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Sixth Overtime Is the Charm for No. 10 Tennessee

October 06, 2002|From Associated Press

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Tennessee Coach Phillip Fulmer said a lack of discipline and youthful mistakes were keeping the No. 10 Volunteers from playing their best. He had nothing to complain about Saturday night.

Jason Witten caught a 25-yard touchdown pass from Casey Clausen in the sixth overtime to give Tennessee (4-1, 1-1) an exhausting 41-38 victory over Arkansas.

"This is the type of game that jells a football team. I am excited about the way we played," he said. "We had the heart and the guts to take it to them."

For the Razorbacks (2-2, 0-2), who beat Mississippi, 58-57, in a record-setting seven-overtime game last season, it was a heart-wrenching loss.

They pushed into the final overtime but had to settle for a 47-yard field goal by David Carlton in the sixth extra period before the Vols got their last chance.

"When it went into overtime, I said, 'This is our game. We're ready,' " Arkansas Coach Houston Nutt said. "This was bitter, bitter. There were a lot of times we outplayed them."

The teams kicked field goals in the first two overtimes and were held scoreless in the third.

Arkansas finally scored a touchdown in the fourth, on Matt Jones' run, but the Razorbacks couldn't convert the two-point conversion. Under NCAA rules, teams must go for two points after touchdowns starting with the third overtime.

Tennessee scored a touchdown on Clausen's 25-yard pass to Tony Brown, but the Vols also failed on the two-point conversion attempt.

Jabari Davis, who scored two touchdowns in regulation, ran from 12 yards out to start the fifth overtime for Tennessee. He fumbled, but the ball was recovered in the end zone by Troy Fleming. Clausen was then stopped on the conversion attempt.

De'Arrius Howard scored a touchdown for Arkansas, but a pass attempt on the conversion attempt was intercepted by Tennessee's Julian Battle at the goal line.

Arkansas scored two touchdowns in a 4 1/2-minute span of regulation to tie the score at 17 with 3:30 left.

The Razorbacks trailed, 17-3, after Davis scored on a 58-yard touchdown run a minute into the fourth quarter. Arkansas got the ball back, drove 60 yards and scored when Howard had a 10-yard run.

Arkansas scored next when Jones passed to Richard Smith at the 40, and Smith ran down the sideline untouched to the end zone for a 92-yard touchdown to tie it.

"The coaches have told us never to quit, and we were down seven at our own eight, I kept thinking about that," Jones said.

Clausen completed 19 of 28 passes for 291 yards and two touchdowns.

The Razorbacks lost their fifth consecutive game in Knoxville.

Mississippi 17, No. 6 Florida 14--Matt Grier returned the second of his two third-quarter interceptions 24 yards for the go-ahead touchdown and the Rebels shut out the sixth-ranked Gators in the second half at Oxford, Miss.

Mississippi (4-1, 2-0) defeated a top 10 team for the first time since 1997, when it beat No. 8 LSU on the road.

The Gators (4-2, 2-1) found themselves in a defensive struggle as Rex Grossman had four passes that were intercepted. He was 19 of 41 for 205 yards and two touchdowns.

Eli Manning was 18 for 33 for 154 yards, and for the first time in his career he didn't throw a touchdown pass as a starter. But he did become the first member of his family to beat the Gators. His brother, Peyton, was 0-4 against Florida while at Tennessee.

No. 21 Louisiana State 48, Louisiana Lafayette 0--Matt Mauck threw three first-half touchdown passes to lead the Tigers (4-1) at Baton Rouge, La. LSU gave up only six first downs to the Ragin' Cajuns (1-4). LSU scored 41 points in the first half, the most first-half points for LSU since the Tigers scored 42 against Akron on Sept. 27, 1997.

South Carolina 34, Mississippi State 10--Corey Jenkins threw for one touchdown and ran for another as the Gamecocks (4-2, 2-1) beat the Bulldogs (1-4, 0-3) at Columbia, S.C. South Carolina held Mississippi State to 97 yards of offense in the first half and did enough after halftime to win their third consecutive game.

Jenkins, a 26-year-old player who was a former first-round pick of the Boston Red Sox, had a 16-yard run as part of an 89-yard first-quarter drive that ended with Andrew Pinnock's one-yard touchdown run.

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