LSU, Russell torpedo VolsAssociated Press
Published November 5, 2006
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - LSU can forget last year's disappointment against No. 8 Tennessee. The No. 13 Tigers have their own comeback to celebrate.
JaMarcus Russell hit Early Doucet with a 4-yard touchdown pass with 9 seconds left to give LSU a 28-24 win over the Volunteers on Saturday, and end the Volunteers' chances of winning the SEC title.
Russell's third touchdown pass of the game gave the Tigers their first road win of the season and revenge for last year's Vols' victory at Tiger Stadium.
"Our guys will remember this one," LSU coach Les Miles said. "If you want to define who we are, if you want to write who we are, that's who were are right there."
Last year in Baton Rouge, La., in LSU's first home game after hurricanes Katrina and Rita, the Vols overcame a 21-point deficit to win 30-27 in overtime.
On Saturday, Tennessee almost got another comeback. The Vols went ahead 24-21 after redshirt freshman Jonathan Crompton, playing for injured starter Erik Ainge, completed a 54-yard touchdown pass to Robert Meachem with 7:29 left.
The Tigers got the ball back with plenty of time, and Russell methodically led them downfield.
Russell appeared to score on a run from the Tennessee 7 when he flipped into the end zone, but officials ruled he was out of bounds at the 4. On the next play, Doucet caught Russell's pass in the end zone, a throw intended for Dwayne Bowe.
Russell finished 24-for-36 for 247 yards. He also ran for 71 yards as the Tigers overcame four turnovers.
"I was still in the game. I knew I just had to go out and fight and sacrifice my body and myself and be willing to do whatever it takes to help my team," said Russell, who had three passes intercepted.
LSU's top-rated defense made it tough for Crompton. The Vols were held to 248 total yards and had the ball for less than 19 minutes. LSU rolled up 478 yards.
"It will hurt tonight and we can allow it to maybe hurt tomorrow, and then come Monday we have to get ready to go to Arkansas and play and win that game," Tennessee coach Phillip Fulmer said. "This team still has a lot to look forward to."
The loss ended Tennessee's chances of catching Florida in the SEC East. The Gators' victory over Vanderbilt combined with the Vols' loss gives Florida a spot in the league title game.
Ainge, who sprained his right ankle last week, played the first quarter but was limping badly.
No. 6 Auburn 27, Arkansas St. 0
AUBURN, Ala. - Brandon Cox passed for 251 yards and two touchdowns and Auburn held Arkansas State to 177 total yards.
The Tigers turned the ball over four times, but they held the Indians to 86 yards and four first downs in the first three quarters.
Cox was 12-for-21 passing, was intercepted twice and lost a fumble. Courtney Taylor had four catches for 116 yards, all in the first half, and became the fourth Auburn receiver with 2,000 career yards.
Auburn tailback Kenny Irons, bothered by an ankle injury for much of the season, played only the opening series. His subs fared well. Freshman Ben Tate gained 93 yards on 11 carries, and Brad Lester added 62 on 12 runs.
Mississippi St. 24, Alabama 16: Michael Henig passed for 143 yards and two touchdowns and Mississippi State upset host Alabama in Tuscaloosa, giving coach Sylvester Croom his first victory over his alma mater. Anthony Dixon ran for 121 yards for the Bulldogs, who ended a 23-game SEC road losing streak and an 18-game skid against Western division rivals. The Bulldogs jumped to a 24-10 halftime lead and then held the Crimson Tide to two second-half field goals.
Kentucky 24, Georgia 20: Tony Dixon's 3-yard run with a minute left lifted host Kentucky to a comeback victory in Lexington, snapping a nine-game losing streak against the defending SEC champs. Georgia had a little more than a minute left to mount a winning drive, but Matthew Stafford threw his third interception, right into the hands of Kentucky cornerback Trevard Lindley. Stafford now has 12 interceptions this year, with just four touchdown passes.
Ole Miss 27, N'Western St. 7: BenJarvus Green-Ellis rushed for 116 yards and a touchdown in Oxford as host Mississippi rolled up 401 yards of total offense.