KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- LSU can forget last year's
disappointment against No. 8 Tennessee. The No. 13 Tigers have
their own comeback to celebrate.
JaMarcus Russell hit Early Doucet with a 4-yard touchdown pass
with 9 seconds left to give LSU a 28-24 win over the Volunteers on
Saturday, and end the Volunteers' chances of winning the
Southeastern Conference title.
Russell's third touchdown pass of the game gave the Tigers (7-2,
3-2 Southeastern Conference) their first road win of the season and
revenge for last year's Volunteers' victory at Tiger Stadium.
"Our guys will remember this one," LSU coach Les Miles said.
"If you wanna define who we are, if you wanna write who we are,
that's who were are right there."
Last year in Baton Rouge, La., in LSU's first home game after
hurricane Katrina and Rita, the Vols overcame a 21-point deficit to
win 30-27 in overtime.
On Saturday, No. 8 Tennessee (7-2, 3-2) almost got another
comeback. The Vols went ahead 24-21 after redshirt freshman
Jonathan Crompton, playing for injured starter Erik Ainge,
completed a 54-yard touchdown pass to Robert Meachem with 7:29
The Tigers got the ball back with plenty of time, and Russell
methodically led them down the field, milking the clock all the
Russell appeared to score on a run from the Tennessee 7 when he
flipped into the end zone, but officials ruled he was out of bounds
at the 4. On the next play, Doucet caught Russell's pass in the end
zone, a throw intended for Dwayne Bowe.
LSU's sideline erupted and spilled onto the field. Order was
restored for the kickoff, but Tennessee only had 5 seconds to
score. Not enough.
Russell finished 24-for-36 for 247 yards. He also ran for 71
The LSU players and coaches stayed afterward to celebrate with
their fans. It was the Tigers' second win in Neyland Stadium, and
they had to overcome four turnovers to earn it.
"I was still in the game. I knew I just had to go out and fight
and sacrifice my body and myself and be willing to do whatever it
takes to help my team," said Russell, who had three passes
LSU's top-rated defense made it tough for Crompton and the Vols'
The Vols were held to 248 total yards and had the ball for less
than 19 minutes. LSU rolled up 478 yards.
"It will hurt tonight and we can allow it to maybe hurt
tomorrow, and then come Monday we have to get ready to go to
Arkansas and play and win that game," Tennessee coach Phillip
Fulmer said. "This team still has a lot to look forward to."
The loss ended Tennessee's chances of chasing down Florida in
the East division race. The Gators' victory over Vanderbilt
combined with the Vols' loss gives Florida a spot in the league
Ainge started the game and played the first quarter but was
limping and couldn't get much going. He sprained his right ankle
last week against South Carolina.
Fulmer said he took Ainge out after got hurt again early in the
After LSU went ahead 21-17 at the end of the third quarter, the
game turned wild with turnovers on three straight possessions in
the fourth quarter.
The final giveaway, Bowe's fumble recovered by Ryan Karl set up
the Vols at the LSU 46.
On the next play, Crompton saw Meachem streaking for the end
zone and threw it between two defenders. Meachem caught it and
stretched his arm across the goal line.
Coming into the game, Crompton had played in four games this
"I honestly thought we could win that game and it honestly hurt
when we didn't," said Crompton, who was 11-for-24 for 183 yards.
Keiland Williams' 7-yard touchdown run put LSU ahead 21-17 at
the end of the third quarter.
The Tigers had cut the lead to 17-14 with 9:38 left in the third
quarter on Bowe's 5-yard touchdown catch, the school-record 22nd of
Tennessee went ahead 17-7 two plays into the second half when
Russell overthrew a receiver, and Tennessee's Demetrice Morley
caught it and ran 31 yards for the score.
Russell was shaken up on LSU's first possession when Tennessee's
Xavier Mitchell grabbed his right leg and tried to pull him down.
Backup Matt Flynn took over the Tigers' next series, but Russell
returned for the next possession and led an 80-yard drive at the
start of the second quarter. He completed a 23-yard touchdown pass
to Buster Davis to go up 7-0.
"Their quarterback is a major-league player in every since of
the word, physically, and he did a great job I thought mentally,"
Tennessee tied it with Crompton's 37-yard pass to Meachem, and
Wilhoit added a 24-yard field goal to go up 10-7 at halftime.
Top 25 Overview
It was over when... JaMarcus Russell hit Early Doucet with a 4-yard touchdown pass with 9 seconds left in the game.
Gameball goes to... Russell. Despite three interceptions, Russell redeemed himself on the game-winning drive, converting a fourth-and-8 on his way to the game-winner.
Stat of the game... 2. The victory was only LSU's second in Neyland Stadium.