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Auburn Puts Hurt on Alabama

November 20, 2005|From the Associated Press

Unleashing a relentless pass rush, No. 11 Auburn upstaged one of the nation's stingiest defenses to remain dominant in the Iron Bowl.

Brandon Cox passed for two first-half touchdowns and the Tigers sacked Brodie Croyle 11 times in a 28-18 Southeastern Conference victory over No. 8 Alabama on Saturday at Auburn, Ala., their fourth consecutive win in this bitter rivalry.

Auburn (9-2, 7-1) clinched at least a share of the Western Division title for the fifth time in six seasons with its second straight win over a top-10 team.

With an anemic offense, Alabama (9-2, 6-2) continued a season-ending tumble with its second loss in a row after riding the nation's top scoring defense into national title contention earlier in the year.

The Tigers sacked Croyle seven times for minus-51 yards in the first half and cashed in on three short touchdown drives in the opening 11 minutes en route to a 28-7 halftime lead.

Alabama's offense couldn't muster even the hint of a comeback, allowing Auburn fans to gloat with chants of "Overrated!"

"There was no doubt who was going to win this football game after the first five or six minutes," Auburn Coach Tommy Tuberville said. "Our guys came out and made a statement."

Alabama managed only 188 yards, losing 81 on sacks.

Croyle completed 13 of 25 passes for a season-low 109 yards, many of those coming on a late drive that fell short.

No. 4 Louisiana State 40, Mississippi 7 -- JaMarcus Russell threw two touchdown passes and the Tigers (9-1, 6-1) smothered the Rebels (3-7, 1-6) at Oxford, Miss., to move a step closer to the SEC championship game.

LSU held Ole Miss to seven yards rushing and gave the Rebels their worst loss in Oxford in 56 years.

LSU can clinch its third title-game berth in five seasons by beating Arkansas next week.

No. 6 Notre Dame 34, Syracuse 10 -- Brady Quinn threw two touchdown passes and Leo Ferrine returned an interception for a touchdown, giving the Fighting Irish (8-2) a win over the Orange (1-9) at South Bend, Ind. Darius Walker, who rushed for 123 yards in 26 carries, had a three-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter.

No. 7 Virginia Tech 52, Virginia 14 -- Cedric Humes ran for 113 yards and three touchdowns and Marcus Vick threw for two more scores as the Hokies (9-1, 6-1) routed the Cavaliers (6-4, 3-4) in an ACC game at Charlottesville, Va., for their sixth win in the last seven meetings.

Virginia Tech also turned three Virginia turnovers into touchdowns and shut down quarterback Marques Hagans and the Cavalier offense.

No. 14 Georgia 45, Kentucky 13 -- D.J. Shockley threw four touchdown passes, Danny Ware scored on a 52-yard run and the Bulldogs (8-2, 6-2) wrapped up the SEC East with a rout of the Wildcats (3-7, 2-5) at Athens, Ga.

Shockley, one of the seniors honored before Georgia's final home game of the season, completed 17 of 31 passes for 159 yards in less than three quarters. Bryan McClendon caught two of the touchdown passes.

Clemson 13, No. 19 South Carolina 9 -- James Davis rushed for 145 yards and his two-yard touchdown run at Columbia, S.C., lifted the Tigers (7-4) to their eighth victory in the last nine tries against the Gamecocks (7-4).

No. 23 Boston College 31, Maryland 16 -- Jolonn Dunbar scored on a 94-yard fumble return and Ray Henderson took an interception 35 yards for a touchdown, leading the Eagles (8-3, 5-3) over the Terrapins (5-5, 3-4) in an ACC game at College Park, Md. Andre Callender had 121 yards rushing and a score for Boston College.

Alabama Birmingham 35, No. 24 Texas El Paso 23 -- Darrell Hackney threw four touchdown passes to support teammate Sam Williamson's midweek guarantee of a road victory, and the visiting Blazers (5-5, 3-4) upset the Miners (8-2, 5-2) to keep them from clinching Conference USA's Western Division title.


Andre Hall rushed for 101 yards to go over 1,000 for the season and surprising South Florida (6-3, 4-1) remained in contention for a BCS berth after a 31-16 win over Cincinnati (4-6, 2-4) in a Big East Conference game at Tampa, Fla.... Bill Snyder closed out his 17-year coaching career at Kansas State (5-6, 2-6) with his first victory since October, and the Wildcats came back from a two-touchdown deficit in the second half for a 36-28 Big 12 win over Missouri (6-5, 4-4) at Manhattan, Kan.... Darren McFadden rushed for 165 yards and became the seventh freshman in SEC history to reach 1,000 yards as Arkansas (4-6, 2-5) rolled to a 44-10 win over Mississippi State (2-8, 0-7) at Little Rock, Ark.... Brett Basanez threw for 240 yards to become the third Big Ten quarterback with more than 10,000 yards, joining Purdue's Drew Brees and Iowa's Chuck Long, in leading Northwestern (7-4, 5-3) to a 38-21 win over Illinois (2-9, 0-8) at Champaign, Ill.

Nick Hartigan ran for 229 yards and set a conference record for career touchdowns, leading Brown (9-1, 6-1) to its first outright Ivy League championship with a 52-21 victory over Columbia (2-8, 0-7) at New York. Hartigan scored three times to raise his career total to 51, surpassing the record set by Cornell's Ed Marinaro.... Clifton Dawson scored from two yards in the third overtime as Harvard (7-3, 5-2) clinched a 30-24 win over Yale (4-6, 4-3) at New Haven, Conn., to win "The Game" for an unprecedented fifth straight time.... Josh Johnson threw for 375 yards and five touchdowns as host San Diego (11-1) held on for a 47-40 victory over Morehead State (8-4) in the Pioneer Football League championship game.... James Noble rushed for a school-record five touchdowns and 248 yards Saturday to lead Cal Poly San Luis Obispo (8-3) to a 35-10 win over visiting Idaho State (5-6).

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