Gators, Spurrier Settle a Score

Share via
From Associated Press

The No. 2-ranked Florida Gators savored every point in a 52-0 payback victory Saturday over the No. 21-ranked Mississippi State in a Southeastern Conference game at Gainesville, Fla.

Sophomore Rex Grossman threw for a career-high 393 yards and five touchdowns and linebacker Andra Davis led the Gators (4-0, 2-0) to their first SEC shutout since 1996, Florida’s national-championship season.

Mississippi State (1-2, 0-2) humbled the Gators, 47-35, last year in Starkville, Miss.

Florida Coach Steve Spurrier was not apologizing afterward for having quarterback Brock Berlin pass 23 yards to Kelvin Kight for a touchdown with 1:45 left.


“And we wanted to try to score 50,” Spurrier said. “We were too close to 50 not to. Plus, they were blitzing. If they want to get mad about it, it’s OK. That’s perfectly legal.”

But Mississippi State wasn’t in a complaining mood.

“Basically, we played a team today that played a lot better than we did,” Coach Jackie Sherrill said. “There are no excuses. We just didn’t play. This is probably the worst we’ve played defensively.”

Grossman had 317 yards by halftime to surpass the 300-yard mark for the fourth consecutive game, breaking a record held by himself and Shane Matthews (1990 and 1992).

Florida recorded its first conference shutout since a 65-0 victory over Kentucky five seasons ago.

No. 7 Tennessee 26, No. 14 Louisiana State 18--Kelley Washington, a 22-year-old freshman who spent four years playing baseball in the Florida Marlins system, caught 11 passes for a school-record 256 yards and a touchdown, helping the Volunteers to a victory at Knoxville, Tenn.

All 11 passes were for first downs; five of them came on third down and one covered 70 yards for a touchdown.


The 256 yards broke a 35-year-old school record held by Johnny Mills and was the third highest total in SEC history.

The Volunteers (3-0, 2-0) avenged last year’s overtime loss to the Tigers (2-1, 0-1) by scoring on their first three second-half possessions, including a 70-yard touchdown pass from Casey Clausen to Washington.

No. 15 South Carolina 37, Alabama 36--Phil Petty threw a seven-yard touchdown pass to tight end Rod Trafford with 2:18 left at Columbia, S.C., as the 15th-ranked Gamecocks defeated the Crimson Tide for the first time ever.

South Carolina (4-0, 3-0) trailed, 36-24, with 9:01 left before its furious rally. Petty threw a 27-yard pass to Derek Watson at Alabama’s two. Watson followed with a touchdown run that brought South Carolina within 36-30.

After the Crimson Tide (2-2, 2-1) punted, Petty got things going again. He rushed twice for 12 yards, then hit Andrea Gause for a 37-yard pass to Alabama’s seven. Petty rolled right on the winning play and Trafford broke free from safety Charles Jones.

Georgia 34, Arkansas 23--Redshirt freshman quarterback David Greene threw for a season-high 298 yards and two touchdowns as the Bulldogs broke a 20-20 tie in the third quarter and defeated the Razorbacks at Athens, Ga.


Greene tossed scoring passes to split end Terrence Edwards and tight end Randy McMichael to help Georgia (2-1, 1-1) pull away from the Razorbacks (1-3, 0-3) in a second half marred because of penalties.

Musa Smith carried 25 times for 95 yards for Georgia, including a two-yard touchdown plunge in the third quarter.

Mississippi 42, Kentucky 31--Eli Manning threw for 268 yards and two touchdowns at Lexington, Ky., as the Rebels defeated the Wildcats for the fifth time in the last six meetings.

Manning completed 19 of 36 passes, including 26-and five-yard scores for the Rebels (2-1, 1-1).

Backup quarterback Jared Lorenzen entered the game late in the third quarter and led Kentucky on two scoring drives to pull the Wildcats to 35-31 with 7:39 to play. But Manning drove the Rebels 74 yards for a touchdown on Mississippi’s ensuing possession to end the threat.

The Wildcats (1-3, 0-2) have lost 11th consecutive conference games dating to the 1999 season.


Auburn 24, Vanderbilt 21--David Duval kicked a 49-yard field goal with 2:58 to play to give the Tigers (3-1, 2-0) the victory at Nashville, Tenn.

Carnell Williams rushed for 56 yards and two touchdowns as Auburn rebounded from a 31-14 loss last week at Syracuse. Lew Thomas rushed for 173 yards for Vanderbilt (1-3, 0-2).

The Commodores attempted a fake field goal on fourth and 2 from the 27 with 37 seconds left, but holder Justin Purkey was tackled for a 2-yard loss.