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Title Talk Begins for Georgia

October 13, 2002|From Associated Press

After 20 years of disappointment, Georgia has that championship feeling again.

The sixth-ranked Bulldogs remained the only unbeaten team in the Southeastern Conference, building a comfortable lead and then holding up against a comeback attempt to beat No. 10 Tennessee, 18-13, Saturday at Athens, Ga.

"We set some lofty goals at the beginning of the season, and we're still in position to reach those goals," offensive tackle Jon Stinchcomb said. "We want to win championships."

Georgia (6-0, 3-0 in conference) hasn't won a conference championship since 1982, the last of three straight conference titles with Herschel Walker in the backfield. Since then, it's been nothing but frustration.

Tennessee (4-2, 1-2) had to go without starting quarterback Casey Clausen, sidelined with a shoulder injury. Third-string freshman James Banks went most of the way, replacing C.J. Leak on the third series of the game.

Tennessee used a relatively conservative game plan -- 40 rushes and 19 passes attempted -- but came up with enough big plays to get back into the game. Tennessee had nearly half of its 344 yards in the fourth quarter, when Banks completed six of six passes for 145 yards.

Georgia built its lead to 18-0 in the third quarter, but Tennessee scored two touchdowns in the fourth quarter to make it close. Derrick Tinsley scored on a 33-yard screen-pass play and Banks' 45-yard completion to Kelley Washington helped set up a five-yard halfback option touchdown pass by Tinsley to Jason Witten.

But Georgia recovered an onside kick, and Tony Milton broke off a 25-yard run on fourth and two to clinch the victory with 1 1/2 minutes remaining.

No. 18 Louisiana State 36, No. 16 Florida 7 -- The Tigers intercepted Rex Grossman four times and got their first win at Gainesville, Fla. since 1986. LSU scored touchdowns on an interception return, a fake field goal and two passes from Matt Mauck to Devery Henderson.

The victory put the Tigers (5-1, 2-0), defending conference champions, into a first-place tie in the SEC West with Mississippi, the team that defeated the Gators (4-3, 2-2) last week.

Corey Webster intercepted Grossman twice, and returned the second one 45 yards for a touchdown and a 10-0 lead late in the first quarter.

Arkansas 38, No. 24 Auburn 17 -- Fred Talley ran for 241 yards, including an 80-yard touchdown run, as Arkansas (3-2, 1-2) gained 426 yards rushing to win at Auburn, Ala. Talley subbed for an injured Cedric Cobbs, out with a toe injury, and helped Arkansas to its first 400-yard rushing game since gaining 412 against LSU in 1994. Talley had only 123 yards rushing in the first four games and gained 179 yards in the first half. Auburn is 4-2, 2-1.

No. 25 Mississippi 52, Arkansas State 17 -- Eli Manning threw for 290 yards and three touchdowns to lead the Rebels (5-1) at Oxford, Miss. The Rebels didn't punt--though they did commit four turnovers--and outgained the Indians (4-4), 508-264.

Manning was 14 of 19 with an interception and tied the school record for career touchdown passes with 43, sharing the mark with Romaro Miller. Manning's father, Archie, threw 31 touchdowns in his career at Ole Miss.

South Carolina 16, Kentucky 12 -- Ryan Brewer scored on a six-yard run with 7:54 left and South Carolina's defense held on in the closing minutes to preserve the victory at Lexington, Ky.

Trailing 16-10 after Brewer's touchdown run, the Wildcats drove to the South Carolina 7 before the drive stalled with a fourth-and-goal pass from the six falling incomplete in the end zone. Kentucky (4-2, 0-2) got the ball back in the final minute, after South Carolina (5-2, 3-1) took a safety with its punter stepping out of the end zone, but a desperation pass from the South Carolina 34 was batted down in the end zone as time expired.

Mississippi State 11, Troy State 8 -- Fred Reid ran for a career-high 111 yards and scored Mississippi State's only touchdown on a 15-yard pass from Kevin Fant as the Bulldogs won at Starkville, Miss. The victory was Mississippi State's first against a Division I-A team this season. The only other victory for the Bulldogs (2-4) this season came against I-AA Jacksonville State.

Troy State is 2-5.

Middle Tennessee 21, Vanderbilt 20 -- Dwone Hicks had a two-yard touchdown run with 52 seconds left and ReShard Lee rushed for 144 yards in 20 carries to lift the Blue Raiders (1-5) at Nashville. Vanderbilt is 1-5.

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