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SEC: Late TD stuns Wildcats

©Associated Press
November 10, 2002

LEXINGTON, Ky. -- LSU practices desperation pass plays each Thursday, but quarterback Marcus Randall said they never work.

On Saturday, the Tigers made one work when they needed it.

Devery Henderson caught a deflected 75-yard TD pass from Randall as time expired to lift the Tigers 33-30 over Kentucky.

"We always say we need to play for 60 minutes," coach Nick Saban said. "There is the reason why."

LSU appeared headed for a second straight league loss after Taylor Begley's 29-yard field goal with 11 seconds left put Kentucky ahead 30-27. Hundreds of blue-clad fans crowded the sideline and were poised to charge the field as the Tigers got the ball at their 13. Before the final play, the Wildcats doused coach Guy Morriss with a cooler of Gatorade.

Randall passed to Michael Clayton at the 25, and LSU called a timeout with 2 seconds left. Saban gave Randall simple instructions on the sideline.

"Coach Saban just told me to throw it as far as I could," said Randall, a sophomore making his third career start.

Randall took the snap, avoided the rush to his right and heaved the ball more than 60 yards.

"He doesn't have that strong an arm and then he throws it from his 20 to our 30," said cornerback Leonard Burress, one of eight Wildcats who had a chance to make a play on the ball.

As the ball sailed through the air, fireworks exploded from the scoreboard, and fans attacked the goal post at the east end zone.

At the other end, Kentucky linebacker Morris Lane and two other Wildcats tipped the ball, and Henderson caught it inside the 20.

Cornerback Derrick Tatum missed a diving tackle, and Henderson reached the end zone as Kentucky fans continued to pull on the goal post at the other end, oblivious to the outcome.

"I caught it, and then I slowed down," Henderson said. "I said, 'Lord, just let me get to the end zone with it.' I just kept running."

Kentucky fans slowly realized what had happened. Many sat at midfield as a small group of LSU fans celebrated.

"It's always hard when you come back in a game like this and something crazy like that happens to you," Saban said of Kentucky. "I've never been on a team that had it completed, but I've been on teams that's had it completed against them. It's a little bit of disbelief."

* * *

GEORGIA 31, OLE MISS 17: Terrence Edwards caught a 33-yard TD pass and Fred Gibson hauled in a 17-yarder as the host Bulldogs moved within a win of clinching a spot in the SEC Championship Game.

Georgia, which has not won an SEC title since 1982, can wrap up the East by winning at Auburn on Saturday. David Greene, playing all but one series, completed 12-of-22 for 206 yards and two TDs. Musa Smith carried 37 times for 148 yards, both season highs.

ALABAMA 28, MISS ST. 14: Tyler Watts threw 223 yards and a career-high three TDs for the host Crimson Tide. Watts connected with two TDs, including a 36-yarder on fourth and 11 to end scoring with 4:02 left in the third.

The Bulldogs twice could not convert big special-teams plays in the fourth. Kevin Dockery blocked Lane Bearden's punt, giving Mississippi State the ball at the Alabama 26. Kindal Moorehead stopped Fred Reid short on a fourth-down run.

The Tide went three-and-out again, but Bearden, who has played five straight with a torn knee ligament in his kicking leg, had to reach for a high snap. His pass was short of the first down.

The Bulldogs could not move on four straight plays from the Alabama 15, stuffed by the nation's No. 2 defense. Watts was 16-of-22 against the nation's No. 5 pass defense, leading three scoring drives of 80-plus yards.

ARKANSAS 23, S.C. 0: Matt Jones threw two TDs and Arkansas' defense posted back-to-back shutouts for the first time since 1974. Arkansas has won three straight and is bowl eligible. South Carolina had not been shut out since 1999 when it lost 17-0 to Mississippi State in Lou Holtz's fourth game as coach during his 0-11 season.

AUBURN 52, LA-MONROE 14: Jason Campbell threw touchdowns on the first two possessions and the host Tigers scored the first four times they got the ball for a 35-0 lead at halftime. Campbell completed 8-of-10 for 184 yards.

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