BY COLIN “BIG C” MACGUIRE
The Greenville Standard
This past Sunday, Archie Manning made another turn around the sun, turning seventy years old on May 19. Manning made his debut in the world, in Drew, Miss. in 1949.
Archie played football, basketball and baseball and was very good in all three. Archie’s problem was he was very thin. Because of that, he suffered several injuries in football. Before his senior year, Archie was only able to play in 12 games, winning only one.
His senior year in football at Drew High School, they finished 5-5. Archie was offered by three schools to play football, Ole Miss, Mississippi State and Tulane. Archie averaged almost 30 points a game in basketball.
Mississippi State wanted him, big time. Joe Dan Gold, the head coach at the time, was at a game watching Archie and he did not play well. Archie told the coach, he was gonna play football.
In baseball, Archie started on varsity in the seventh grade. Archie was drafted by the Atlanta Braves his senior year in high school. Archie played baseball at Ole Miss.
Archie started all three years at Ole Miss at Quarterback. Archie was very fast. He ran 100 yards in 10.2 seconds. His junior year (1969) was his best year. He led Ole Miss to an 8-3 record.
The Rebels lost to Kentucky 10-9 and Alabama 33-32 on national television. Entering the LSU game, Ole Miss was 3-3; LSU was 6-0 and ranked in the top ten.
Entering the fourth quarter, LSU was ahead 23-12. Archie scored two touchdowns and a two point conversion to win 26-23. This game was on national television from Jackson Miss.
Ole Miss finished the season at 9-1. Two weeks later, they faced Tennessee who was ranked number three and a touchdown favorite.
Tennessee linebacker Steve Kiner made some very unfavorable comments about Archie and Ole Miss from the previous year’s game, which Tennessee won 31-0. The game was played in Jackson on Nov. 15. The Rebels were ready; they steamed rolled Tennessee by the score of 38-0. This was the game where linebacker Jack Reynolds got his nickname “Hacksaw”. After the game, he was so upset; he sawed an old car in half with a hacksaw.
Ole Miss was invited to the Sugar Bowl. The opponent was Arkansas. The Razorbacks were ranked number three. Their only loss was to eventual National Champion Texas by the score of 15–14.
Ole Miss jumped out to 24-6 lead and held on to a 27-22 win. Manning was named MVP of the 1970 Sugar Bowl. Archie and Ole Miss had very high expectations for the 1970 season.
They did not meet them, going 7-4. Preseason, they were number three. Coach Vaught had a heart attack, which he survived, and then Archie broke his arm against Houston, which did not help.
Archie played the last two games in a cast. Ole Miss lost the last three games in a row. Coach Vaught retired for health reasons.
Archie Manning was the best college football quarterback ever in my opinion. Johnny Manzell was similar to Archie. If Manning played in a hurry up no huddle offense, they would have had to outlaw it.
Happy Birthday Archie Manning have many more.