LSU Football: Zach Mettenberger's Rise Right on Time for Tigers

Sean MerrimanCorrespondent INovember 16, 2012

COLLEGE STATION, TX - OCTOBER 20:  Zach Mettenberger #8 of the LSU Tigers throws against the Texas A&M Aggies at Kyle Field on October 20, 2012 in College Station, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

After every throw he made, you could just tell that LSU junior quarterback Zach Mettenberger was gaining more and more confidence.

Mettenberger was tabbed to be LSU's starting quarterback this season, and after the subpar play from both Jordan Jefferson and Jarrett Lee at the quarterback position over the past four years, fans were looking forward to see what the young gunslinger could bring to the table.

After playing rather subpar himself through the first half of this season, those same fans begin to get a little restless with Mettenberger, and then came the Tigers' matchup against No.1-ranked Alabama.

In that game, Mettenberger completed 24-of-35 passes for 298 yards and a touchdown against what is widely considered to be the top defense in the nation.

The following week, he was at it again, hitting on 19-of-30 passes for 273 yards and two touchdowns against a good Mississippi State team.

Most importantly, Mettenberger didn't throw an interception in either of those games, an issue that had been plaguing the junior quarterback early on this season.

We, as fans, often forget how raw some of these college players are and how different the college game is from the high school level. Mettenberger is all of 21 years old. This is his first season as a starting quarterback at the Division 1 level.

But after that 14-6 loss to Florida in Week 6, that common question begin to arise: "When already Zach, when already?"

After the last two weeks that answer has finally come to fruition: "now."

Now, of course, two games dosen't change everything.

The most common word that has been attached to Mettenberger's name since he arrived in Baton Rouge last season is "potential."

LSU fans saw that potential on display these past two weeks. His coaches see it everyday in practice. Maybe this is as good as it gets for Mettenberger, maybe it isn't. But he has played near-flawless football at a point in the season where the Tigers need that for their starting quarterback.

With two regular-season games remaining, a BCS Bowl berth is certainly within the Tigers' grasp. It helps to know that LSU has a quarterback under center who now has the confidence to get this team to that stage.

Les Miles gave the media the message loud and clear when asked about Mettenbeger earlier this season.

"Just wait for it."

The same message went out to the fans, "just wait for it."

The way Mettenberger is playing now, it appears it was well worth the wait.