tampabay.com

Early scores prove enough for Tennessee

By wire services
Published October 2, 2005


KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - Gerald Riggs ran for a touchdown and Jonathan Wade returned an interception for another early. Then No.10 Tennessee held off Mississippi 27-10 on Saturday.

"I'm really happy to get this win behind us," said coach Phillip Fulmer, whose Vols beat LSU on Monday and host No.7 Georgia next.

Tennessee, however, lost freshman tailback Montario Hardesty for the season to a torn ACL. Hardesty, who had a thigh bruise earlier this season, had carried four times for 14 yards before the injury.

The Volunteers had a 14-0 lead after 5:14. Riggs, who had 125 yards on 26 carries, made it 7-0 4:36 in. He appeared to be stopped but bounced outside to scamper for the 2-yard score.

Micheal Spurlock, who started at quarterback for Mississippi despite a broken middle finger on his left (nonthrowing) hand, threw an interception two plays later, which Wade returned 19 yards for a touchdown.

The Rebels cut the deficit to 20-10 on Mico McSwain's 2-yard run 4:42 into the fourth. On the ensuing series, Mississippi stopped quarterback Rick Clausen for a 1-yard gain on fourth and 2.

But Spurlock fumbled on the next play. Arian Foster carried the ball on all of the Vols' ensuing five plays, the last a 1-yard touchdown.

No. 4 LSU 37, Mississippi St. 7

STARKVILLE, Miss. - JaMarcus Russell threw two touchdowns to Dwayne Bowe for the Tigers. On the game's fifth play, the Bulldogs' Omarr Conner hit Joey Sanders for a 66-yard touchdown. After that, it was all LSU. It forced three consecutive three-and-outs and scored on three consecutive series: Colt David's 30-yard field goal, Xavier Carter's 36-yard run 2:33 later and Bowe's 14-yard catch 2:34 after that.

Mississippi State also lost Jerious Norwood, its leading rusher and a preseason All-SEC pick. He sustained a mild concussion on a hit by Kenneth Hollis and Jessie Daniels. His status is unknown.

MIDDLE TENN. 17, VANDY 15: Jeremiah Weaver blocked a field goal on the last play for the visiting Blue Raiders, who have beaten the Commodores in three straight. Down 14-9 entering the fourth, Vanderbilt took the lead 2:05 in on Jay Cutler's 16-yard pass to Erik Davis. The two-point conversion failed, and Middle Tennessee retook the lead on Colby Smith's 29-yard field goal with 6:41 left. AUBURN 48, SOUTH CAROLINA 7: The host Tigers scored on five of their first seven possessions to give Gamecocks coach Steve Spurrier his first three-game SEC losing streak. Auburn held South Carolina to two first downs and 78 yards in the first half and took a 31-0 lead on Ben Obomanu's 15-yard catch with 22 seconds left. It was his 16th touchdown catch, moving him into third all-time at Auburn.