ATHENS, Ga. – Not so long ago, they were raw freshmen who were wearing red and black and battling each other for the same prize: Starting quarterback of the Georgia Bulldogs.
Aaron Murray and Zach Mettenberger wound up taking different paths.
Murray has guided Georgia back to prominence and became the most prolific passer in school history.
Mettenberger ran into legal troubles, left Athens in disgrace and wound up as the starter for Southeastern Conference rival Louisiana State.
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On Saturday, the former teammates will go against each other for the first time when No. 9 Georgia (2-1 overall, 1-0 SEC) hosts the No. 6 Tigers (4-0, 1-0).
The game is especially significant for Mettenberger, considering he grew up not far from Athens dreaming of playing for the Bulldogs, only to get kicked off the team after he pleaded guilty to sexual battery for an incident at a bar.
Murray remembers battling with Mettenberger when both were contending for the starting job during spring practice in 2010.
“It really pushed both of us to become better quarterbacks,” Murray said.
USC bid fails
LOS ANGELES – The NCAA turned down USC’s request for possible relief from sanctions that have been imposed on the program since 2010.
Athletic director Pat Haden had said USC felt compelled to discuss the sanctions after the NCAA’s decision to lessen the scholarship reductions Penn State got after the Jerry Sandusky scandal.
The NCAA sanctioned USC after it was found former standout Reggie Bush received improper benefits.
The program’s scholarship limit was reduced from 85 to 75. Next season is the last the Trojans will have to play with the 75-scholarship limit.
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The settlement leaves the NCAA as the lone defendant in the suit.