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College Football Week 8 | SEC

Divided Tigers Win Without Bowden

October 25, 1998| From Associated Press

Terry Bowden may have been on the mind of every Auburn player on Saturday, but that doesn't mean the players shared the same feelings about their former coach.

Instead of a team fresh off a 32-17 victory over Louisiana Tech at Auburn, Ala., the Tigers sounded like an emotionally divided team.

"I give this win to coach Bowden," said tailback Michael Burks, who had a 30-yard touchdown reception. "It came out of my heart and it was for him."

Burks' sentiments weren't unanimous.

"Coach Bowden chickened out and let us down," defensive end Leonardo Carson said. "We were out there fighting for him and he left us. Everybody feels like he stabbed us in the back."

It was an emotional 24 hours for Auburn, which is off to its worst start since 1952. The last thing the Tigers needed was Bowden quitting.

"Things happen and this might be a plus, or it might be a negative," cornerback Antwoine Nolan said. "Either way, we need to pull together as a team."

The Tigers tried as Gabe Gross ran for two touchdowns and passed for one and Robert Bironas kicked three field goals. The Tigers played with inspiration from the opening kickoff and ended a four-game losing streak.

"I don't have a cap on, but if I did, I would tip my hat to the players," interim Coach Bill Oliver said. "We talk about adversity in football all the time, but they went through adversity today with other circumstances."

Auburn (2-5) entered the game with only six touchdowns this season. But the Tigers finally clicked against the Bulldogs (4-5), scoring more than 19 points for the first time this year.

"I love coach Bowden to death and I played my heart out for him," Gross said. "This can't help but be a little bit of a distraction."

No. 11 Georgia 28, Kentucky 26--Quarterback Quincy Carter ran for 114 yards and passed for 147 as the Bulldogs (6-1, 4-1) held on at Lexington, Ky., as the Wildcats missed a last-second field-goal attempt.

Kentucky (5-3, 2-3) had a chance to win the game as kicker Seth Hanson lined up for a 49-yard field-goal try with 10 seconds left.

But Jimmy Haley's snap went awry and holder Matt Mumme couldn't place the ball. Mumme picked up the ball but was tackled as time ran out.

Louisiana State 41, No. 24 Mississippi State 6--Kevin Faulk ran for 123 yards and broke the LSU career rushing record as the Tigers defeated Mississippi State (5-2, 3-1) at Baton Rouge, La.

After three consecutive losses, LSU (4-3, 2-3) returned to the form that had made it a preseason pick to win the conference--power running mixed with timely passes from Herb Tyler.

Faulk also scored three times as he eclipsed Dalton Hilliard's school mark of 4,050 yards set in 1982-85. Faulk also became the 11th player in NCAA history to surpass 6,000 all-purpose yards.

Mississippi 30, Arkansas State 17--Joe Gunn scored two touchdowns and broke the Mississippi freshman rushing record in leading the Rebels to victory over the Indians (3-5) at Oxford, Miss.

Gunn had 12 carries for 122 yards, giving him 467 yards for the season, as the Rebels (5-2) improved to 14-0 in nonconference games under Coach Tommy Tuberville.

Vanderbilt 17, South Carolina 14--Freshman quarterback Greg Zolman, starting his first collegiate game, overcame four turnovers to lead the Commodores at Nashville, Tenn.

Vanderbilt (1-6, 1-4) snapped a 22-game SEC losing streak dating to 1995, and an 11-game overall losing streak, third-longest in the nation.

The game was marred by seven turnovers, including three by South Carolina (1-7, 0-6), which also missed three field goals.

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