© St. Petersburg Times, published October 13, 2002
ATHENS, Ga. -- After 20 years of disappointment, Georgia has that championship feeling again.
The Bulldogs remained the only unbeaten team in the SEC, building a comfortable lead, then withstanding a furious comeback to beat Tennessee 18-13 Saturday.
"We set some lofty goals at the beginning of the season, and we're still in position to reach those goals," offensive tackle Jon Stinchcomb said. "We want to win championships."
Georgia has not won a conference championship since 1982, the last of three straight titles with Herschel Walker in the backfield.
"We've had a hard time pulling away from anybody," said coach Mark Richt, aware four wins have been by 16 points total. "But we're doing what it takes to win. There's a lot to be said for that."
Tennessee was without starting quarterback Casey Clausen, sidelined with a shoulder injury. Third-string freshman James Banks went most of the way. Clausen, a three-year starter, hurt his non-throwing shoulder in a six-overtime victory over Arkansas.
Banks was held in check the first three quarters, then appeared to wear down the Bulldogs. Tennessee had almost half its 344 yards in the fourth, when Banks went 6-of-6 for 145 yards.
Tennessee had 32 yards passing at the end of the third.
Tennessee scored two touchdowns in the fourth. But Georgia recovered an onside kick, and Tony Milton broke a 25-yard run on fourth and 2 to seal it with 1:30 left.
Georgia's 20-year championship drought is the longest in school history. Tennessee has been responsible for much of the disappointment, handing the Bulldogs their first loss three years in a row from 1997-99. Georgia has won the past three.
ARKANSAS 38, AUBURN 17: Fred Talley rushed for 241 yards, including an 80-yard score, as the visiting Razorbacks gained 426 yards on the ground.
"Sometimes, I was feeling like they blew the play dead or something," said Talley, who started because of Cedric Cobbs' injured toe. "I could hesitate and make moves without anybody in my way."
His rushing yards were the most allowed by Auburn. The high was 233 by Alabama's Bobby Marlow in 1951.
The Razorbacks looked fresh enough after a six-overtime loss at Tennessee, just as coach Houston Nutt predicted during the week.
"All this week, I loved the team's attitude," Nutt said. "And I know how much hurt they had. But Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday won the game."
Talley helped Arkansas to its first 400-yard rushing game since gaining 412 against LSU in 1994. Talley's 241 was the second-best performance in school history, behind Dickey Morton's 271.
Auburn had not allowed more than 350 yards since LSU had 377 five years ago.
Talley, who went in with 123 yards in the first four games, gained 179 in the first half.
But he was not the only player who did well for Arkansas.
Fullback Mark Pierce gave the Razorbacks a 31-17 lead with 7:44 left in the third, rambling 44 yards on fourth and 1 for his second touchdown. Matt Jones added a 70-yard TD run in the fourth.
Tigers quarterback Daniel Cobb was 13-of-23 for 225 yards, two interceptions and a fumble.
OLE MISS 52, ARK. ST. 17: Eli Manning threw for 290 yards and three touchdowns for the host Rebels. Mississippi, ranked for the first time in two years and coming off an upset of Florida, is 18-1-2 against the Indians and has won the past 10 by more than 20 points.
The Rebels did not punt, though they did have four turnovers, and outgained the Indians 508-264. Ole Miss scored 50 in a non-overtime game for the first time since 1995. Last season, Ole Miss scored 56 in seven overtimes against Arkansas.
S.C. 16, KENTUCKY 12: Ryan Brewer scored on a 6-yard run with 7:54 left for the visiting Gamecocks. Corey Jenkins was 7-of-15 for 199 yards and rushed for 49 for South Carolina, which beat Kentucky a third straight time. Jared Lorenzen was 22-of-37 for 194 yards and Artose Pinner rushed for 117 to lead Kentucky, which has lost two in a row after starting 4-0.
MIDDLE TENN. ST. 21, VANDY 20: Dwone Hicks' 2-yard touchdown run with 52 seconds left lifted the visiting Blue Raiders to their first win of the season. Hicks' TD capped a 53-yard drive aided by two of Vanderbilt's season-high 14 penalties. Benji Walker led Vanderbilt with 79 yards on 15 carries but was intercepted twice. Kwane Doster, subbing for injured leading rusher Norval McKenzie, added 77 yards on 18 carries.
MISS. ST. 11, TROY ST. 8: Fred Reid rushed for a career-high 111 yards and scored the host Bulldogs' touchdown on a 15-yard pass from Kevin Fant. The win was Mississippi State's first against a Division I-A team this season. The Bulldogs intercepted six passes, a school record for the Trojans, and limited Troy State to 197 total yards. Fant finished 22-of-33 for 210 yards.