SOUTH ROUNDUP : Tide Strikes From All Angles
Line up freshman David Palmer at flanker and he runs and catches. Put him deep and he returns kicks. Send him in at quarterback and he scores.
Palmer’s 10-yard, dodging touchdown run was the difference when No. 8 Alabama defeated Auburn, 13-6, Saturday at Birmingham, Ala.
The Crimson Tide (10-1), which beat Auburn for the second consecutive year, will play No. 15 Colorado in the Blockbuster Bowl on Dec. 28.
Auburn (5-6) won’t be going to a bowl game for the first time since 1982. This is the Tigers’ first losing season since 1981.
Palmer lined up for one play at quarterback and made it good. A 68-yard pass play from Jay Barker to Kevin Turner set up Palmer’s touchdown.
Palmer, with 39 yards rushing, was Alabama’s second leading runner behind Siran Stacy, who had 45 yards. Palmer also caught one pass for 47 yards and picked up 33 yards on two kick returns.
Matt Wethington kicked field goals of 38 and 39 yards for Alabama, and Jim Von Wyl had field goals of 26 and 22 yards for Auburn, the last coming after the Tigers moved to a first down at the Alabama one, but wound up on the five after three plays.
Palmer caught a 47-yard pass from Barker to set up Wethington’s second field goal, which gave Alabama a 13-3 lead in the third quarter.
The game was Auburn’s final one in Birmingham as the home team in the series. Future games will alternate between Auburn’s Jordan-Hare Stadium and Birmingham’s Legion Field.
No. 9 Tennessee 45, Vanderbilt 0--The Volunteers gained 606 yards against the Commodores at Knoxville, Tenn., but the defense pleased Coach Johnny Majors the most.
“We couldn’t have had a better defensive display,” Majors said. “I’d say that’s the best defensive effort we’ve ever had against an option team.”
While the defense was throttling the Vanderbilt option, Tennessee’s offense was nearly as proficient. The Volunteers had three running backs gain more than 100 yards, a first for the school.
Andy Kelly threw two touchdown passes, including one to defensive tackle Shazzon Bradley on a fake field goal, but the Volunteers’ ground game and defense dominated.
Tennessee, 9-2 overall and 5-2 in the Southeastern Conference, rushed for 415 yards while holding Vanderbilt (5-6, 3-4), the SEC’s second-ranked rushing team at 245 yards a game, to 150 in 39 carries.
The Volunteers got 145 yards and two touchdowns from James (Little Man) Stewart, 115 yards from backup Aaron Hayden and 107 from third-team tailback Mose Phillips. Wide receiver Ronald Davis added a 32-yard touchdown on a reverse.
No. 13 Clemson 33, Duke 21--Reserve quarterback Richard Moncrief ran 34 yards for one fourth-quarter touchdown and passed 34 yards to Terry Smith for another as the Tigers came from behind to beat the Blue Devils at Tokyo.
Duke threw a scare into the Tigers with scoring pass plays of 55 and 72 yards from Dave Brown to Brad Breedlove that gave the Blue Devils a 14-7 lead late in the third quarter.
Clemson, with the Atlantic Coast Conference title already clinched, ended the regular season at 9-1-1 overall and 6-0-1 in the conference. It was the 100th victory of Coach Ken Hatfield’s career.
Duke finished its season at 4-6-1 and 1-6.
Smith and Rudy Harris scored twice for Clemson. Smith also caught a 13-yard touchdown pass from DeChane Cameron and Harris scored on runs of 59 and three yards.
Southern 31, Grambling 30--Malcolm Picou blocked an extra point attempt, and Nathaniel Harrison threw a 70-yard touchdown pass to Bryan Thomas in the fourth quarter to lead Southern University to a victory over rival Grambling in the Bayou Classic in the New Orleans Superdome.
Grambling, 5-6 overall and 3-4 in the Southwestern Athletic Conference, pulled within 2-23 on Nate Singleton’s three-yard wingback reverse, but Gilad Landau missed the point-after kick.
Southern was penalized for roughing the kicker, and Landau got another chance to tie it. But Picou blocked the kick.
Grambling took a 30-24 lead on a nine-yard touchdown pass from reserve quarterback Eric Bryant to Derrick Ned as the fourth quarter began. Southern (4-7, 4-3) got the winning, 70-yard touchdown with 6:27 left.
Eddie Robinson finished his 48th season as Grambling’s coach with a record of 372-133-15.