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Mississippi State shocks Florida

Posted: Sunday, October 24, 2004

 

  Mississippi State players Darnell Jones (33) and Clarence McDougal (29) celebrate their team's 38-31 victory over No. 20 Florida, in Starkville, Miss., Saturday, 23, 2004. AP Photo/Rogelio Solis

Mississippi State players Darnell Jones (33) and Clarence McDougal (29) celebrate their team's 38-31 victory over No. 20 Florida, in Starkville, Miss., Saturday, 23, 2004.

AP Photo/Rogelio Solis

STARKVILLE, Miss. The latest low point in Ron Zook's tenure at Florida even has the coach wondering what went wrong.

Meanwhile, Sylvester Croom's first big win at Mississippi State has given the Bulldogs and their fans a reason to believe in their first-year leader.

Jerious Norwood's 37-yard touchdown run with 32 seconds remaining lifted the Bulldogs to a 38-31 upset of the 20th-ranked Gators on Saturday.

''This is embarrassing for us,'' Zook said. ''We thought we were ready to play.''

Norwood rushed for 174 yards on 29 carries and scored twice for the Bulldogs (2-5, 1-3 Southeastern Conference), who had lost five straight since beating Tulane in their first game under Croom.

''This is just the beginning,'' Croom said. ''We're building to a championship program.''

Jeramie Johnson set up Norwood's game-winner when he intercepted Chris Leak at the Mississippi State 44 with two minutes remaining.

''All that we had done to that point basically came down to one play,'' Croom said. ''We had to have the ball back because the one thing I did not want to do was go into overtime.''

After four running plays moved the ball to the 37, Norwood took the handoff around left end, spun past a defender, then ran through another Gator at the goal line.

''I just ran to the open space,'' Norwood said. ''Next thing I knew, I was in the secondary, and after that, I was in the end zone.''

Florida couldn't get out of its own end on its final possession, and tried some trickery on its last play.

Leak passed to Dallas Baker, who lateraled to O.J. Small. He pitched back to Leak, who fumbled, and Willie Evans recovered as time expired to set off a raucous celebration.

Cowbells clanged, and fans stormed the field at the buzzer and tore down one of the goal posts.

It was reminiscent of Florida's last trip to Starkville in 2000, when the Gators had a 72-game winning streak against unranked opponents snapped in a 47-35 loss.

That was under coach Steve Spurrier, when it was big news almost anytime the Gators lost. Florida hasn't been as tough to beat under Zook, who was 8-5 in each of his first two seasons after replacing Spurrier.

This one will be especially tough for Gator Nation to deal with. Mississippi State was a 24 1/2-point underdog against Florida, and had given no indication it could even be competitive with the Gators.

The Bulldogs had lost 27 of 32 SEC games since that landmark win against Florida four years ago.

''We came to the game to whip up on them, but they just came out the better team,'' Gators receiver Andre Caldwell said. ''We are a better team than the way we played.''

Croom, the first black head football coach in SEC history, and the Bulldogs pulled out a victory that will undoubtedly go down as one of the most surprising in school history. Croom, a longtime NFL and college assistant in his first stint as a head coach, had no doubt where it ranked for him personally.

No. 13 Michigan 16, No. 12 Purdue 14

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. Freshman Michael Hart rushed for 206 yards and Garrett Rivas hit a 35-yard field goal with 2:45 to go to lift Michigan to a win.

Hart broke Ricky Powers' record for rushing yards by a Michigan freshman and also caught a touchdown pass to help the Wolverines (7-1, 5-0 Big Ten) keep pace with No. 6 Wisconsin atop the conference.

The scene was all too familiar for Purdue (5-2, 2-2), which again had a costly fumble late to lose its second game in a row after starting the season with five straight wins.

Kyle Orton was 14-for-30 for 213 yards, a touchdown and an interception for Purdue.

No. 1 USC 38, Washington 0

LOS ANGELES Matt Leinart passed for 217 yards and two touchdowns, LenDale White ran for two scores and the Trojans handed Washington its first shutout since 1981.

USC (7-0, 4-0 Pac-10) blew the game open by scoring three touchdowns in the third quarter for a 31-0 lead. Off to their best start since 1988 when they won their first 10 games, the Trojans have won 16 straight, 19 in a row at home and 27 of 28 overall.

The outcome ensured Washington's first losing season in 28 years. The Huskies (1-6, 0-4) are off to their worst start since 1973, when they lost seven of eight to begin the season.

No. 2 Oklahoma 41, Kansas 10

NORMAN, Okla. Jason White threw for 389 yards and four touchdowns for Oklahoma against a defense geared up to stop Adrian Peterson.

The Heisman Trophy winner was 27-for-44 for the Sooners (7-0, 4-0 Big 12).

Peterson, needing 99 yards to tie Emmitt Smith and Marshall Faulk as the quickest freshmen to gain 1,000 yards, gained 126 yards on 22 carries all but 23 coming in the fourth quarter. Peterson now has 1,027 yards.

Kansas (3-4, 1-3) lost its third straight to Oklahoma, this time in coach Mark Mangino's first trip back to Norman since he left Oklahoma as offensive coordinator in 2001 to take the Jayhawks' job.

No. 3 Auburn 42, Kentucky 10

AUBURN, Ala. Carnell Williams rushed for 149 yards and two touchdowns and Auburn allowed only 110 yards.

Ronnie Brown also rushed for two TDs for the Tigers (8-0, 5-0 Southeastern Conference), who overpowered the league's worst defense to overcome a stretch of sloppy play.

Auburn began the week by debuting at No. 4 in the Bowl Championship Series standings. The Tigers capped it with their fifth straight blowout win.

The Wildcats (1-6, 0-4) have dropped five consecutive games and 14 in a row against the Tigers.

Miami 45, North Carolina State 31

RALEIGH, N.C. Brock Berlin tied a school record with five touchdown passes and Devin Hester returned the opening kickoff 100 yards for another score, helping the No. 4 Hurricanes hold off the Wolfpack 45-31 Saturday night.

The Hurricanes (6-0, 3-0 Atlantic Coast Conference) allowed 440 yards 299 in the first half alone but remained the only team in the conference without a loss. They took advantage of numerous miscues by the Wolfpack (4-3, 3-2), who came in with the No. 1 defense in the country and were trying to beat a top-10 team for the first time since 2001.

T.A. McLendon ran for 145 yards for the Wolfpack.

No. 5 Florida State 20, Wake Forest 17

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. Xavier Beitia kicked a 22-yard field goal with 1:03 to play to help Florida State pull off a surprisingly close victory.

Seminoles quarterback Wyatt Sexton had a miserable day, committing three costly turnovers that nearly cost Florida State (6-1, 4-1 Atlantic Coast Conference) the game.

Florida State needed a 46-yard run by Lorenzo Booker on third-and-10 and a 14-yard pass from Sexton to Dominic Robinson on third-and-6 to set up the game-winning field goal.

No. 6 Wisconsin 24, Northwestern 12

MADISON, Wis. Anthony Davis rushed for two touchdowns and No. 6 Wisconsin beat Northwestern with star defensive end Erasmus James and his pass-rushing partner Jonathan Welsh on the sideline.

Both were out with ankle injuries but that didn't prevent the Badgers from going 8-0 for just the fourth time in the program's 115-year history.

The Badgers (5-0 Big Ten) turned to subs Joe Monty, Justin Ostrowski and Jamal Cooper to close off the edges and prevent Northwestern's mobile quarterback Brett Basanez from hurting them with his trademark rollouts and bootlegs.

Basanez was just 5-of-18 for 34 yards in the first half as the Wildcats (3-4, 2-2) fell behind 17-0.

No. 7 California 38, Arizona 0

TUCSON, Ariz. Aaron Rodgers threw three first-half touchdowns and J.J. Arrington topped 100 yards rushing for the sixth consecutive game to lead California.

Geoff McArthur broke the Cal record for career yards receiving with his 11-yard TD reception 11 seconds before halftime. McArthur caught six for 94 yards to give him 2,768 career yards, breaking Bobby Shaw's record of 2,731 set from 1994 through 1997.

No. 8 Texas 51, Texas Tech 21

LUBBOCK, Texas Vince Young had a career-high 305 yards of total offense, ran for four touchdowns and threw for another to lead Texas.

Young finished with a season-high 163 yards on 25 carries. He scored touchdowns on runs of 2, 2, 1 and 11 yards, and ran for 121 yards in the first half.

Cedric Benson, the nation's leading rusher coming in, finished with 168 yards on 38 carries and one touchdown for Texas (6-1, 3-1 Big 12). He became the sixth player in NCAA Division I history to rush for 1,000 yards in four consecutive seasons.

Sonny Cumbie completed 34-of-51 passes for 403 yards and a touchdown for the Red Raiders (4-3, 3-2).

No. 9 Utah 63, UNLV 28

SALT LAKE CITY Morgan Scalley returned the opening kickoff 90 yards for a touchdown and Alex Smith threw for three TDs and ran 70 yards for another for Utah.

The Utes (3-0 Mountain West) reached their highest point total in 10 years and improved to 7-0 for the fourth time in school history.

The Utes blocked two punts and scored their most points since running up 66 against Idaho State in 1994, which was the last time they were 7-0.

No. 10 Georgia 20, Arkansas 14

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. David Greene threw for a career-high 382 yards and two touchdowns, Thomas Brown rushed for 107 yards and Georgia held off Arkansas.

Fred Gibson caught six passes for 169 yards and a touchdown for the Bulldogs (6-1, 3-1, Southeastern Conference) and Reggie Brown had seven receptions for 107 yards.

No. 11 Tennessee 17, Alabama 13

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. Tennessee turned to its defense to turn back Alabama's late rally, and the 11th-ranked Volunteers held on for a victory with key stops and an interception in the final seconds.

The Crimson Tide (5-3, 2-3 Southeastern Conference) was trailing by a touchdown when Brian Bostick's 47-yard field goal with 6:26 left pulled Alabama within four.

Tennessee (6-1, 4-1) allowed the Tide to get to midfield on its next drive, but Omar Gaither dropped Alabama's Kenneth Darby for a loss of 3 to make it fourth-and-6.

No. 14 Virginia 37, Duke 16

DURHAM, N.C. Alvin Pearman ran for a career-high 223 yards and a touchdown, lifting Virginia over Duke.

Wali Lundy added 82 yards and two scores for the Cavaliers (6-1, 3-1 Atlantic Coast Conference), who rebounded from a lopsided loss at Florida State last week Pearman, who also had three catches for 44 yards, finished 1 yard shy of tying John Papit's single-game school record set against Washington & Lee in 1948.

No. 17 Texas A&M 29, Colorado 26, OT

COLLEGE STATION, Texas Todd Pegram kicked a 19-yard field goal in overtime and Lee Foliaki recovered a fumble on the next possession, giving Texas A&M a victory.

After Pegram made his fourth field goal of the game, Foliaki poked the ball away from Bobby Purify on the second play of Colorado's possession.

Reggie McNeal finished with 382 yards of offense and Courtney Lewis scored two touchdowns, leading the Aggies (6-1, 4-0) to their sixth consecutive win. It's A&M's longest win streak since 1998, when the Aggies won their only Big 12 championship.

No. 18 LSU 24, Troy 20

NEW ORLEANS Marcus Randall threw a 30-yard touchdown pass to David Jones with 2:18 left to give No. 18 LSU a come-from-behind 24-20 victory over Troy on Saturday night.

The Trojans (3-4) had only 36 yards of offense in the first half, but trailed only 17-10 at the break thanks to LSU turnovers. Turnovers also allowed the Trojans to stay with the Tigers (5-2) throughout the second half.

No. 19 Boise St. 33, Fresno St. 16

BOISE, Idaho Boise State showed it can play some defense, too.

The Broncos held Fresno State to 17 yards rushing, extending the nation's longest winning streak to 18 games and improving to 7-0 for the first time in school history.

Lee Marks ran for 112 yards and Tyler Jones kicked four field goals to help Boise State win its 22nd straight Western Athletic Conference game. Boise State (7-0, 4-0 WAC) is 25-2 since joining the conference in 2001.

No. 21 Arizona State 48, UCLA 42

TEMPE, Ariz. Andrew Walter threw for 415 yards and six touchdown passes, two in a wild fourth-quarter rally, to lead Arizona State to a victory.

The senior tied Danny White (1971) for the second-most TD passes in a game by an Arizona State quarterback, and his 76 career scoring throws is one shy of John Elway's 22-year-old Pac-10 record.

No. 22 Oklahoma State 20, Missouri 17

COLUMBIA, Mo. Jason Ricks kicked a 28-yard field goal with 55 seconds left and No. 22 Oklahoma State rallied from a 17-point deficit.

The Cowboys (6-1, 3-1 Big 12) drove 78 yards to set up the winning kick. The drive was kept alive when Donovan Woods connected with his brother, D'Juan Woods, for a 27-yard gain on third-and-4 from the Oklahoma State 42. Vernand Morency carried 31 times for 173 yards for the Cowboys.

Boston College 24, No. 24 Notre Dame 23

SOUTH BEND, Ind. Paul Peterson threw a 30-yard touchdown pass to Tony Gonzalez with 54 seconds left to give Boston College its fourth straight victory over Notre Dame.

A 55-yard field goal attempt by Notre Dame kicker D.J. Fitzpatrick fell well short as time expired.

The Eagles (5-2) dominated the second half after trailing 20-7 halftime, outgaining the Irish 319 yards to 122 yards and outscoring them 17-3. The Irish (5-3) were held to just 24 yards rushing in the second.

No. 25 Iowa 6, Penn State 4

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. Iowa held Penn State's offense scoreless, making Kyle Schlicher's two first-half field goals stand up.

Iowa gave the Nittany Lions (2-5, 0-4 Big ten) their final two points, conceding a safety instead of punting from its own end zone late in the fourth quarter. The strategy worked perfectly when the Hawkeyes intercepted Penn State for the fourth time.



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