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Auburn Shows Its Mettle, Upsets No. 9 Alabama

November 24, 2002|From Associated Press

Auburn dug deep into its tailback rotation and came up a winner.

Freshman reserve Tre Smith ran for 126 yards in 25 carries and Jason Campbell threw two touchdown passes to Robert Johnson as the Tigers upset No. 9 Alabama, 17-7, Saturday at Tuscaloosa, Ala.

"Nobody gave us a chance," said Smith, pressed into action by injuries to three players ahead of him. "Everybody was talking junk, about me especially, and the rest of the running backs."

The Tigers, 10 1/2-point underdogs, led, 17-0, at halftime and used a stifling defense to shut down the Southeastern Conference's top offense.

Auburn, 8-4 overall and 5-3 in the conference, relied on Smith against the nation's top-rated defense because of injuries to Carnell Williams (broken leg), Ronnie Brown (sprained ankle) and Chris Butler (pulled groin). Fullback Brandon Johnson also did not play.

"That's a classic case of guys not being denied," Auburn Coach Tommy Tuberville said. "We had one running back and he had [126] yards.

"It doesn't get any better than winning the Iron Bowl on the road."

The Crimson Tide (9-3, 6-2) had won five consecutive games but couldn't score on three fourth-quarter trips across midfield.

After the game, Auburn players took turns brandishing the school's banner in front of their fans before finally heading to the locker room.

"That's all they were talking about, Alabama and how they were going to blow us out of the stadium," Auburn defensive tackle DeMarco McNeil said.

Alabama turned the ball over on downs three times in the fourth quarter, the final time with 53 seconds remaining after a drive stalled at Auburn's 35 with an incomplete pass.

No. 21 Louisiana State 14, Mississippi 13 -- Marcus Randall came off the bench and threw two touchdown passes to help the Tigers rally at Baton Rouge, La. LSU (8-3, 5-2) needed the victory to stay on top in the Western Division race. The winner of Friday's game between LSU and Arkansas will play in the SEC title game against Georgia on Dec. 7. Mississippi (5-6, 2-5) lost its fifth in a row.

Randall started the second quarter and completed 13 of 20 passes for 179 yards and two touchdowns. He was sacked once and ran for 31 yards, and his 27-yard touchdown pass to Michael Clayton with 6:34 remaining erased a six-point deficit and put the Tigers ahead for good.

LSU held Mississippi to 61 yards rushing, sacked Eli Manning twice and intercepted him twice. Manning completed 19 of 38 passes for 218 yards and a touchdown.

Arkansas 26, Mississippi State 19 -- De'Arrius Howard ran for a career-high 121 yards and the Razorbacks held off a fourth-quarter rally to win at Starkville, Miss. Arkansas (8-3, 4-3) has won five in a row.

Mississippi State (3-8, 0-7) pulled to within seven on Ray Ray Bivine's 26-yard touchdown reception from Kyle York with 3:20 remaining. After the Bulldogs recovered the ensuing onside kick at their own 47, they drove to the Arkansas 20 before Tony Bua stopped York trying to scramble for a first down on fourth and five with just over a minute left.

Tennessee 24, Vanderbilt 0 -- Cedric Houston ran for 140 yards and a touchdown as the Volunteers rushed for 242 yards to win at Nashville. It was the 20th consecutive time Tennessee (7-4,4-3) defeated Vanderbilt (2-10, 0-8).

Casey Clausen started after missing Tennessee's win over Mississippi State last week because of an ankle injury.

Clemson 27, South Carolina 20 -- Bernard Rambert ran for two touchdowns, including a two-yard score with 9:38 remaining to help the Tigers win at Clemson, S.C. Rambert also had a four-yard touchdown run in the first quarter for the Tigers (7-5), who beat the Gamecocks (5-7) for the fifth time in six years.

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