Star Wars: Dansby Preparing To Match Wits With Eli

In a battle of All-American caliber players, seniors Karlos Dansby and Eli Manning will square off again this Saturday.

Auburn, Ala.--Karlos Dansby likes a challenge and the senior All-America candidate and his defensive teammates have a big one this week as high-scoring Ole Miss visits Jordan-Hare Stadium for one of the big games of the 2003 SEC season.

If Auburn is going to knock off the division-leading Rebels, Dansby will likely have a major role in his team's success. AU's leading tackler with 57 stops, including nine tackles for losses, four sacks and two caused fumbles, the six-foot-five, 235-pound linebacker has respect for the Ole Miss offense and its quarterback in particular.

"I just get excited playing Eli," Dansby says. "There is something about me and Eli. We kind of have a lot of respect for each other."

The two have matched wits on the football field in exciting games the last two years as Auburn held off late comebacks by the Rebels to win 27-21 and 31-24.

Karlos Dansby plays the game with passion. He and Manning are expected to be first round NFL draft picks next year.

"He is definitely the best quarterback I have had an opportunity to play against and I respect him," says Dansby, who got to know Manning personally this summer when the two spent time together at a photo shoot in Arizona for the Playboy All-American football team.

Manning leads the SEC in passing with 295.9 yards per game and has completed 62.8 percent of his passes for 2,663 yards. He has thrown 21 touchdown passes with eight interceptions. His pass efficiency rating is 150.2, second in the league to LSU's Matt Mauck (156.7).

Dansby notes that Manning has "great instincts" and a knack for finding the weak spots in a defense. "If you show him where you are coming from you are dead in the water," Dansby says. "He has shown that in the previous games. That is why they are 5-0 in the SEC right now. He gets in the right checks, makes the right calls and they execute well as an offensive team. They are looking good right now."

Auburn, which is 4-1 in the SEC, needs to stop the Ole Miss five-game winning streak to have a solid shot at going to the SEC Championship Game. Dansby says he sees Saturday's nationally televised game on CBS as a challenge and opportunity. "If we execute, I believe we will come out with a victory," he says.

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