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SOUTHEASTERN

Gators and Tigers Pull Surprises

October 12, 2003|From Associated Press

Fire Florida's Ron Zook and Auburn's Tommy Tuberville? Louisiana State's Nick Saban or Arkansas' Houston Nutt for coach of the year? Think again.

Zook's Gators, given up for dead last week after a home loss to Mississippi, stunned No. 6 LSU, 19-7, at Baton Rouge, La.

Tuberville's Tigers, who started 0-2 after preseason predictions of a national championship, shocked No. 7 Arkansas, 10-3, at Fayetteville, Ark.

Florida freshman quarterback Chris Leak, making his third start, completed 18 of 30 passes for 229 yards and two touchdowns as the Gators (4-3, 2-2 in the Southeastern Conference) made it look easy against the Tigers (5-1, 2-1).

"I have been saying all along, we are a good football team," Zook said. "We made some mistakes today, but I think we will continue to improve and continue to believe. We just happened to beat a good football team today."

Auburn (4-2, 3-0) moved into first place in the SEC West behind the running of Carnell Williams, who had 150 yards and a touchdown in 35 carries.

"The thing about [Williams] is he's durable," Tuberville said. "He has as much energy in the fourth quarter as he does in the first."

The Tigers shut down Cedric Cobbs, the league's top rusher, who was held to 78 yards -- 62 below his average. Arkansas (4-1, 1-1) was averaging 247.8 yards on the ground.

No. 8 Georgia 41, No. 13 Tennessee 14 -- David Greene completed 22 of 27 passes for 228 yards and one touchdown as the Bulldogs (5-1, 3-1) moved atop the SEC East by routing the Volunteers at Knoxville, Tenn.

It was the worst home loss for Tennessee (4-2, 2-2) since Florida's 31-0 victory in 1994.

The game turned when Tennessee, trailing 13-7, was driving for a go-ahead touchdown, but quarterback Casey Clausen fumbled and Georgia's Sean Jones picked it up and ran 92 yards for a touchdown as time ran out in the first half.

Mississippi State 35, Memphis 27 -- Kevin Fant threw two touchdown passes, Nick Turner ran for two scores and Fred Reid returned a kickoff 100 yards at Starkville, Miss., as the Bulldogs (2-4) defeated the Tigers (3-3) for the 10th consecutive time.

Mississippi State Coach Jackie Sherrill and Memphis Coach Tommy West appeared to exchange angry words after the game. As Sherrill and West converged near midfield for a customary postgame handshake, West appeared to become upset with Sherrill. The two were nose-to-nose for several seconds before parting ways.

West intimated that Sherrill wanted West to send Memphis defensive coordinator Joe Lee Dunn a message. Dunn, who was fired last season by Sherrill after seven seasons at Mississippi State, was critical of Sherrill and the way he was dismissed during the week leading to the game.

Mississippi 55, Arkansas State 0 -- Eli Manning completed 23 of 36 passes for 306 yards and three touchdowns as the Rebels (4-2) routed the Indians (3-3) in a nonconference game at Oxford, Miss. Manning moved ahead of Florida's Rex Grossman for eighth place on the SEC's career completion list with 692.

Navy 37, Vanderbilt 27 -- Craig Candeto ran for two touchdowns and passed for two others to lead the Midshipmen (4-2) past the Commodores at Nashville, Tenn.

Navy trailed, 17-14, at halftime but used the nation's top-ranked rushing offense to take control in the second half by scoring on five possessions and holding the ball for 21 minutes, 30 seconds. Vanderbilt (1-6) has lost five in a row.

Alabama 17, Southern Mississippi 3 -- Shaud Williams ran for 170 yards and two touchdowns and the Crimson Tide (3-4) blocked a punt in the fourth quarter to end a three-game losing streak at Tuscaloosa, Ala. The Golden Eagles fell to 3-3.

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