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Vandy shocks Georgia

By TIMES WIRES
Published October 15, 2006


ATHENS, Ga. - Vanderbilt celebrated wildly, cheered on by a sprinkling of gold-and-black-clad fans amid the sea of red. Georgia and its 92,000 backers trudged out of Sanford Stadium in silence. The scoreboard went blank as soon as it was over, an attempt to erase what everyone had just seen.

Bryant Hahnfeldt's 33-yard field goal with two seconds left gave Vandy a 24-22 upset of the No. 16 Bulldogs.

The Commodores had not beaten Georgia since 1994, and this was only their fourth win in the series in the past 43 meetings.

It seemed like the Bulldogs would manage a lackluster victory when Tony Taylor returned an interception 24 yards for a touchdown with 9:22 left for a 22-21 lead.

But Georgia failed on the two-point conversion, and Andy Bailey missed a 37-yard field goal with 5:02 left.

Chris Nickson, who threw two interceptions earlier in the half, then drove Vandy down the field on a 15-play, 65-yard drive.

The Commodores passed up a 52-yard field goal, converting on fourth and 5 when Nickson hit Sean Walker for 6 yards. Cassen Jackson-Garrison ran for another first down inside the Georgia 20.

The Commodores set up the ball in the middle of the field for Hahnfeldt, who was just 4-of-8 on the season and missed two last week in a 17-10 loss to Mississippi. This time, his kick was right down the middle.

"It was unbelievable," Hahnfeldt said. "I just start running around."

The Bulldogs tried a couple of laterals on the ensuing kickoff, but the ball was knocked out of bounds short of midfield to end the game.

Vandy, which hasn't had a winning season since 1982, lost its first three SEC games by a combined 12 points.

"We feel like we are better," coach Bobby Johnson said. "But when you don't get it done, you begin to question yourself. That is human nature."

Georgia is the team questioning itself now. The Bulldogs lost their second in a row, having squandered a 17-point lead the previous week in a 51-33 home setback to Tennessee.

The Bulldogs used two quarterbacks. Senior Joe Tereshinski started and was 11-of-17 for 151 yards. Freshman Matthew Stafford was in at the end, going 9-of-13 for 86 yards. And Georgia settled for field goals three times after getting inside the Commodores 10.

"If we could have put some touchdowns on the board instead of trying for field goals, I'm confident we would have won," running back Danny Ware said. "I don't blame anybody. We lost this one as a team."

Georgia might have sustained a key injury as well. Starting tailback Thomas Brown hurt a knee returning the second-half kickoff.

"He won't be playing any time soon," coach Mark Richt said. "He hurt it pretty bad, I think."

No. 17 Arkansas 63, SE Missouri St. 7

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. - Darren McFadden ran 52 yards for a touchdown on the first offensive play for the Razorbacks, who earned their most lopsided win since 60-0 over Tulsa in 1974.

McFadden eluded several tacklers as he broke down the left sideline, dragged a tackler then brushed him off on his way to the end zone. He made it 14-0 with a 2-yard run later in the quarter, ending Arkansas' only scoring drive of the first half that took longer than 1:21.

The I-AA Redhawks reached Razorback territory in the second quarter. But when receiver Antonio Scaife took a lateral and threw to quarterback Kevin Ballatore on the opposite side of the field, 296-pound tackle Keith Jackson intercepted it and returned it 69 yards for a 21-0 lead.

Alabama 26, Mississippi 23 (OT): Le'Ron McClain's 2-yard catch won it for the host Crimson Tide, who last season needed Jaime Christensen's field goal with no time left to beat Ole Miss 13-10.

This time, Brent Schaeffer's 55-yard pass to Mike Wallace tied it at 20 for the Rebels with 8:21 left. They got the ball first in overtime. But they settled for a 37-yard field goal by Joshua Shene after Keith Saunders dropped Mico McSwain for a loss on third and 2 from the 17.

Alabama had first and goal at the 3. But Ole Miss twice stopped Tim Castille. Then McClain, a fullback, slipped past a defender and into the middle of the end zone and was wide open when John Parker Wilson hit him.

Miss. St. 35, Jacksonville St. 3: Derek Pegues returned an interception and a punt for touchdowns for the host Bulldogs. Pegues intercepted Matt Hardin's pass on the first play of the game and returned it 26 yards for the Bulldogs' first first-quarter touchdown. The I-AA Gamecocks cut it 7-3. But in the second quarter Pegues broke an 81-yard punt return, the longest by a Bulldog since Kevin Prentiss' 83-yarder in the 1998 SEC title game.