Quarterback Matt Mauck, defensive lineman Chad Lavalais and Louisiana State did more than enough things right in a dominating victory over Alabama. Yet no matter how overpowering the Tigers look on the field, they still need help off it.
Mauck threw for 251 yards and two touchdowns, and No. 3 LSU held the Crimson Tide scoreless until the fourth quarter in a 27-3 victory Saturday night at Tuscaloosa, Ala.
"We just have to go out and win and play our game," said Lavalais, the team's leader on defense. "You never know what's going to happen the next couple of weeks."
With representatives from the Sugar Bowl watching, the Tigers, 9-1 overall and 5-1 in the Southeastern Conference, moved within a game of Mississippi in the SEC West heading into next week's showdown in Oxford and kept pace with USC and Ohio State in the BCS standings.
LSU finishes with a tough stretch. After the game at Ole Miss, the Tigers play host to Arkansas and then could play in the SEC title game.
Mauck took advantage of soft coverage by Alabama (4-7, 2-5) to connect 12 times with Michael Clayton for 130 yards, including a 23-yard touchdown. Mauck completed 24 of 36 passes.
No. 7 Georgia 26, Auburn 7 -- Michael Johnson caught a 19-yard touchdown pass and Odell Thurman finished off Auburn with a 99-yard interception return at Athens, Ga.
The Bulldogs (8-2, 5-2) defeated Auburn (6-5, 4-3) at Sanford Stadium for the first time since 1991.
No. 9 Tennessee 59, Mississippi St. 21 -- Casey Clausen threw five touchdown passes, three to Chris Hannon, and Jabari Davis ran for two scores at Knoxville, Tenn.
The Volunteers (8-2, 4-2) remained in contention for a trip to the SEC championship game in their most productive offensive showing this season. The Bulldogs (2-8, 1-5) lost their fourth game in a row.
No. 15 Florida 24, South Carolina 22 -- Ciatrick Fason ran for 190 yards at Columbia, S.C., as the Gators clinched a share of the SEC East title. Chris Leak scored on a nine-yard run and threw a seven-yard touchdown pass to Ben Troupe to help the Gators (8-3, 6-2) rally from a 16-7 halftime deficit for their 13th consecutive victory over the Gamecocks (5-6, 2-6).
Arkansas 48, New Mexico St. 20 -- Razorback quarterback Matt Jones ran for 132 yards and had three third-quarter touchdowns to turn a close game into a rout at Fayetteville, Ark., as Arkansas (7-3) won its third in a row. New Mexico State is 3-8.
Vanderbilt 28, Kentucky 17 -- At Nashville, Jay Cutler threw four touchdown passes to help Vanderbilt end the nation's longest conference losing streak at 23. Kentucky (4-6, 1-5) had a 3-0 lead before the Commodores (2-9, 1-6) scored 21 consecutive points to take control of the game.