The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

Sports

November 7, 2013

No. 1 'Bama, No. 10 LSU QBs in old-school showdown

— TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) — Zach Mettenberger and AJ McCarron typically only run as a last resort and much prefer throwing passes the old-fashioned way.

From the pocket. After calling the play in a huddle.

No. 1 Alabama's McCarron and No. 10 LSU's Mettenberger are the increasingly rare pure drop-back passers these days in the Southeastern Conference, which doesn't make their matchup in Saturday night's game any less compelling.

Their styles might be college football throwbacks, but they sure can throw.

Mettenberger and McCarron are two of the SEC's three most efficient passers and had quite a duel in last year's game won by 'Bama on a last-minute touchdown pass to T.J. Yeldon.

Mettenberger has the rifle arm. McCarron has the two national titles as starter and a 33-2 career mark for Alabama (8-0, 5-0 SEC) that gives him the highest winning percentage among SEC quarterbacks with 30-plus starts.

"He's a winner. You can't deny that," Mettenberger said. "That's just point blank. He's lost two games in two years, won two national championships, and is undefeated this year. So I think the guy just prepares very hard each week and goes out there and performs well, week in and week out."

Mettenberger has been putting up bigger numbers for the Tigers. He's behind only Texas A&M's Johnny Manziel in passing yards and efficiency, throwing for 2,492 yards and 19 touchdowns against seven interceptions.

However, five of those picks came in the past two games for LSU (7-2, 3-2), including a loss to Mississippi.

Mettenberger passed for 298 yards against the Tide last season.

"He played fantastic against us last year, I think, the whole game," Alabama coach Nick Saban said. "He made some great throws. He stood in the pocket and got whacked a couple of times and still made very, very good throws when we pressured, and he completed the ball."

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