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College Football | SOUTHEASTERN

Desperation Turns Into Celebration for LSU

November 10, 2002|From Associated Press

Louisiana State practices desperation pass plays every Thursday, but quarterback Marcus Randall said they never work.

On Saturday, LSU made one of them work when it absolutely needed it.

Devery Henderson caught a deflected 75-yard touchdown pass from Randall as time expired to lift the No. 16 Tigers to a stunning 33-30 victory over Kentucky at Lexington, Ky.

"We always say we need to play for 60 minutes," LSU Coach Nick Saban said. "There is the reason why."

LSU (7-2, 4-1 in the conference) appeared headed for a second consecutive conference loss after Taylor Begley's 29-yard field goal with 11 seconds left put Kentucky (6-4, 2-4) ahead, 30-27.

Hundreds of blue-clad fans crowded the sidelines and were poised to charge onto the field as the Tigers got the ball back at their 13-yard line. Before the final play, the Wildcats doused Coach Guy Morriss with a cooler of Gatorade.

Randall passed to Michael Clayton at the 25, and LSU called a timeout with two seconds left. Saban gave Randall simple instructions on the sideline.

"Coach Saban just told me to throw it as far as I could," said Randall, a sophomore making only the third start of his career.

Randall took the snap, avoided the rush to his right and heaved the ball more than 60 yards.

"I've never thrown a ball that far," Randall said.

Said Kentucky cornerback Leonard Burress: "He doesn't have that strong an arm and then he throws it from his 20 to our 30."

Burress was one of eight Wildcats who had a chance to make a play on the ball.

As the ball sailed through the air, fireworks exploded out of the Kentucky scoreboard and Wildcat fans attacked the goal post at the east end zone.

At the other end of the field, Kentucky linebacker Morris Lane and two other Wildcats tipped the ball, and Henderson caught it inside the 20.

"I don't know who it was, but I thought we had a chance to intercept it," Morriss said. "I don't know just how it happened, but we had our hands on the ball."

Cornerback Derrick Tatum missed a diving tackle, and Henderson reached the end zone as Kentucky fans continued to pull on the goal post at the other end, oblivious to the incredible ending.

"I caught it, and then I slowed down," Henderson said. "I said, 'Lord, just let me get to the end zone with it.' I just kept running."

The jubilant Tigers raced to mob Henderson, who had five receptions for 201 yards and three touchdowns.

"It was the biggest play of my life," Randall said.

Kentucky fans slowly realized what had just happened. Many sat at midfield as a small group of LSU fans celebrated.

"I saw it all happen. I can't believe it," said Kentucky junior kick returner Derek Abney. "From one emotion to another, it's utter confusion."

The bitter defeat was Kentucky's 13th in a row against a ranked conference opponent.

"It's always hard when you come back in a game like this and something crazy like that happens to you," Saban said of Kentucky.


No. 7 Georgia 31, Mississippi 17 -- Terrence Edwards caught a 33-yard touchdown pass and David Greene completed 12 of 22 passes for 206 yards as the Bulldogs won at Athens, Ga., to move within one victory of clinching a spot in the SEC championship game. Georgia (9-1, 6-1) hasn't won an SEC title since 1982.

Eli Manning completed only 12 of 25 passes for 176 yards and two interceptions for Ole Miss (5-5, 2-4).

He has had eight passes intercepted in the last four games after getting only three passes picked off in the first six games.


No. 11 Alabama 28, Mississippi State 14 -- Tyler Watts completed 16 of 22 passes for 223 yards and three touchdowns, but it was the defense that bailed out the Crimson Tide at Tuscaloosa, Ala.

Watts hooked up with Triandos Luke for two touchdowns, including a 36-yard scoring play on fourth and 11 late in the third quarter to give Alabama (8-2, 5-1) its final touchdown.

The nation's No. 2 defense took over from there and gave up only 70 yards and five first downs after halftime. Mississippi State is 3-6, 0-5.


No. 23 Florida 21, Vanderbilt 17 -- Earnest Graham ran for 125 yards and a touchdown to help the Gators (7-3, 5-2) win at Nashville, Tenn. The Commodores (2-8, 0-6) have lost 12 in succession to Florida but held the Gators scoreless in the second half and had the ball with 5:41 left. But Vanderbilt couldn't move past its 34 and was stunted by illegal-substitution and holding calls.


Arkansas 23, South Carolina 0 -- Matt Jones threw two touchdown passes and Arkansas (6-3, 3-3) posted consecutive shutouts for the first time since 1974 to win at Columbia, S.C. South Carolina (5-5, 3-4) has lost three straight after starting 5-2.


Auburn 52, Louisiana Monroe 14 -- Jason Campbell completed eight of 10 passes for 184 yards and two touchdowns to help the Tigers (7-3) win at Auburn, Ala. Louisiana Monroe is 2-8.

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