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Like father, like brother, like son: Eli Manning establishing his own legend

By By Will Bardwell / staff writer
Oct. 20, 2003
OXFORD If Ole Miss quarterback Eli Manning wanted to avoid comparisons to his family members, it is one of the few things he has failed to accomplish.
Arriving in Oxford in the fall of 1999, the fifth-year senior was determined to keep a low profile and stay out of the shadow of his father, Ole Miss legend Archie Manning, and brother, Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning.
In the unlikely event he still held those aspirations this season, the Rebels' 43-28 win over Alabama on Saturday surely dashed those hopes forever.
The parallels between the careers of Archie and his youngest son are striking. Both have enjoyed time as Ole Miss' all-time leading passer Eli currently enjoys the distinction with 8,646 yards, and Archie's 4,753 yards was the school's high water mark for nearly a decade.
Both Mannings also went 2-1 against Alabama in their careers, and both Mannings beat the Crimson Tide in their sophomore and senior seasons.
Even Peyton enjoyed success against Alabama while he was quarterback at Tennessee, tallying three wins in four opportunities.
Eli has also been able to rely on older brother Peyton, whose offensive coordinator at Tennessee was current Ole Miss head coach David Cutcliffe. The youngest Manning often uses lessons learned from his brother sometimes even calling upon lessons learned indirectly, as he did Saturday while watching Alabama chip away at their deficit in the fourth quarter.
Manning. "That was scaring me. I don't get relaxed anymore after that."
The major difference between Eli and his prominent family members has been a supportive running game or, in the Ole Miss senior's case, a lack thereof. Last year, while Manning became the first quarterback in school history to throw for over 3,000 yards in a season, the Rebels' running backs earned only 1,226 yards the lowest total in the conference.
This year the Rebels, now 5-2 overall, have been one of the SEC's top rushing teams. In Saturday's win over Alabama, Ole Miss had 216 yards on the ground to surpass last year's total after only seven games.