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Player profile / Eli Manning

Some college players get plenty of attention, even if it is not yet deserved.

Eli Manning is a case in point.

The Mississippi quarterback is a redshirt freshman who backs up Rebels starter Romaro Miller.

But he is also the brother of former Tennessee and current Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning. And he is the son of Archie Manning, the most popular and famous quarterback in Ole Miss history.

"I've probably gotten more recognition for a redshirt freshman than I should have," Eli Manning said. "I haven't done anything and people are saying I should be starting, which they have no right to be saying."

It would appear not.

Miller seems to be doing a fine job. He has thrown for 4,299 yards and 25 touchdowns in his three-year career, including 1,999 yards and 14 touchdowns last season. He is a senior, and Manning knows his place. There will be plenty of time.

If there were any lingering doubts, Miller should have erased them last Saturday in a 49-20 victory over Tulane. He completed 18 of 26 passes for 302 yards and three touchdowns.

Manning completed 1 of 5 attempts for 5 yards.

LONG MEMORIES

Gary Nord is the first-year coach at Texas El-Paso, which lost to Oklahoma 55-14 in the season opener. Sooners fans loved it.

Five years ago, Nord was a member of Howard Schnellenberger's staff at OU and accompanied Sooners assistants on a tour of the state. Nord made several unkind comments about life in rural Oklahoma to an out-of-state reporter.

Those comments, of course, were not forgotten last week. Nord, who has also coached with Schnellenberger at Louisville, said, "I thought the damn Kentucky people were hicks, but these people win hands down. I should have taken a dentist with me. I didn't see a full set of teeth the whole time I was on the road. Rednecks."

Oklahoma president David Boren, a former U.S. senator from the state, was so angry that he publicly blasted Nord. The UTEP coach said he still receives clacking teeth from irate OU fans. Nord said his wife, Kathy, calls their season at OU as "the nightmare in Norman. That kind of explains what we went through. We changed our phone number about three different times while we were there."

No wonder.

RUNNING IT UP: Ohio State coach John Cooper drew the ire of ESPN analyst Lee Corso last Saturday when OSU third-team quarterback Scott McMullen completed a 44-yard touchdown pass with the Buckeyes leading Fresno State 37-10 at the end of the game.

Corso termed it "embarrassing" and said Cooper "should never have done that" at such a point in the game.

Cooper didn't appear too concerned.

"I usually don't watch him, but I was watching this time," Cooper said of Corso. "He has to make those kinds of comments, I guess. It doesn't bother me. He has his job to do and I have my job to do.

"That was the only play a bunch of those guys played for us. It was going to be the last play of the game, and it was Scotty's only snap at quarterback. We could have fallen on the ball, run an off-tackle play or thrown one up. We decided to throw one up."

Fresno State had just scored its only touchdown after calling a timeout with nine seconds left, then on-side kicked, only to have the Buckeyes recover.

"The timeout they took was okay," Cooper said. "But that's the first time I've ever seen anyone on-side kick when they're getting beat by 30 or 40 points."

QUOTABLE

"They did not get free shoes. I think it's important to understand that. They went to a discount store and bought shoes at a discount."

_ BARRY ALVAREZ

Wisconsin coach on the 26 players on his team who were suspended one to four games for taking discounted shoes at The Shoe Box in Black Earth, Wis.

Games of the Week

NO. 1 NEBRASKA AT NO. 23 NOTRE DAME: Nobody expects the Irish to win this one, but they could provide a good road test for the Cornhuskers. 1:30 p.m., Ch. 8.

NO. 4 MIAMI AT NO. 15 WASHINGTON: The Hurricanes won't truly be back until they win games like this. 3:30 p.m., Ch. 28.

OREGON AT NO. 5 WISCONSIN: The Badgers were in for a battle before the massive player suspensions. 3:30 p.m., Pay-Per-View.

AUBURN AT NO. 19 MISSISSIPPI: Auburn coach Tommy Tuberville returns to Oxford for one of several tough SEC West games. 7 p.m., ESPN2.

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