By The Associated Press
BATON ROUGE, La. — LSU twice rallied from second-half deficits and once again coach Les Miles employed a little trickery on fourth down, allowing the No. 12 Tigers to beat fifth-ranked Alabama 24-21 on Saturday.
Rueben Randle had 125 yards receiving to lead LSU (8-1, 5-1 SEC), including a 75-yard score on a pass from Jordan Jefferson.
The Tigers trailed 14-13 when Miles called an audacious reverse on fourth-and-1 in the fourth quarter. The 23-yard gain set up Stevan Ridley’s go-ahead 1-yard plunge.
Greg McElroy completed 21 of 34 passes for 223 yards and touchdown passes to Trent Richardson and Julio Jones. But he was intercepted and fumbled on a sack in his own territory, which allowed the Tigers to take a 10-point lead inside the last 6 minutes.
Alabama (7-2, 4-2) could not recover.
Tennessee overpowers Memphis 50-14: MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — Freshman quarterback Tyler Bray, starting his first game for Tennessee, threw for 325 yards and five touchdowns Saturday night to lead the Volunteers to a 50-14 victory over Memphis.
The victory snapped a four-game losing streak for Tennessee (3-6), which was never threatened after the first quarter. Bray, who took over the helm last week from junior Matt Simms, picked apart the young Memphis secondary from the start.
Tauren Poole rushed for 101 yards, and scored twice — once on a 21-yard run and another on a 9-yard pass from Bray.
The Vols would end the night with 510 yards of offense, including 379 through the air. The 50 points matched Tennessee’s largest scoring output of the season.
Memphis (1-8) lost its sixth straight. It marked the fifth straight game where the Tigers, ranked 118th out of 120 teams in scoring defense, have surrendered at least 40 points.
Newton, No. 3 Auburn roll over Tennessee-Chattanooga, 62-24: AUBURN, Ala. (AP) — The game was easy for Cam Newton and No. 3 Auburn. If the Tigers’ star quarterback faced any stress Saturday, it came after their 62-24 victory Saturday against Chattanooga.
Facing questions about an NCAA investigation into his recruitment, Newton insisted he has broken no rules.
“I haven’t done anything wrong,” Newton said. “I’m an Auburn athlete, and I’m still playing for Auburn. I love Auburn, and that’s all I’ve got to say.”
The Heisman Trophy contender received a warm reception from fans two days after allegations came out that a man tried to solicit payment from Mississippi State for Newton to play there.
With the off-the-field distractions as a backdrop, Newton and the Tigers (10-0) churned out 48 points and 484 yards in the first half against the Football Championship Subdivision Mocs (5-4), who have lost all 21 meetings.
Newton passed for a career-high 317 yards and four touchdowns and ran for a fifth, all in the first half. In fact, the scores came in the first 17 minutes, and he looked as if he was playing catch with his receivers at times against the overmatched Mocs. The Tigers racked up 628 yards on 54 plays.
The week hadn’t been nearly so pleasant for Newton. The NCAA is reviewing his recruitment out of junior college. Former Mississippi State quarterback John Bond said he was approached by an ex-teammate — identified by ESPN.com as Kenny Rogers — who told him that “a specified payment would have to be made” for Newton to play for the Bulldogs.
Asked if he had ever met Rogers, he said: “Unfortunately, sir, I wish I could talk about it right now but I can’t. That’s how it goes.”
Newton was also asked why he wasn’t allowed to answer questions about the allegations.
“I’m not sure, sir. I wish I could,” he said. “I don’t think it’s right for me to talk about it right now.”
His coach, Gene Chizik, declined comment on when Auburn learned about the Mississippi State situation. The normally even-tempered Chizik bristled at the questions about Newton and whether perception of the player’s character had taken a hit.
“Let me tell you something. This is a great kid,” Chizik said. “I can speak intelligently on that one. This is a great kid. And you can go back and you can talk to elementary coaches, high school, this is a great kid and he’s been a great kid at Auburn University every day he’s been around me, this staff and his teammates.
“I don’t know what’s out there and I don’t know what hits you’re talking about, but I can assure you this: this is a phenomenal young man. Make no mistake about that.”
He’s a pretty good quarterback, too.
“He’s probably the best player we’ll ever see or play against at our level and that’s why he’s probably going to win the Heisman Trophy,” Mocs coach Russ Huesman said.
Fans cheered Newton loudly as he ran back and forth across the student section three times
after the game, high-fiving students.
Davis, No. 17 Arkansas swamps No. 18 Gamecocks
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — Ryan Mallett threw for 303 yards, Knile Davis tied a career high with three touchdowns and No. 17 Arkansas handed 18th-ranked South Carolina its worst home loss in five years, 41-20, on Saturday night.
Davis rushed for 110 yards, including scoring runs of 2, 21 and 1 yard for the Razorbacks (7-2, 4-2 Southeastern Conference) who won for the fourth time in five games. Mallett was 21 for 30, tossed a TD pass and ran for a score.
The Gamecocks (6-3, 4-3) hadn’t been beaten this badly at Williams-Brice Stadium since a 48-7 win by Auburn in coach Steve Spurrier’s debut season of 2005. Yet, they can still take the SEC East title and reach their first league title game by beating Florida at The Swamp next Saturday.
South Carolina is 0-12 in Gainesville, Fla.
Arkansas brought the country’s second-best air attack and the league’s top passer in Mallett into Williams-Brice. The Razorbacks were missing injured receiver Greg Childs, out of the season with a knee injury, but it didn’t slow down Mallett. He got things started with a 4-yard TD pass to Cobi Hamilton, who moved into Childs’ spot and caught seven passes for 111 yards.
But it was Davis who continually eluded defenders and tied his career high for touchdowns set last month against Ole Miss.
Davis went over 100 yards on the ground against the SEC’s best defense vs. the run. And kicker Zach Hocker hit a career-long 51 yard field goal, the Razorbacks longest since 1992.
Kentucky defeats Charleston Southern 49-21
LEXINGTON, Ky. — Mike Hartline passed for 272 yards and two touchdowns, and Kentucky pulled away from Charleston Southern 49-21 on Saturday.
The Buccaneers tied Kentucky 14-14 with just less than 6 minutes left in the second quarter but Kentucky rallied with two touchdowns before halftime. Kentucky (5-5) won its 19th consecutive non-conference game, a streak dating back to 2006.
The win was Kentucky’s second since Sept. 25, the result of several close calls in the Southeastern Conference. Now one win away from bowl eligibility, Kentucky has two games left to earn that sixth win: Nov. 13 against Vanderbilt and Nov. 27 at Tennessee.
“We need this momentum, we need this feeling,” Kentucky coach Joker Phillips said. “We’ve been in this locker room for five our of the last six weeks that we haven’t had this feeling. So I think this is the momentum that we need to carry us through the rest of the season.”
Kentucky struggled to take advantage of opportunities given to it by the Buccaneers, especially in the first half. On Kentucky’s first play from scrimmage, a pass from Hartline to wide receiver Randall Cobb was batted around and almost intercepted. With the opportunity to take a two-touchdown lead in the second quarter, Hartline lofted a pass toward the end zone, which Buccaneers’ defensive back Chris Kuzdale picked.
Cobb finished with 101 yards and a touchdown on four catches. Cobb has scored or passed for a touchdown in nine of Kentucky’s 10 games this season.
“I don’t think guys were motivated as much as they needed to be today,” Cobb said. “It is kind of hard to get motivated for games like these, but you have to find a way and you have to continue to push through it.”
Gators coast into SEC East showdown with 55-14 win
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The Florida Gators and coach Urban Meyer have what they wanted: A one-game playoff for the right to play for the Southeastern Conference title.
Chris Rainey blocked two punts and caught a 40-yard touchdown pass from John Brantley as Florida routed Vanderbilt 55-14 Saturday, setting up a showdown with South Carolina for the SEC Eastern Division title next week.
“It’s not how you start, it’s how you finish, and I think we’re finishing strong,” Meyer said. “Obviously, it’s championship week in Gainesville, Fla. So we’re going to get back to work as soon as we can, and everybody’s excited about it.”
The Gators (6-3, 4-3) will host the Gamecocks with the winner advancing to the SEC championship in Atlanta. Florida is trying to get back for a third straight year.
Vanderbilt (2-7, 1-5) lost its fourth straight, ensuring a second straight losing season under first-year coach Robbie Caldwell. The Commodores trailed 41-0 when Ryan van Rensberg blocked a punt Javon Marshall recovered and ran in for a touchdown.
“Rough day at the office,” Caldwell said. “We got beat in every phase.”
Murray leads Georgia past Idaho State 55-7
ATHENS, Ga. (AP) — Aaron Murray had time to recover from a slow start against overmatched Idaho State.
He knows he won’t have that luxury in next week’s game at No. 3 Auburn.
Murray threw three touchdown passes in the second quarter, including two to A.J. Green, and Georgia overwhelmed Idaho State 55-7 on Saturday.
Georgia (5-5) led only 6-0 before scoring 35 points in the second quarter against the FCS Bengals. Murray completed only 5 of 11 passes for 39 yards in the sluggish opening quarter.
“I definitely wasn’t as accurate as I would like to be in the first quarter,” said Murray, who threw three interceptions and lost a fumble in last week’s 34-31 overtime loss to Florida.
“Next week at Auburn, you never know what play is going to win the game. I have to make sure next week I really focus on every play.”
Murray said his passing improved after quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator Mike Bobo told him to concentrate on using his legs and for a complete throwing motion.
Murray passed for 168 yards and three touchdowns in the second period and finished 19 of 27 passing for 228 yards and three touchdowns.
“For whatever reason, Aaron was a little off early,” said coach Mark Richt. “Every quarterback has a moment or two where he’s not as sharp as he ought to be. Once we got some touchdowns on the board, Murray started putting it on the money. He settled in and played well after that.”
Murray threw touchdown passes of 3 and 46 yards to Green, who had six catches for 103 yards and then turned his attention to Auburn.
“Auburn is a great team, and we are looking forward to the game,” Green said. “It’s going to be a great challenge but also a great opportunity.”