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College football

SEC: Vandy holds off Ole Miss, gets to 3-0

By Associated Press
Published September 18, 2005

NASHVILLE - Jay Cutler threw for 314 yards and ran for 58, leading Vanderbilt to a 31-23 victory Saturday over Mississippi, making it 3-0 for the first time since 1984.

The Commodores, who haven't had a winning season since 1982, also are 2-0 in the SEC for the first time since 1956.

"Our guys won't be afraid to play anybody. But we know we have to play well to hang in there," Vanderbilt coach Bobby Johnson said.

Jeff Jennings ran 24 times for 103 yards and three touchdowns, the last with 1:26 left.

Ole Miss had a chance after that. Quarterback Micheal Spurlock left the game after bending his left middle finger sideways while scrambling near midfield. Robert Lane came in and got the Rebels to the Vanderbilt 16.

But on third and 5, Moses Osemwegie knocked the ball from Lane's hands and recovered with one second left.

Down 24-3 at halftime, Ole Miss scored 20 in a row, including two touchdowns in 3:30 in the third. Spurlock hit Mario Hill for a 28-yard touchdown on fourth and 6 with 8:50 left.

Kyle Keown's 27-yard punt left the Rebels at midfield, and two plays later, Mario McSwain ran to his right and cut across the field for a 53-yard touchdown that made it 24-17.

The Rebels had a chance to tie it after Mike Espy's 51-yard punt return for a touchdown. But Ralph McKenzie blocked Will Moseley's extra point with 8:20 left in the game.

"We thought we would score more points," Cutler said. "We're unsatisfied with our play, but I guess that's a good thing. In any case, we're going to celebrate this win."

No. 7 Georgia 44, La.-Monroe 7

ATHENS, Ga. - Reserve Danny Ware rushed for 109 yards and Martrez Milner caught three passes for 79 yards and a touchdown for the Bulldogs.

Ware replaced Thomas Brown, who has a slightly separated shoulder, and Milner replaced tight end Leonard Pope, who did not play for undisclosed disciplinary reasons.

Down 17-0, the Indians recovered an onside kick to start the second half. And Steven Jyles scored on a 2-yard keeper to cap the ensuing drive. But Georgia answered with a 40-yard field goal by Brandon Coutu, who later made a 58-yarder that tied for the third longest in school history.

After Kregg Lumpkin's 18-yard touchdown, Calvin Johnson recovered a fumble in the end zone to make it 34-7.

ALABAMA 37, S.C. 14: Kenneth Darby scored a touchdown and gained 145 of the Crimson Tide's 338 rushing yards. It was coach Mike Shula's third road win since taking over in 2003.

The Gamecocks tied it at 7 on their first series, a 13-play, 75-yarder capped by Mike Davis' 1-yard touchdown run on fourth and goal. But they gained just 21 yards and no first downs the rest of the first half. Down 20-7 at halftime, the Gamecocks got past midfield just once in the third, on their first drive. That ended when Antonio Heffner was sacked on fourth and 2 from the 36.

Jamie Christensen's 27-yard field goal made it 23-7, and after the Gamecocks fumbled again, Darby's 22=yard run made it 30-7.

MISS. ST. 21, TULANE 14: Jerious Norwood's 17-yard touchdown run won it for the Bulldogs in Shreveport, La. The Green Wave erased a two-touchdown deficit and tied it at 14 in the fourth.

But Israel Route muffed a Mississippi State punt. Lance Long recovered for the Bulldogs at the Tulane 17, and Norwood scored on the next play. Tulane got to the Bulldog 39, but Lester Ricard's heave on the final play was tipped and fell out of Brian King's reach in the end zone.

AUBURN 63, BALL ST. 3: Kenny Irons and Brad Lester rushed for two touchdowns for the host Tigers, who scored touchdowns on all nine of their possessions. Ball State cut it to 35-3 on the first possession of the second half. But Lester returned the ensuing kickoff 93 yards for a touchdown, Auburn's first kickoff return for a touchdown since 2000.

[Last modified September 18, 2005, 02:15:36]


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