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
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
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
He said before Marshall led Auburn’s final drive, he ”had a
feeling this guy’s going to start making some history at
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
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
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
AP Sports Writer Brett Martel in Baton Rouge, La., contributed
to this report.