|Height: 6-6 | Weight: 265 | College: LSU|
Much like the Auburn staff did with Jason Campbell, LSU coaches patiently waited for Russell to develop. Their patience paid off in 2005, as Russell wrested the starting job away from Matt Flynn. Most experts now regard Russell as the most physically gifted quarterback to wear the LSU uniform.
The talented junior has what many believe is the strongest arm in college football. He can throw the ball the length of the field and put on an impressive performance prior to the 2006 Sugar Bowl -- while seated on the turf, he threw the ball 40 yards. Under the guidance of offensive coordinator Jimbo Fisher, Russell developed a keen understanding of the game and clock management. He went on to compile a 25-4 record as a starter, the third-best record by a starting quarterback in school history.
Russell and his favorite target, receiver Dwayne Bowe, combined to become the most prolific pass-catch scoring tandem in school history. The duo connected on 23 touchdowns. Russell leaves LSU as the school's second-ranked passer with a 61.86 completion percentage and 52 touchdown passes. He is just the third player in school history to throw for more than 6,000 yards in his career and the first to lead the team to at least 10 victories in consecutive seasons. Russell also proved to be a heroic passer; he rallied the team to eight victories after trailing in the fourth quarter or overtime.
Russell was regarded as one of the nation's top-rated quarterbacks while playing at Williamson High School. He was a consensus top-five ranked, pro-style quarterback by every major recruiting publication and was named to the prestigious Parade All-American team. In 2002, he was rated the fourth-best quarterback prospect in the country by College Football News, named Alabama's Mr. Football and Super Prep Dixie Offensive Player of the Year.
Russell was a member of Super Prep's All-American team, FSN South's Countdown to Signing Day "All-South" first-team, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution's Super Southern 100 and the Orlando Sentinel's All-Southern teams. The all-time leading passer in Alabama prep history, Russell threw for 10,744 yards during his career, eclipsing the record set by former Alabama and current Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Brodie Croyle.
The two-time Class 5A All-State selection also rewrote the state record books with 84 touchdown passes. He connected on 219 of 372 passes (58.9 percent) for 3,332 yards and 22 touchdowns as a senior, adding 400 yards and five rushing TDs in 2002. Russell passed for 1,850 yards and 17 touchdowns as a junior. Russell also excelled on the school's basketball team as a small forward, averaging around 15 points, 10 rebounds and four assists per game as a junior.
Russell enrolled at Louisiana State in 2003, spending the season on the scout team. He played in 11 games and shared quarterback duties with Marcus Randall in 2004, earning five starts. He completed 73 of 144 passes (50.7 percent) for 1,053 yards, nine touchdowns and four interceptions. But, despite his 4.7 speed, he was sacked 13 times and lost 41 yards on 26 carries, finishing with 1,012 yards in total offense.
Russell became the full-time starter for the Tigers in 2005 and led the team to a 10-2 record in the Tigers' first 12 games. He suffered a left shoulder separation and ligament damage in his right wrist vs. Georgia in the SEC Championship Game, forcing him to miss the Peach Bowl and 2005 spring practice after undergoing wrist surgery. His '05 season totals -- 188-of-311 attempts (60.5 percent) for 2,443 yards, 15 touchdowns and nine interceptions. He scored twice on 61 carries, but lost 22 yards, as he was sacked 21 times and lost four fumbles.
Russell changed his jersey number in 2006 -- he wore No. 4 during his first two seasons, but went to No. 2 as a junior. The first-team All-Southeastern Conference choice led the Tigers to an 11-3 record in his final campaign. He amassed 3,271 yards in total offense, gaining 3,129 passing yards with 28 touchdowns and only eight interceptions. He completed 232-of-342 (67.8 percent) passes and rushed for 142 yards and a score on 52 carries.
In 36 games at Louisiana State, Russell started 30 games and threw for 6,625 yards, 52 touchdowns and 21 interceptions. He completed 493-of-797 passes (61.9 percent) and rushed 139 times for 79 yards (0.6 yards per carry) with four scores. On 936 total plays, Russell piled up 6,704 yards in total offense, an average of 186.22 yards per game.
Positives: Has a well-built, strong and athletic frame with good overall muscle definition, long arms, large hands, high-cut with wide shoulders and thick thighs Has outstanding arm strength and size for his position Shows good overall foot quickness and agility to step out of the pocket and buy time for his receivers Has the lower body power to break tackles Demonstrates above average body control and balance driving back from center and shows good accuracy firing the ball up the seams Has a fluid throwing motion, much like the Colts' Peyton Manning Made good strides in recognizing protections and is capable of calling audibles Not the type who needs the glory and attention most quarterbacks relish Determined field leader with ice water running through his veins Will play through pain and does a great job of standing tall in the pocket Has good balance in his drop-back and generally moves in control, showing a nice rhythm while planting his feet through his delivery When he sits back and scans the field, he can pick apart the zones Makes right decisions on long throws, thanks to his raw power, but needs to vary the speed on his short throws, as his targets sometimes have a hard time fielding the ball cleanly (puts too much zip on the throws) His arm strength and fluid mechanics let him get the ball out quickly, once he sets his feet Shows no wasted motion and is consistently in good position to deliver the ball on time Has the strongest arm in football, at any level Can throw the ball the length of the field and put on an impressive show during Sugar Bowl practices, when he sat down on the ground and effortlessly flicked the ball out more than 40 yards Generates great velocity and ball speed firing up the seams and is an excellent prospect for a vertical passing game.
makes it easy for receivers to stay in stride when firing up the seam Effective throwing on the move and has the ability to consistently place the ball on the receiver's outside shoulder When working from a three-step technique, Russell shows very good timing and placement attacking the deep secondary, but must take some heat off his short throws Steps into his throws well, but also has more than enough arm strength to throw off the wrong foot Stands tall in the pocket and there is no panic in his game Will take shots and throw under duress, but just needs to check off his primary target quicker rather than try to buy time with his feet moving around the pocket Made great strides in maintaining his focus down field, even under heavy pressure Has enough movement skills to buy time in the backfield Earlier in his career, he would step back and fall away from his throws, but now is much more confident in his arm and ability to step up and find the throwing lanes You don't see Russell scramble much, but when he tucks the ball and runs with it, he has the size, strength and bulk to consistently break tackles Puts good velocity on his throws firing from the outside hashes and has a fluid release, whether throwing from the left or right side.
Negatives: At maximum growth potential and any more weight will affect his quickness His weight needs to be monitored, as he will lose some of his agility when he hits the 260-pound range Lacks the change of direction agility to make the initial tackler miss Has a good grasp of the passing game, but sometimes gets too confident in his arm strength and will try to force the ball into tight spots Quiet sort who seems to shy away from the media attention Shows good fluidity and quickness in his drive back from center, but is not a threat to run with the ball. ..Can buy time for his receivers when rolling out, but appears a little stiff in his hips when having to escape pocket pressure for too long Tends to get a bit impatient in the pocket and showed too much confidence in his arm strength, firing the ball right into coverage Will hold the ball too long waiting for his targets to get open, resulting in a sack or costly fumble Can make all the throws, but needs to take a little of his zip off his shorter area tosses Cool under pressure, but will get impatient at times and force the ball in tight areas Not the type who can get into the second level with his feet, as he is a little stiff in his hips changing direction.
Compares To: DAUNTE CULPEPPER, Miami Dolphins (UCF) Russell has a defensive lineman's build with quick feet for a player his size. He has one of the strongest arms in the game and showed better patience waiting for his targets to get open. He did a better job with his reads to improve his overall accuracy as a junior. He is a perfect prospect for a vertical passing attack. Unlike most big quarterbacks, he doesn't have a windmill-type release and can throw the ball almost the length of the field.
Since the 2000 season, the Tigers have rallied in the fourth quarter or in overtime to win 15 times. Russell produced eight of those comebacks, doing so vs. Oregon State in 2004 (scored TD with 1:05 left to force overtime and LSU won, 22-21); vs. Mississippi (scored TD with 10:51 in a 27-24 win); Arizona State (scored TD with 1:13 left in a 35-31 win); Florida (scored TD with 12:35 left in a 21-14 win); Auburn (led a drive resulting in a FG with 1:40 left to force OT in a 20-17 win); and Alabama (scored TD on third down in overtime win, 16-13) in 2005; and vs. Tennessee (scored TD with 9 seconds left W, 28-21) and Mississippi (scored TD with 14 seconds left to force OT W, 23-20) in 2006 Russell's 6,625 yards passing rank third on the school's career record list behind Tommy Hodson (9,115 yards; 1986-89) and Jeff Wickersham (6,921; 1982-85) His 493 pass completions rank third in school annals, topped by Hodson (674) and Wickersham (587) Russell's 797 pass attempts placed him fourth in school history behind Hodson (1,163), Wickersham (1,005) and Jamie Howard (934, 1992-95) His pass completion percentage of 61.9 was just shy of the LSU all-time record of 62.0 by Alan Risher (1980-82) Russell threw for 52 touchdowns during his career, topped only by Hodson's 69 on the school career record list Averaged 184.03 yards per game passing during his career, ranking behind Hodson (203.1), Josh Booty (197.5 ypg, 1999-2000) and Herb Tyler (184.8 ypg, 1995-98) in LSU annals The pitch-and-catch combination of Russell-to-Dwayne Bowe broke the school record for scoring tandems in a career, as the pair hooked up for 23 touchdowns to move past Hodson and Wendell Davis (21) for first place on the all-time LSU list With a 25-4 overall mark as the Tigers' starting quarterback, Russell moved into a third-place tie with Warren Rabb (25-7, 1957-59) for most victories by a signal caller. Hodson (1986-89) holds the school record by compiling a 31-14-1 mark, and Tyler (1995-98) compiled a 27-11 record as a starter Russell became only the second player in school history to throw for more than 3,000 yards in a season (3,129 in 2006), joining Rohan Davey (3,347 yards in 2001) His 2,443 yards passing in 2005 rank sixth on the Tigers' single-season record chart His 232 pass completions in 2006 set an LSU single-season record, topping the previous mark of 229 by Matt Mauck (2003) His 342 pass attempts in 2006 rank fourth in school history behind Davey (367 in 2001), Mauck (358 in 2003) and Wickersham (346 in 1985) Russell's pass completion percentage of 67.8 in 2006 topped the old LSU single-season record of 65.2 percent by Tyler (1995), and that completion percentage ranks second in Southeastern Conference season annals behind Tim Couch of Kentucky (72.3 percent on 400-of-553 attempts in 1998 His 28 touchdown passes in 2006 tied the school single-season record that was first set by Mauck (2003) Russell's average of 240.69 yards per game passing in 2006 rank second on the school's single-season record list, surpassed only by Davey (279.2 ypg, 2001).
All-American Dream Team third-team choice by The NFL Draft Report Semifinalist for the Davey O'Brien Award, given to the top quarterback in the nation Joined Tommy Hodson (1987) as the only quarterbacks in LSU history to be named first-team All-Southeastern Conference by the Associated Press and the league's coaches in the same season Changed uniform numbers from No. 4 to 2, the same number he wore during his prep career Started every game, becoming the first player in school history to guide the team to 10 or more victories in consecutive seasons (11-2 in 2006, 10-2 in 2005) Ranked fourth in the nation and led the SEC with a 167.03 passer-efficiency rating Ranked 15th nationally and second in the conference with an average of 251.62 yards per game of total offense Also finished second in the SEC in total passing yards and average passing yards per game (240.69) Set school records by completing 232-of-342 passes (67.8 percent), good for 3,129 yards, 28 touchdowns and only eight interceptions Rushed 52 times for 142 yards (2.7 yards per carry) and one score Gained 3,271 yards in total offense Turned the ball over four times on a career-high nine fumbles and was sacked 15 times for losses totaling 126 yards 131 of his pass completions resulted in first downs, as he helped the team convert 64-of-133 third-down plays 48 of his completions covered 20 yards or more, but he also had 30 of his pass attempts deflected by the opposition Earned SEC Player of the Week honors vs. Mississippi State, Kentucky and Tennessee Threw for over 300 yards in the Mississippi State and Notre Dame (Sugar Bowl) games.
|2006 Game Analysis|
Louisiana-Lafayette Russell showed little of the rust expected from a player coming off an injury from last season and playing in the first game of the season. He completed 13-of-17 passes for 253 yards and three touchdowns before giving way to back-up quarterback Matt Flynn in the third quarter Russell began the season's scoring with a 58-yard touch-down strike to Brandon LaFell early in the first quarter Midway through the second quarter, Russell completed 4-of-5 passes to four different receivers, the last being Early Doucet for a 16-yard touchdown. The eight-play, 82-yard drive ate up 4:08 and gave LSU a 21-3 lead The Tigers scored again with 54 seconds to play in the half when Russell found Dwayne Bowe open in the back of the north end zone on the seventh play of a 70-yard drive that featured 29 and 20-yard catches by Craig Davis Record Watch -- Russell moved into eighth-place on LSU's career touchdown passes list with his three scores. The junior's 26 scoring strikes in his career passed Y.A. Tittle, Josh Booty and Jeff Wickersham.
Arizona Russell performed more than adequately, but he wasn't flashy in completing 13-of-20 passes for 196 yards and two touchdowns to counter his first interception of the year. If not for Russell's interception at the Arizona 34-yard line late in the second quarter, the final score could have been more lopsided Jacob Hester grabbed a short pass from Russell on 2nd-and-goal and scored LSU's second touchdown in seconds Dwayne Bowe then hooked up with Russell, grabbing a 29-yard scoring pass in the third quarter.
Auburn The offense struggled in a 7-3 loss, as the Tigers QB hit on 20-of-35 attempts for 269 yards with six completions for 20 yards or longer, but managed to be successful on only 4-of-13 third-down plays Russell threw a strike for 37 yards to Early Doucet that gave LSU new life. Three plays later, LSU was forced into a fourth-&-8 situation after the three rushes went for two yards. Russell's pass to Doucet inside the 5-yard line was battled away (had five passes deflected during the game) Russell was asked to evaluate his performance and said, "I think I did a good job. Toward the end I just could have made quicker decisions. Auburn has a good defense. You can't take anything away from them. On our behalf we need to have better execution." Russell's fumble in the second quarter was recovered by receiver Dwayne Bowe, setting up LSU's 42-yard field goal for the Tigers' only points for the day.
Tulane The Tigers were dominant in all phases of their game en route to a 49-7 victory, as Russell completed 17-of-23 throws (73.9 percent) for 198 yards and a pair of touchdowns LSU opened the scoring with 9:28 to play in the opening quarter when Early Doucet sprinted 12 yards to the east-side pilon in the north end zone after reeling in a short pass from Russell. The touchdown ended a nine-play drive in which LSU passed the ball eight times, completing seven LSU capitalized on the advantageous field position by scoring three plays later on a reverse from Russell to Charles Scott to Doucet, who raced in the end zone from 17-yards out Talking about his block on Doucet's scoring run, Russell replied, "In practice I never got chance to get it but when Early took the reverse I knew I had to make a play for him to score." Record Watch -- Russell moved into seventh-place on LSU's career passing attempts list with his first three of the game. He passed Matt Mauck and sits in seventh-place with 550 attempts Russell moved into sixth-place on LSU's career passing completions list with his first four of the game. He passed Josh Booty and Matt Mauck and sits in sixth-place with 324 completions.
Mississippi State Six of Russell's 18 completions (20 attempts, 90.0% completion rate) were for 20 yards or longer, as he totaled 330 yards with three touchdowns He turned the ball over once on a fumble, but made up for that miscue with a 9-yard scoring pass to Craig Davis, a 37-yarder to Early Doucet and a 6-yard touchdown to Dwayne Bowe Record Watch -- Russell's 90.0 percent completion percentage tied the LSU single-game record set by Matt Mauck vs. Louisiana Tech in 2003.
Florida A muffed punt, Russell's second interception of the season, and a safety on a muffed kickoff return led to a 1-yard rushing touchdown and a 1-yard passing touchdown by Florida freshman Tim Tebow for Florida's first 16 points of the game Russell hit on 24-of-41 tries for 228 yards and a touchdown, but turned the ball over once on a fumble and was picked off three times Russell converted on third down by scrambling to his right and tossing over two Florida defenders to Craig Davis to advance into Florida territory. A personal foul on Florida gave LSU a first down at the Florida 16-yard line. Four plays later, Russell found Jacob Hester wide open on a play-action pass from the 2-yard line to give LSU the early lead with 6:45 to play in the opening quarter After that, the bottom fell out for Russell, lost the ball on a 2nd-and-goal run at the goal line early in the second quarter, killing a 75-yard, 17-play drive He was picked off just before halftime by cornerback Ryan Smith, setting up Tim Tebow's 1-yard scoring strike to Tate Casey Midway through the third quarter, Smith intercepted a 3rd-and-11 pass from Russell at the UF 23, ending a 56-yard, 9-play series With 3:17 left to play, Russell was intercepted by strong safety Tony Joiner in the end zone for a touchback.
Kentucky LSU was again led to victory (49-0) by Russell, who gave way to backups early in the third quarter after leading his team to its fifth touchdown in six possessions. Russell ended the game with 15 completions in 18 attempts for 226 yards and two touchdowns The Tigers scored the first opportunity it had by driving straight at Kentucky with an eight-play march that featured three passes by Russell and five runs by Jacob Hester. The drive was buoyed by an interference and personal foul penalty whistled against Kentucky on the punt that moved LSU's starting field position from inside its 15-yard line to the 29-yard line. Hester carried the ball for the last time in the drive from the Wildcat 7-yard line to give LSU a touchdown advantage with 8:56 to play in the first quarter The Tigers scored from seven-yards out again a little more than 4:00 later when Russell scrambled right and found a wide-open Dwayne Bowe in the back of the north end zone. The pass capped a 6-play, 63-yard drive that lasted just 2:30 and was highlighted by a 30-yard reverse by diminutive speedster Trindon Holiday Record Watch -- With his 226 yards, Russell became the fifth QB in LSU history to pass for at least 5,000 yards. He now has 5,196 in his career.
Fresno State Russell was 15-of-19 passing for 210 yards and two touchdowns, playing into the fourth quarter at home for the first time this season His scoring strikes went 58 yards to Dwayne Bowe, ending a 72-yard, 4-play drive and on the next series, he hit Craig Davis with a 30-yarder to cap a 5-play, 77-yard march with 9:28 left on the clock His only blemish was a fumble on a 6-yard run in the first quarter, but the Tigers recovered the ball and Russell led the team, on a touchdown drive that produced 62 yards on five plays.
Tennessee Behind a three-touchdown performance by Russell, the Tigers earned its first road victory of the 2006 season, 28-24, at Neyland Stadium. Russell connected on 24-of-36 throws (66.7 percent) for 247 yards and three touchdowns, but had three passes deflected and three others intercepted while also fumbling once The Vols extended the lead to 17-7 on the second play of the second half, as the ball slipped from Russell's hand, sailing over his intended receiver and into the waiting arms of Tennessee defensive back Demetrice Morley. Morley ran virtually uncontested for a 31-yard touchdown Russell led the Tigers 77 yards in 10 plays for a 5-yard touchdown to Dwayne Bowe Early in the fourth quarter, two more LSU drives in Tennessee territory ended in turnovers. Russell was intercepted at the 15 and Bowe fumbled at the 46 to give the Vols a chance for a comeback of their own.
Trailing by three with 2:15 to play, LSU was faced with a 4th-and-7 at the Tennessee 42. Russell rifled the ball to Early Doucet, who pulled away from a Tennessee defender for an 8-yard gain and the first down. From there, LSU advanced to the Tennessee 7-yard line with an 11-yard pass to Doucet. Russell threw the ball away under pressure on first down, and then ran toward the right sideline for three yards on second down. On third down, with plenty of time in the pocket, Russell looked for Bowe in the back of the end zone. Instead, Doucet picked the ball from the air just in front of Bowe for the 4-yard game-winning score Talking about his flubs and heroics, Russell said: "Before we came out, coach (offensive coordinator Jimbo) Fisher told us that whatever happens, make no excuses. Empty your pockets. Leave your excuses at home. We just went out there and played tough no matter what the situation was. Just never give up. Even after the three interceptions, I knew that we were still in it. I just had to go out there and fight, sacrifice my body and myself and be willing to do whatever it takes to help my team. We just had to go out there and make plays, no matter what happened. As for my critics, everybody has an opinion. I'd say for myself, I think I kind of proved myself today. But I just have to keep fighting and get better." Record Watch -- The duo of JaMarcus Russell and Dwayne Bowe have now connected on 19 touchdown passes and sit in second-place on LSU's career list for pass-catch touchdown combos, topped only by Tommy Hodson-Wendell Davis (21).
Alabama After his erratic performance the previous week, Russell was nearly flawless in a 28-14 win. He connected on 18-of-21 attempts (85.7 percent) for 207 yards and three scores as LSU amassed 418 yards against an Alabama defense that was giving up slightly more than 277 a game Russell found Early Doucet with a 30-yard scoring strike in the first quarter and hit Dwayne Bowe with a 19-yard touchdown pass that ended a 10-play, 80-yard drive in the second quarter A 17-yard screen pass to Jacob Hester in the third quarter capped a nine-play, 78-yard series Record Watch -- Russell moved into fifth place for most career wins in school history with his 22nd career win Talking to reporters after the game about his performance, Russell said: "When things are going back and forth like that you have to trust that your defense is going to do their job, which they did. I am proud of how the team performed tonight. I am always trying to catch them off guard because they never expect me to run. When I see a hole and there is nothing open down field I just want to make any play I can to help this team win."
Mississippi Russell finally piloted his team to a win by completing 20-of-36 passes for 223 yards and three touchdowns after appearing confused and frustrated by a Rebel blitz that caused him to uncharacteristically miss wide open receivers LSU fought back in the final quarter, scoring on a 4-yard pass from Russell to Early Doucet with 8:46 left in the game and for the final time in regulation with just 14 seconds to play, when Russell connected with Dwayne Bowe from five yards out on fourth down to tie the score 20-20 LSU claimed possession at midfield following the punt by Ole Miss with a chance to try to claim the lead. But, after advancing to the Rebel 34, Russell faced a 3rd-and-10 and an Ole Miss blitz that knocked the ball from his hands. LSU recovered the fumble at midfield but was forced to punt leading to the necessity of the game tying-drive at the end of the game The Tigers scored the game's first points following an Ole Miss botched fake punt that set the Tigers with a first down at the Rebel 41-yard line. Russell connected with Craig Davis for 24 yards on the drive's third play giving LSU a 1st-and-goal at the Rebel 7-yard line. A holding penalty against the Tigers moved the third-down play back to the Ole Miss 13, but that only gave Bowe more space to find an open seam in the Rebels' defense. Russell spotted Bowe just beyond the goal line with 13:55 to play in the half and the Tigers took a 7-0 lead after the six-play scoring drive Record Watch -- With his three touchdown passes against Mississippi, Russell has 24 scores for the season, the second-best total in LSU single-season history Russell accumulated 223 yards passing, moving his career total to 6,080 yards, which ranks fourth all-time in LSU career passing yards He also moved into fourth place in LSU career passing attempts with his 36 attempts, giving him 741 passing attempts for his career Russell led the Tigers to a fourth quarter or overtime victory for the eighth time in his career. It was also the second game-winning drive Russell engineered this season With their two touchdowns tonight, the duo of Russell and Dwayne Bowe became the most prolific pass-catch combo in school history surpassing Tommy Hodson and Wendell Davis. The two shattered the mark with 22 career pass-catch touchdowns, culminating on the game-tying score with 0:14 remaining in the game.
Arkansas Russell threw two touchdown passes, including a 47-yarder to Craig Davis that gave LSU a 14-6 lead in the second quarter and a 7-yarder to Early Doucet that put the Tigers up by 12, 24-12, early in the crazy fourth quarter, as the Tigers QB connected on 14 of 22 throws for 210 yards, including five completions that went for at least 20 yards each "This is a very proud win for me, personally, Russell said after the game. "We faced adversity the whole game and were able to overcome it and get the victory. The kick return for touchdown gave us the extra momentum we needed. Once that happened we knew it was over and all we had to do was take care of business. We think we are now in the BCS picture with a win like that. The fumbles came at bad times but we were able to keep our composure and win the game." Arkansas head coach Houston Nutt said: "JaMarcus Russell is a great player. He is a big 6-6 guy who can see over everybody. He can always make some big plays. He is very hard to bring down and can make those third down conversions." Record Watch -- With 14 completions on the day Russell moved passed Jamie Howard to third on LSU's career completions list with 471 Russell also moved up to third on LSU's career passing yards list. He finished the game with 6,287 for his career.
Notre Dame (Sugar Bowl) Russell closed out his college career by outperforming Notre Dame quarterback and Heisman Trophy Finalist Brady Quinn, casting a large shadow over the touted Irish signal caller to see which of these two passers will go first in the 2007 NFL Draft Russell completed 21-of-34 passes for 332 yards, two passing and one rushing touchdown and one meaningless interception on his way to being unanimously named the game's Most Outstanding Player. He was replaced by backup Matt Flynn late in the fourth quarter and left the field to a standing ovation from the partisan Superdome crowd. "I've said it before, I think I have the best quarterback in the country," LSU head coach Les Miles said. Russell said he appreciated the accolades he received after the game and the comparisons to Quinn and his abilities, but he spread the credit around to as many Tiger players as possible. "My main thing is playing for my teammates and my coaches," Russell said. "Everyone has their opinion about who they think is the best and you can't change that. I don't know why I wasn't considered for the Heisman. But, I really do think I'm one of the best in college football." Russell used his rifle arm and his massive legs to carry his team down the field in eight plays to make the score 14-0. The Tiger QB completed 4-of-5 passes in the drive and also ran for 21 yards on a draw on the drive's sixth play, setting LSU up with a first down at the Irish 15. Two plays later, Russell beamed a laser pass to Dwayne Bowe in the end zone, giving the Tigers a two-touchdown advantage with 6:03 left in the quarter after the 3:31 march The Tigers made the Irish eyes smile two plays later as Russell was sandwiched between two Irish defenders and fumbled at the LSU 21. Defensive end Travis Leitko recovered the loose ball setting up what seemed to be a sure scoring chance for the powerful Notre Dame offense. But, a third down pass into the end zone intended for Jeff Samardzija was broken up and place kicker Carl Gioia pushed a 33-yard field goal attempt wide right preserving the LSU 14-7 lead with 14:40 remaining in the half Justin Vincent rushed for 19 yards on the ensuing drive's first play before Russell spotted and connected with Early Doucet 58 yards down the field to set up a 1st-and-goal at the Irish 5. Two plays later, Russell took a draw play across the goal line capping a blink-of-an-eye drive that lasted just five plays and 1:10 and gave the Tigers a 21-14 lead with 1:15 left in the half The LSU third-quarter scoring parade continued as Russell, facing a 3rd-and-8 at his 42 launched a 58-yard rocket to the speedy Brandon LaFell, who raced past the Irish defense and was all alone at the 10-yard line. LaFell sped into the end zone with 18 seconds remaining in the quarter, capping a 5-play, 73-yard drive that lasted just 1:38. The score extended the Tiger lead to 34-14 after the point after Record Watch -- Russell moved into first place on LSU's single season list for completions (232). His final total of 3,129 passing yards this season ranks second on the school single-season list. (Rohan Davey threw for 3,347 in 2001) Before having a pass intercepted in the fourth quarter Russell had thrown 119 consecutive passes without an interception, the longest such streak of his career Russell's 332 yards passing marked a career high. His previous career best was 330 yards against Mississippi State this season.
Russell was selected Southeastern Conference Player of the Year by the Columbus Touchdown Club He added SEC Academic Honor Roll recognition and was named SEC Player of the Week vs. Vanderbilt Russell started the first twelve games of the season, becoming the third player in school history to win ten games (10-2) in a campaign He hit on 188-of-311 passes (60.5 percent) for 2,443 yards, 15 touchdowns and nine interceptions, but lost 22 yards on 61 carries, as he was sacked 21 times for losses totaling 214 yards All four of his fumbles were recovered by the opposition Also had 27 of his pass attempts deflected Threw at least one touchdown in nine consecutive games before that streak was stopped in the SEC Championship Game vs. Georgia Suffered a left shoulder separation and right wrist ligament damage in that Georgia game, undergoing wrist surgery that forced him to miss the Peach Bowl vs. Miami.
|2005 Game Analysis|
Arizona State Turned the ball over once on a fumble and was sacked four times to finish with minus 41 yards on seven carries, but hit 16-of-29 throws for 232 yards and a game-winning 35-yard touchdown to Early Doucet with 1:13 left to play in a 35-31 decision.
Tennessee Again turned the ball over on a fumble and was also intercepted once in a tough 30-27 loss Completed 14-of-28 attempts for 158 yards and ran for a 1-yard score early in the second quarter.
Mississippi State Russell bounced back by connecting on 21-of-24 throws (87.5%) for 205 yards and a pair of touchdowns Russell hit Dwayne Bowe with a 14-yard scoring strike in the second quarter and the duo again hooked up on a 44-yard touchdown bomb late in the third quarter.
Vanderbilt Russell gained 285 yards with two touchdowns on 21-of-32 tries, but was also intercepted once and turned the ball over on a fumble He found his favorite target, Dwayne Bowe, with a 30-yard scoring pass on the team's game-opening drive and finished the day with an 8-yard scoring lob to Early Doucet with 7:42 left to play.
Florida Despite turning the ball over three times (two interceptions, one fumble), the Tigers QB completed 14-of-22 passes for 236 yards and two touchdowns He finished with minus 40 yards on the ground after getting sacked five times, but hit gave the team a 14-0 cushion in the first quarter with his two scoring tosses, including a 27-yarder to Dwayne Bowe before the Tigers had to overcome his turnovers en route to a 21-17 win.
Auburn Russell rallied the Tigers to a 20-17 overtime triumph, as he connected on 16-of-33 chances for 190 yards, including an 18-yard touchdown to Dwayne Bowe in the third quarter.
North Texas Close to two months after this game was originally scheduled to be play (cancelled due to Hurricane Katrina), Russell led the Tigers to a 56-3 victory, as he gained 244 yards on 17-of-21 attempts (81.0 percent) with one touchdown and one interception He fired a 15-yard scoring strike to Dwayne Bowe in the second quarter before giving way to his backups in the second half.
Appalachian State Russell hit on 16-of-22 throws for 208 yards and a pair of scores, as he added a season-high 42 yards on four carries For the third consecutive game, Russell avoided being sacked He had 9-yard TD tosses to both Dwayne Bowe in the first quarter and tight end Keith Zinger in the fourth.
Alabama Russell totaled 229 aerial yards on 16-of-30 passes, as he rallied the team again in a 16-13 overtime decision He was sacked twice for minus-7 yards, but also threw an 11-yard game-winning touchdown to Dwayne Bowe in overtime.
Mississippi The sophomore passer was intercepted once, as he connected on 13-of-22 tries for 142 yards He fired touchdowns of three yards to Craig Davis and 20 yards to Early Doucet before giving way to the reserve unit midway through the third quarter.
Arkansas Leading the team to close victories was becoming a habit for Russell, who completed 13-of-29 attempts for 194 yards and a 50-yard touchdown to Bennie Brazell Russell kept the game close; he was intercepted twice inside the red zone.
Georgia (SEC Championship) The Tigers not only lost the game, 34-14, but also lost their star quarterback when Russell was slammed to the ground on a sack in the third quarter. He suffered ligament damage in his right wrist and a separated left should He managed to gain 120 yards on 11-of-19 passes, but was intercepted once and sacked three times for losses totaling 21 yards His only bright spot came on a 1-yard scoring plunge early in the second quarter.
Shared quarterback duties with Marcus Randall, starting vs. Florida, Vanderbilt, Alabama, Mississippi and Arkansas Completed 73-of-144 passes (50.7 percent) for 1,053 yards, nine touchdowns and four interceptions Scored once on 26 carries, but was sacked 13 times for losses totaling 109 yards Finished with 1,012 yards in total offense.
|2004 Game Analysis|
Made his collegiate debut, completing 9-of-26 throws for 145 yards and a pair of scores vs. Oregon State Followed with 151 yards on 7-of-11 passing with two touchdowns against Arkansas State Connected on 9-of-12 attempts for 137 yards and a touchdown vs. Mississippi State Added 131 yards on 9-of-17 tosses with a score vs. Georgia Earned his first career start, responding with 6-of-10 completions for 56 yards, but was intercepted twice vs. Florida Added 92 yards and a touchdown on 5-of-10 throws vs. Alabama, but was also sacked three times Was intercepted once and sacked three times, turning the ball over on a fumble, as Russell completed only 6-of-19 throws for 66 yards vs. Mississippi Came off the bench in the fourth quarter to gain 128 yards with a pair of touchdowns on 12-of-15 throws (80.0 percent) in a 30-25 loss to Iowa in the Capital One Bowl.
Enrolled at Louisiana State and redshirted while performing on the scout team.
2005: Did not play vs. Miami (Fla.) in the Peach Bowl after separating his left shoulder and suffering ligament damage to his right wrist while being sacked vs. Georgia (12/03) in the SEC Championship Game.
2006: Was limited in spring drills while recovering from ligament surgery on his right wrist.
Campus: 4.72 in the 40-yard dash 335-pound bench press 515-pound squat 31-inch vertical jump 32 3/4-inch arm length 9 7/8-inch hands Right-handed.
Combine: Chose not to participate in the individual or positional drills.
Attended Williamson (Mobile, Ala.) High School, playing football for head coach Bobby Parrish Regarded as one of the nation's top-rated quarterbacks Consensus top-five rated, pro-style quarterback by every major recruiting publication Was named to the prestigious Parade All-American team In 2002, he was rated the fourth-best quarterback prospect in the country by College Football News Named Alabama's Mr. Football and Super Prep Dixie Offensive Player of the Year in 2002 Member of Super Prep's All-America team, FSN South's Countdown to Signing Day "All-South" first-team, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution's Super Southern 100 and the Orlando Sentinel's All-Southern team The all-time leading passer in Alabama history, Russell threw for 10,744 yards during his career, eclipsing the state record set by former Alabama and current Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Brodie Croyle The two-time Class 5A All-State selection set a state record with 84 touchdown passes Connected on 219-of-372 passes (58.9 percent) for 3,332 yards and 22 touchdowns as a senior, adding 400 yards and five scores rushing 2002 Passed for 1,850 yards and 17 touchdowns as a junior Excelled on the school's basketball team as a small forward, averaging around 15 points, 10 rebounds and four assists per game as a junior.
General Studies major Son of Zina Russell-Anderson and Bobby Lloyd Made national news in 2006 after sharing his apartment with legendary musician Fats Domino in the days following Hurricane Katrina Actually housed over a dozen family and friends for a week following the storm Spent part of the 2006 offseason serving as a counselor at the Manning Passing Academy, working alongside Peyton and Eli Manning each day Born 8/09/85 in Mobile, Alabama.
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