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Alabama Discovers a Routto Success

November 18, 2001|From Associated Press

Behind new starters Andrew Zow and Santonio Beard, Alabama pounded away at No. 17 Auburn for 549 yards and a 31-7 victory on Saturday at Auburn, Ala., the most lopsided in the series in 24 years.

Beard ran for 199 yards and two touchdowns. Zow, a backup for nine games, was masterful in the short passing game and threw for two scores.

"Nobody expected us to win or even have a chance today," said Beard, who scored on runs of eight and 47 yards.

"It was a big win for us," Alabama Coach Dennis Franchione said. "It gets us to 5-5 and puts us in a position for a winning season, and now we can start thinking about the 'B' word."

As in bowl game. The Crimson Tide (5-5, 4-4 in the Southeastern Conference) will become bowl eligible if they defeat Southern Mississippi in two weeks.

Zow became Alabama's career passing leader and improved to 3-1 against the Tigers (7-3, 5-2).

It was the largest margin of victory in the series since Alabama's 48-21 victory in 1977.

"That was pretty ugly," Auburn Coach Tommy Tuberville said. "I knew we would have to make it to the fourth quarter to win, and we gave out way before that."

Alabama barely used its bread-and-butter option behind Zow, who replaced the more run-oriented Tyler Watts. The Tigers had been preparing all week for Watts and the option, but he hadn't recovered enough from a pulled groin.

Franchione had closed practices and put a gag order on who would start. Zow was clearly the right choice, completing 22 of 29 passes for 221 yards.

The Tigers failed to clinch the SEC Western Division title and had their 12-game home winning streak ended.

No. 23 Georgia 35, Mississippi 15--Verron Haynes rushed for a career-high 192 yards and two touchdowns in his first start at tailback as the Bulldogs grounded their pass-happy offense and ran over the Rebels at Oxford, Miss.

The Bulldogs (6-3, 5-3) defeated the Rebels (6-3, 3-3) for a fifth consecutive time. The anticipated shootout between quarterbacks David Greene of Georgia and Eli Manning of Ole Miss never developed. Manning was 35 of 47 for 233 yards and two touchdowns, but was relegated to mostly short tosses.

Greene was only eight of 14 for 93 yards and a touchdown as Georgia, without injured leading rusher Musa Smith, ran for a season-high 268 yards.

Arkansas 24, Mississippi State 21--Matt Jones made up for a critical interception by running 43 yards on a draw play to set up Cedric Cobbs' third touchdown with 1:20 to play at Fayetteville, Ark., as the Razorbacks earned their sixth consecutive victory.

Mississippi State (2-7, 1-6) had trailed by 10 midway through the fourth quarter before scoring two touchdowns to take the lead. The victory is expected to secure Arkansas (7-3, 4-3) a fourth consecutive bowl game under Coach Houston Nutt.

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