Archie Manning Looking Forward To Sugar Bowl

Legendary Archie Manning, who played in the Sugar Bowl for Ole Miss in 1970, is looking forward to Oklahoma State and Ole Miss facing each other in Sugar Bowl.

It's been 70 years since Oklahoma State, then Oklahoma A&M, was in New Orleans to play in the Sugar Bowl as Bob Fenimore led the Aggies to a 33-13 win over St. Mary's of California. But it may surprise you that Ole Miss hasn't been to the Sugar Bowl since 1970 and in that 27-22 upset win by the Rebels over third-ranked Arkansas, native son and all-around football icon Archie Manning was the MVP of the game with 313 yards of total offense.

"We were supposed to be good that season but we started out slow," Manning said by phone today from snowy Denver where he and his wife Olivia were visiting son and NFL quarterbacking standout Peyton Manning and his family. "We lost of couple of close games early but then we rallied and kept improving and got into the Sugar Bowl with a 7-3 record.

"That was a really good Arkansas team we played," Manning continued. "They had played Texas in that historic game earlier and lost. They had a great quarterback in Bill Montgomery and a receiver in Chuck Dicus. They were a really good football team and we were fortunate to beat them."

It is a really fond memory for Manning as that came at the end of his junior season and the Archie Manning fanaticism was really cranking up as Manning had a unique flair and dual talent at quarterback that wasn't seen as much then as it is now in the sport. Ole Miss won that 1970 Sugar Bowl with Manning running for and throwing for a touchdown, and little did he know at the time that the Sugar Bowl and New Orleans would become so important to him. 

"Of course I was drafted by the Saints and we've lived in New Orleans for 45 years and Olivia and I have always thought, hoped, that Ole Miss would be back in the Sugar Bowl in our lifetime," he said. "We are really excited for Ole Miss and Oklahoma State to be playing in the game. Of course, I still remember that Cotton Bowl that Was Eli's last game at Ole Miss. Half the stadium was orange and half was red and it was such a perfect, crisp day for football."

Eli Manning, Archie and Olivia's youngest son and a two-time NFL Super Bowl winning quarterback for the New York Giants, led Ole Miss back that day for a 31-28 win over Josh Fields and Rashaun Woods and the Cowboys. Ole Miss and Oklahoma State also met in the Cotton Bowl in 2010 with the Rebels winning 21-7.

"I have a lot of respect for Mike Gundy and what Mike has done with that Oklahoma State program," Manning said. "I had a speaking engagement in Stillwater at OSU and my good friend Gunnar Brewer introduced me to Mike. I wanted to see the football office and meet the coaches. Mike has really done a tremendous job there and we have had both their quarterbacks there at our Manning Passing Academy (in the summer). We had J.W. Walsh a couple of years ago and last summer we had Mason Rudolph. They are both talented young men."

Manning said he has served on the Sugar Bowl committee for 35 years and he is really pleased to have this match-up. 

"We have a good city that people seem to like visiting and I think we're going to have a good game and a good time," Manning added. "We are looking forward to it. Two teams that I think are really happy to be there."

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