- TOP PLAYERSOffensePABLO S. TORRE | August 20, 2012
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"You don't need to apologize, coach," Quarterback Condredge Holloway said in the still locker room. "We win together as a team and we lose together as a team."
Battle's coaching error had come as Tennessee faced fourth and two at its 28 with 2� minutes remaining. The Volunteers, after trailing 21-14 at halftime, were ahead 31-28, and Battle thought going for the first down would keep it that way. Neil Clabo went into deep punt formation, but the center snap went to short man Steve Chancey. Georgia's Bubba Wilson sacked him for a loss, and five plays later Quarterback Andy Johnson salvaged a busted play—and the game—by scrambling in with a fumbled hand-off from the eight. " Georgia didn't play well enough to win," Battle said later, "but they didn't have a stupid coach."
The victory was a crucial one for the Bulldogs, who had lost their last two. Coach Vince Dooley spurned critics calling for more passes and went with a power I running attack. His Bulldogs didn't go to the air once as they drove 81, 70 and 43 yards to scores in their first three possessions.
There were two other major upsets in the South as Kentucky rose up to knock Tulane from the unbeatens 34-7 and Florida surprised Auburn 12-8. Sonny Collins, the Southeastern Conference's leading ground gainer, romped for three touchdowns and 176 yards in 26 carries to pace the Wildcats. Tulane, held to 49 yards rushing, did not score until the fourth quarter.
Florida had not won at Auburn since 1927, or anywhere else against the Tigers since 1966. But Auburn lost three fumbles, one at its 31 to set up a Gator touchdown and did not score until the last play of the game. "I've been in this business too long to try to camouflage the situation," said Shug Jordan. "We got took to the woodshed today. Any way you look at it we took a licking, and the final score docs not give the true picture."
A stadium full of Mississippians down in Jackson got a pretty good idea of why the Southeastern Conference standings are the way they are. A rare football doubleheader saw LSU smash Ole Miss 51-14 and Alabama bust Mississippi State 35-0. The Tigers and Tide will decide who represents the SEC in the postseas n national championship derby on Thanksgiving night in Baton Rouge.
LSU's victory was its first over the Rebels in Jackson since 1934. "From the quiet in our dressing room before the game," said Charlie McClendon, "I knew we'd either explode or fall flat on our faces." The Tigers exploded, but it is Mississippi's Johnny Vaught who may have popped a cork; his team lost five fumbles.
Alabama scored in every quarter, but the real difference may have been a defense that blocked two field-goal attempts and a fourth-down pass, intercepted Mississippi State four times and threw Melvin Bark urn for a 32-yard loss when the Bulldogs were threatening on their first possession.
A couple of Eastern teams made forays into the South, and both went home winners, West Virginia upsetting Miami 20-14 and Penn State cracking stubborn Maryland 42-22. The Mountaineers' four-game losing streak ended when a 32-yard pass from Ben Williams to Marshall Mills capped a 95-yard drive. The completion came with only 22 seconds remaining.