garden City for a season and quickly won Auburn’s starting

job.

Marshall is coming off his best game, a 339-yard effort against

Mississippi State that ended with him throwing the winning

touchdown pass to C.J. Uzomah with 10 seconds left.

”I believe in stories of redemption and stories of guys coming

back from making mistakes and all that kind of thing,” Richt said.

”I’d kind of like it to happen here at Georgia. Sometimes a guy

makes a mistake and you want him to turn it around at Georgia, but

sometimes it happens at other schools. I’m really happy for these

guys.”

He said before Marshall led Auburn’s final drive, he ”had a

feeling this guy’s going to start making some history at

Auburn.”

No Auburn quarterback had ever thrown for that many yards in his

SEC debut. Marshall has been a key component in Auburn’s 3-0 start

that already matches last season’s win total, and the dual-threat

quarterback just got his biggest confidence boost.

”Last week definitely helped, there’s no doubt,” Auburn coach

Gus Malzahn said. ”Each game you learn more about him, he learns

more about us. He gets more comfortable. We’ve got a big challenge

this week. This is the best defense that we’ve played against, on

the road, in a hostile environment. We’ve got to deal with the

elements and the noise and everything that goes with that.”

Marshall was not made available to the media this week.

The two quarterbacks have different styles and frames. The

6-foot-5, 230-pound Mettenberger is four inches taller and 30

pounds heavier than Marshall.

Mettenberger is a dropback passer while Marshall has had some

success as a scrambler after rushing for 1,000 yards at Garden

City.

The LSU quarterback has shown signs of being one of the SEC’s

best under new offensive coordinator Cam Cameron. His nine

touchdown passes rank as the most in LSU history through the first

three games of a season, and he has yet to be intercepted in 69

attempts.

Mettenberger’s five touchdown passes against UAB was a school

record. He said his father, Bernie, has always been in his corner

along the winding road to success.

”He says, `Glad to see it’s finally going your way,”’

Mettenberger said. ”Not everybody has instant success and I guess

I’m one of those guys. But it’s all about the next game. I was

successful in the first three games statistically. There’s a lot of

mistakes that I had, and coach Cam Cameron always says you’re only

as successful as your next game. I’ve got to be prepared for Auburn

now. I’m just focused.”

Marshall is still learning Malzahn’s system and has only posted

big numbers once in his first three games. However, his emergence

has been big for a program that has been in search of a quarterback

since another SEC-to-JUCO product, Cam Newton, left after leading

the Tigers to the 2010 national championship.

Malzahn said Marshall has maintained a good attitude.

The coaching staff ”told him what the job entails, not just

playing quarterback but everything else that goes with that, on and

off the field,” Malzahn said. ”He’s done everything we’ve asked

with a great attitude. Coach (Rhett) Lashlee’s coached him

extremely hard and been very demanding on him, and he’s responded

well.”

AP Sports Writer Brett Martel in Baton Rouge, La., contributed

to this report.