Defense leads Ole Miss to upset of Gators

Posted: Sunday, October 06, 2002

OXFORD, Miss. -- Matt Grier and the rest of the Ole Miss defense shut down Florida's offense, allowing the Rebels to outscore the Gators 15-0 in the second half of their 17-14 victory Saturday.

The Rebels (4-1, 2-0 SEC) defeated a top-10 team for the first time since 1997, when they beat No. 8 LSU on the road. The victory also was one of their biggest ever in Oxford.

One week after allowing 38 points and more than 400 total yards in a narrow victory over Vanderbilt, Ole Miss' defense rose to the occasion and probably knocked the Gators (4-2) from the national-championship picture.

Florida quarterback Rex Grossman had four passes intercepted and was just 19-of-41 for 205 yards. He had two touchdowns.

Grier second interception came when Grossman threw into double-coverage. Grier caught the pass at the Florida 24 and made a nice cutback before vaulting into the end zone to give Ole Miss its first lead, 17-14, with 7:34 left in the third quarter.

Two big penalties on the same possession forced the Gators into a fourth-and-13 situation from the 30. Coach Ron Zook decided against letting shaky kicker Matt Leach attempt a potential game-tying field goal. Instead, Grossman was sacked by Eddie Strong. Leach had a 35-yard attempt blocked in the first half.

On the Gators' next possession, Grossman threw his final interception, a pass that floated over the head over Taylor Jacobs and into the arms of Travis Blanchard with 2:58 left.

Eli Manning was 18-for-33 for 154 yards and became the first member of his family to beat the Gators. His brother Peyton was 0-4 against Florida while at Tennessee, and father Archie never played the Gators while at Ole Miss.

No. 1 Miami 48, Connecticut 14

MIAMI -- Miami prepared for next week's home game against Florida State by routing Connecticut, behind Willis McGahee's 107 yards rushing and three touchdowns.

Ken Dorsey added three TD passes for the Hurricanes (5-0), who extended the nation's longest winning streak to 27.

Next up: Florida State, the team Miami calls its annual ''measuring stick.'' Miami has won two straight in the series.

No. 2 Texas 17, Oklahoma St. 15

AUSTIN, Texas -- Chris Simms passed for 267 yards and a touchdown, and Rod Babers' goal-line tackle on an attempted 2-point conversion helped Texas escape with the victory.

The Longhorns improved to 5-0 (1-0 Big 12), but they might have been looking ahead to next week's showdown against No. 3 Oklahoma.

The Cowboys (2-3, 0-1) got in position to tie the game on a 33-yard touchdown pass from Josh Fields to John Lewis with 4:04 left. On the third-and-23 play, Lewis came down with the ball near the goal line, but Babers wouldn't let him across.

No. 3 Oklahoma 31, Missouri 24

COLUMBIA, Mo. -- Oklahoma needed some trickery to counter the play of Missouri's Brad Smith, scoring a touchdown on a fake field goal with 6:33 remaining to beat the Tigers 31-24 Saturday night.

Holder Matt McCoy's perfect lob to Chris Chester, who caught the pass between two defenders, kept the Sooners unbeaten at 5-0 (1-0 Big 12).

Missouri (3-2, 0-1) drove to Oklahoma's 35 in the final 20 seconds, but Smith got sacked on fourth down.

No. 5 Ohio State 27, Northwestern 16

EVANSTON, Ill. -- Freshman Maurice Clarett ran for two scores on the way to his fourth-straight 100-yard game -- one shy of the school record -- and Mike Nugent kicked two field goals as the Buckeyes held off scrappy Northwestern.

Clarett finished with 140 yards, giving him 715 in five games, but he also fumbled three times. Craig Krenzel completed 11 of 22 passes for 170 yards and ran for 62 yards as Ohio State improved to 6-0 (2-0 Big Ten) for the first time since 1998.

It was the Buckeyes' 23rd straight victory over Northwestern (2-4, 0-2 Big Ten), a streak dating to 1971.

The Wildcats had plenty of chances to break their losing streak, but they missed two field goals and had to settle for field goals on two other possessions inside the Ohio State 10.

No. 7 Georgia 27, No. 22 Alabama 25

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- Billy Bennett kicked a 32-yard field goal with 38 seconds left as the Bulldogs recovered after blowing a 12-point fourth-quarter lead.

Thomas Davis then picked off Brodie Croyle's pass on the next play from scrimmage to seal the win for Georgia (5-0, 2-0 SEC), the last remaining unbeaten team in the conference.

The Bulldogs are off to their first 5-0 start since 1982 and snapped a seven-game losing streak in Tuscaloosa.

The Crimson Tide (4-2, 1-1 SEC) scored two touchdowns in a 63-second span midway through the fourth to take their first lead, 25-24, with 8:24 left. Croyle was stopped short on the subsequent 2-point conversion.

The Bulldogs' Musa Smith ran six straight times for 19 yards against the SEC's top run defense, setting up Bennett's kick.

No. 8 Oregon 31, Arizona 14

TUCSON, Ariz. -- Onterrio Smith tied an Oregon record with his fifth consecutive 100-yard rushing game as the eighth-ranked Ducks pulled away to beat Arizona 31-14 Saturday night in the Pac-10 opener for both teams.

Smith gained 145 yards on 28 carries, including touchdown runs of 6 and 10 yards, to tie the school mark set by Ahmad Rashad, then known as Bobby Moore, in 1971.

Jason Fife threw second-half touchdowns of 34 yards to Keenan Howry and 9 yards to Terrence Whitehead as the Ducks (5-0, 1-0 Pac-10) won their 10th in a row, the second-longest streak in NCAA Division I. Fife was 18-for-26 for 244 yards and no interceptions. He completed 11 of 12 for 138 in the second half.

No. 9 Notre Dame 31, Stanford 7

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- Shane Walton and Courtney Watson each scored on interception returns and Rashon Powers-Neal ran for a 3-yard touchdown to help Notre Dame earn a mistake-filled victory.

Irish coach Tyrone Willingham -- who was Stanford's coach for the last seven years -- joins Frank Leahy, Ara Parseghian and Jesse Harper as the only full-time Notre Dame coaches to open 5-0 in their first seasons at the school.

Stanford (1-3) is off to its worst start since opening 1998 with one win in its first nine games.

Notre Dame had a season-high 249 yards rushing as Powers-Neal gained 108 on 13 carries. Ryan Grant, who scored on a 1-yard run in the fourth quarter, finished with 103 yards on 18 carries.

No. 10 Tennessee 41, Arkansas 38, 6OT

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- Jason Witten caught a 25-yard touchdown pass from Casey Clausen in the sixth overtime to give Tennessee an exhausting win over Arkansas.

The Razorbacks, who beat Mississippi 58-57 in a record-setting seven-overtime game last season, had to settle for a 47-yard field goal by David Carlton in the sixth OT before Volunteers (4-1, 1-1 SEC) got their last chance.

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

Arkansas (2-2, 0-2) finally scored a touchdown in the next OT, on Matt Jones' run, but the Razorbacks couldn't get the 2-point conversion. Under NCAA rules, teams must go for 2 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 2-point conversion. Both teams scored TDs in the fifth overtime but, again, couldn't get the extra 2 points.

California 34, No. 12 Washington 27

SEATTLE -- Kyle Boller threw for 266 yards and a career-high five touchdowns as California snapped a 19-game losing streak to Washington.

The Golden Bears (4-2, 1-1 Pac-10) beat Washington (3-2, 0-1) for the first time since Nov. 9, 1976. They also ended the Huskies' 17-game home winning streak.

Colorado 35, No. 13 Kansas St. 31

BOULDER, Colo. -- Robert Hodge threw three touchdown passes and Chris Brown ran for 167 yards and two scores as Colorado held on to win the Big 12 opener for both teams.

Colorado (3-2) opened defense of its conference championship with 483 yards of total offense and scoring plays of 94, 85 and 71 yards.

No. 17 Washington St. 30, No. 18 USC 27, OT

PULLMAN, Wash. -- Drew Dunning kicked a tying 35-yard field goal with 1:50 left in regulation, then made another 35-yarder in overtime to lift the Cougars past Southern California.

Ryan Killeen missed a 52-yard field-goal attempt on USC's overtime possession. He earlier missed an extra point that would have won the game for the Trojans (3-2, 1-1 Pac-10) after Carson Palmer threw a 55-yard touchdown pass to Mike Williams late in the fourth quarter.

No. 20 Penn St. 34, No. 19 Wisconsin 31

MADISON, Wis. -- Zack Mills guided Penn State on seven scoring drives, Robbie Gould kicked four field goals and Jimmy Kennedy had four sacks as Penn State became the first team this season to take advantage of Lee Evans' absence.

Larry Johnson had 171 all-purpose yards for the Nittany Lions (4-1, 1-1 Big Ten) before leaving with a hamstring injury in the second half.

The Badgers (5-1, 0-1) were hoping to have Evans, their star receiver, back for the conference game, but still was unable to play because of a left knee injury.

No. 21 LSU 48, Louisiana-Lafayette 0

BATON ROUGE, La. -- Matt Mauck threw three first-half touchdown passes to lead LSU.

LSU (4-1) allowed the overmatched Ragin' Cajuns just six first downs in the game. Louisiana-Lafayette had 17 yards rushing and 53 yards passing. The Tigers had 205 yards rushing, 154 passing.

Texas Tech 48, No. 23 Texas A&M 47, OT

COLLEGE STATION, Texas -- Kliff Kingsbury threw his fifth touchdown pass in overtime and Robert Treece followed with the extra point as Texas Tech rallied from an 18-point deficit.

The Aggies' loss spoiled a stellar performance by quarterback Dustin Long, who threw seven touchdown passes to set a Big 12 record. His last score was a 3-yard strike to Terrence Thomas in the extra period that put Texas A&M ahead 47-41.

But John Pierson missed the extra point -- his second one of the game -- to leave the door open for the Red Raiders (4-2).

No. 24 Iowa 31, Purdue 28

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Brad Banks threw a 7-yard touchdown pass to Dallas Clark on fourth-and-goal with 1:07 left to rally the Hawkeyes.

Iowa (5-1, 2-0 Big Ten) trailed 28-24 with five minutes left before coming back. On the game-winning drive, Banks led the Hawkeyes 87 yards in eight plays with no timeouts. Banks started the drive with a 44-yard run.

Purdue (3-3, 1-1) had a fourth-quarter rally of its own, led by freshman quarterback Brandon Kirsch, who came in after Kyle Orton left with a minor head injury midway through the third quarter. Kirsch took the Boilermakers to the Iowa 25 late in the game, but his pass was intercepted by Adolphus Shelton.

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