They said he wouldn't start, and he didn't, but Jeff Burger missed only one offensive snap Saturday night as sixth-ranked Auburn hammered 10th-ranked Florida, 29-6, in a Southeastern Conference game at Auburn, Ala.
Burger went through an on-again, off-again eligibility argument with the National Collegiate Athletic Assn. earlier in the week, gaining reinstatement Thursday after being declared ineligible Wednesday for taking a free plane ride on a hunting trip.
"It's really been tough on me this week," Burger said. "I'm going to have to watch everything I do. Everybody's watching me.
"I used bad judgment, I guess you could say, not asking about it," Burger said of the trip arranged by an Auburn booster in an Alabama booster's plane.
Auburn had held Burger out of last week's victory over Mississippi State and didn't allow him to start against Florida as a penalty for not cooperating with the investigation.
The penalty didn't last long.
After starting quarterback Reggie Slack fumbled the snap on the first play of the game, Burger came off the bench to complete 18 of 29 passes for 220 yards and 2 touchdowns.
"It was decided beforehand," Burger said of his quick entry into the game. "Reggie would take one snap. We didn't want to create any kind of division between anybody."
Auburn Coach Pat Dye said: "I'm sure those who want to find fault with that are going to find fault. I'm in a no-win situation any way you go."
While the spotlight fell on Burger, it was the Auburn defense that made the difference, holding the nation's leading rusher, Emmitt Smith, to 72 yards in 21 carries. It ended the freshman's string of six consecutive 100-yard performances.
Auburn (7-0-1, 3-0-1) extended its winning streak to five games. Florida fell to 5-3, 2-2.
LSU 42, Mississippi 13--The combination of Tommy Hodson to Wendell Davis accounted for three touchdowns at Jackson, Miss., and the fifth-ranked Tigers routed the Rebels to stay atop the SEC.
LSU, which has lost only two conference games in the last three seasons, improved to 7-0-1 overall, 4-0 in the SEC. Mississippi fell to 3-6 and 1-3.
Hodson completed scoring passes of 45 and 11 yards to Davis in the first quarter and, after Mississippi closed to 14-13 early in the third quarter, the pair connected on a 39-yarder.
Eddie Fuller ran 10 yards and Harvey Williams went 76 yards for another score in a span of 58 seconds early in the fourth quarter as the Tigers avenged a 21-19 loss to Ole Miss a year ago.
The Tigers finished with 630 yards in total offense.
Alabama 21, Mississippi St. 18--Bobby Humphrey, Alabama's all-time leading rusher, dived over from the one with 50 seconds left as the 16th-ranked Crimson Tide defeated the Bulldogs at Birmingham, Ala.
Alabama is 6-2 overall and 3-1 in the SEC. Mississippi State fell to 4-4 and 0-4.
Humphrey, who earlier scored on an 83-yard run, needed only 3 yards to surpass the 2,741 compiled by Johnny Musso in 1969-71 and got those on his first carry. He ended the game with 135 yards in 18 carries for 2,874 yards in his career.
Kentucky 14, Virginia Tech 7--Jimmie O'Neal and Mark Higgs scored touchdowns for the Wildcats in the opening 4 minutes 57 seconds at Lexington, Ky., and the defenses dominated the rest of the way.
Kentucky drove 40 yards in 4 plays on its first possession, with Kevin Dooley completing a 14-yard touchdown pass to O'Neal for a 7-0 lead with 12:11 remaining in the first quarter.
Higgs went off right tackle for a 52-yard touchdown to give Kentucky its 14-0 margin at 10:03.
Higgs accounted for most of Kentucky's offense, rushing 22 times for 168 yards and catching 4 passes for 37 yards.
Kentucky (5-3) snapped a two-game losing streak, and Virginia Tech dropped its fourth straight to fall to 1-7.
Vanderbilt 27, Rutgers 13--At Nashville, Tenn., Eric Jones passed for 267 yards and a touchdown and rushed for 101 yards as the Commodores snapped a six-game losing streak.
Vanderbilt (2-6) had its finest offensive day of the season, compiling 560 yards of total offense against the Scarlet Knights (5-3).
Vandy also had 33 first downs against their Eastern independent foe, the most by any Southeastern Conference team this season.
Jones completed 19 of 26 passes. Rutgers quarterback Scott Erney completed 11 of 23 attempts for 112 yards.