Ole Miss' Manning torches Murray St.

Sunday, September 2, 2001

OXFORD, Miss. -- Eli Manning was so good in his long-awaited first college start, he didn't need to finish.

The sophomore broke school records with 18 straight completions and five touchdown passes as Mississippi had its way with Murray State 49-14 Saturday night.

Manning, the youngest son of former Rebels great Archie Manning, was 20-of-23 for 271 yards against the overwhelmed Racers, earning a rest for the final 18 minutes.

By comparison, Archie Manning was 8-of-14 for 116 yards and two touchdown passes and ran for a touchdown in his debut in 1968 in a 21-7 victory over Memphis.

The last time Eli Manning started a game was 1998 for Isadore Newman High School in New Orleans. He threw two touchdown passes, but lost that playoff game to Riverside High. Relatively speaking, the competition was not nearly as tough Saturday night.

With his famous family in attendance, including big brother Peyton, whose season with the Indianapolis Colts doesn't begin until next Sunday, Manning was barely touched by the Division I-AA opponent.

But to his credit, he was right on target the with his tight spirals.

He broke the Ole Miss record for consecutive completions of 15 held by Ken Austin on a swing pass to Joe Gunn in the third quarter. Gunn dropped a similar swing pass soon after to halt the streak at 18, coincidentally his father's number at Ole Miss.

The NCAA record for consecutive completions is 24 by Tennessee's Tee Martin set over two games in 1998.

Murray State grabbed a 7-0 lead on a 6-yard run by Billy Blanchard five minutes into the game. But any thought of a massive upset was quashed when Manning got rolling.

He led four straight long touchdown drives in the first half, capping each with a scoring pass, three to Chris Collins.

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