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Florida Rallies for a Wacky Win

November 12, 2000|From Associated Press

It was the kind of game in which nothing made sense, except the final score.

The left guard caught a touchdown pass. A punter had the longest run of the day. A running back and wide receiver scored on blocked punts.

Somewhere in all the madness Saturday, No. 5 Florida earned its seventh trip to the Southeastern Conference title game with a 41-21 victory over No. 21 South Carolina at Gainesville, Fla.

"It was," Gator Coach Steve Spurrier said, "a different-type game."

So different, that long after Florida, 9-1 overall and 7-1 in the SEC, gets done celebrating its SEC East title--a ritual that has become almost routine--the Gators will surely remember this as one of the weirdest, wackiest displays of football they've ever played.

"It was the wildest game I've ever been a part of," said Gator reserve quarterback Jesse Palmer, who led a Florida rally.

It left South Carolina (7-3, 5-3) bemoaning a 21-3 lead squandered and a lost chance to continue Lou Holtz's rise from 0-11 last season to SEC champions in 2000.

Still, the Gamecocks had their chance thanks to a pair of blocked punts, one returned for a score by receiver Carlos Spikes, the other by running back Derek Watson. The latter gave them a 21-3 lead in the first quarter and left The Swamp in shock.

No. 15 Mississippi State 29, Alabama 7--Dicenzo Miller and Dontae Walker each rushed for 100 yards at Starkville. Miss., as Mississippi State registered its most lopsided victory against the Crimson Tide.

Miller gained 104 yards and scored two touchdowns in 16 carries. He also caught a 13-yard touchdown pass that gave Mississippi State (7-2, 4-2) a 14-0 lead with 1:40 left in the first quarter.

Walker rushed for 117 yards in 16 carries. It was the fourth time this season Miller and Walker have run for more than 100 yards in the same game. It was Miller's sixth consecutive 100-yard game.

It was the fourth consecutive loss for Alabama (3-7, 3-4).

Mississippi State's previous largest margin of victory against Alabama was a 26-7 win in 1955.

No. 22 Auburn 29, No. 14 Georgia 26--Quarterback Ben Leard scored on a one-yard run in overtime to give the Tigers the victory at Auburn, Ala.

Rudi Johnson gained 21 of his 152 yards in overtime to set up the winning touchdown. The Tigers (8-2, 5-2) beat the Bulldogs in Jordan-Hare Stadium for the first time since 1990.

Georgia (6-3, 4-3) was limited to Billy Bennett's 25-yard field goal to start the overtime.

Tennessee 63, Arkansas 20--Freshman Casey Clausen passed for five touchdowns, three to Cedrick Wilson at Knoxville, Tenn.

Clausen completed 16 of 27 passes for 191 yards.

Travis Henry rushed for 214 yards and scored one touchdown for the Volunteers (6-3, 3-3).

Arkansas (4-5, 1-5) has lost four consecutive games for the first time since 1997 and has not won on the road this season.

Louisiana State 20, Mississippi 9--Josh Reed had eight catches for 173 yards and Domanick Davis scored two touchdowns at Oxford, Miss., as LSU ended a 10-game road losing streak.

LSU (7-3, 5-2) also broke a three-game losing streak against Mississippi and remained tied with Auburn for first place in the SEC's Western Division.

Mississippi (6-3, 3-3) was eliminated from the tightly contested West race.

LSU limited Mississippi's Deuce McAllister to 48 yards in 24 carries.

Vanderbilt 24, Kentucky 20--Greg Zolman passed for 263 yards and three touchdowns at Lexington, Ky., as the Commodores ended a three-game losing streak.

Zolman completed 17 of 29 passes without an interception for Vanderbilt (3-7, 1-6).

Kentucky's Jared Lorenzen completed 33 of 55 passes for 385 yards and two touchdowns for the Wildcats (2-8, 0-7).

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