SOUTHEASTERN ROUNDUP : No. 6 Florida Closes In on Championship; Auburn Continues to Fade

From Associated Press

While No. 6 Florida is moving closer to a trip to New Orleans, Auburn looks as if it will be stuck at home for the holidays.

Florida rolled over the Tigers for the second year in a row, winning, 31-10, Saturday at Auburn, Ala., behind a suffocating defense and the dynamic passing combination of Shane Matthews and Willie Jackson.

Matthews threw for 264 yards and two touchdowns and ran for another score. Twelve of his passes went to Jackson, who had a touchdown and accounted for 157 receiving yards.

Four bowls had scouts at the game, but the only one that mattered to Florida, 7-1 overall and 5-0 in the Southeastern Conference, was the Sugar Bowl.

The Gators, who had the best record in the SEC last year but were ineligible for the title because of probation, would earn their first official championship and an automatic trip to New Orleans by winning their final two conference games against Georgia and Kentucky.

Auburn, on the other hand, has lost two in a row and three straight at home--the most in a season since 1977. The Tigers (4-4, 2-3) would have to win their final three games even to qualify for a 10th consecutive bowl trip and are in danger of their first losing season since 1981.

"Obviously, we got beat by a much better football team," said Auburn Coach Pat Dye, whose own team is reeling from four losses in its last five games and an NCAA investigation. "We just never managed to muster anything offensively, and then they started running the ball on us and I knew we were in for a long evening."

Last year, Auburn suffered the worst loss of the 11-year Dye era, 48-7, at Florida. But there was no chance for revenge in 1991.

"I think Auburn wanted the game badly," Coach Steve Spurrier said, "but we just had the better team."

No. 14 Tennessee 52, Memphis State 24--Tennessee set a school record for offense behind Andy Kelly's 319 yards passing and Aaron Hayden's 169 yards rushing as the Volunteers beat their cross-state rivals at Knoxville, Tenn.

Tennessee (5-2) put on an offensive show for the homecoming crowd of 96,664 in running its record to 13-0 against Memphis State (4-5).

The Vols had 603 total yards, which breaks the school record of 588, set two seasons ago against Akron.

Kelly directed scoring drives of 64, 75, 65, 75, 58, 72, 60 and 55 yards, completing 28 of 37 passes. He threw a scoring pass of 12 yards to Cory Fleming with 13 seconds left in the half to give the Volunteers a 31-17 lead at halftime and establish a season high for points in a game.

Kelly also scored twice on short runs.

Hayden scored three times, including a 67-yard burst up the middle on Tennessee's first possession of the second half.

About the only time either team was stopped was when it stopped itself. Tennessee had three turnovers, including fumbling away the opening kickoff, and punted three times. Memphis State had four turnovers and five punts.

Tennessee Coach Johnny Majors said his team's mistakes were "enough to drive me up a wall." He added, "I'm just glad this crazy game is over."

Louisiana State 25, Mississippi 22--Sophomore James Jacquet ran for 125 yards and two touchdowns, the latter a 59-yard sprint with five minutes to play, as the Tigers won an SEC game at Jackson, Miss.

The long touchdown run by Jacquet, who had carried only eight times for 21 yards and missed six games for disciplinary reasons, gave the Tigers a 25-14 lead. The score was set up when Derriel McCorvey recovered a fumble by Ole Miss quarterback Tom Luke.

Since opening with losses to Georgia and Texas A&M;, LSU (4-4, 3-1) has lost only to No. 1 Florida State and No. 6 Florida.

The Rebels (5-4, 1-4), losers of three in a row, added a late touchdown on Luke's 35-yard pass play to Vincent Brownlee with 2:50 left.

Kentucky 20, Cincinnati 17--Doug Pelfrey kicked a 53-yard field goal as time expired to lift the Wildcats (3-5) to a homecoming victory over the Bearcats (3-6) at Lexington, Ky.

Cincinnati tied the score on David Rowe's 24-yard field goal with 22 seconds left.

Copyright © 2019, Los Angeles Times
EDITION: California | U.S. & World
51°