"What's money when it comes to beating Alabama?" So said a Neyland Stadium official after Tennessee fans had torn down both goalposts (estimated cost: $1,700 apiece) after a 35-28 upset of the Crimson Tide.
Vol rooters had plenty to cheer about right from the start, Tackle Mike Casteel recovering an Alabama fumble at the Tide 11 on the first play from scrimmage. Minutes later Fuad Reveiz, a sophomore from Bogot�, Colombia, who resides in Miami and hopes to become a U.S. citizen soon, kicked the first of four field goals, a 22-yarder. But two interceptions by Cornerback Jeremiah Castille set up TDs, to give 'Bama a 21-13 lead at the half.
After another Reveiz field goal, Alan Cockrell put Tennessee ahead 24-21 with a 39-yard scoring pass to Wingback Mike Miller and a two-point throw to Tight End Kenny Jones. Altogether, Cockrell hit on 18 of 29 attempts for 192 yards, including a 52-yard bomb to Wide Receiver Willie Gault, the world-class hurdler.
The Vols are not a running team, yet they stayed on the ground all the way during a nine-play, 80-yard march early in the fourth period. Tailback Chuck Coleman wrapped up that lengthy drive with a 34-yard scoring burst that, coupled with another Cockrell-to-Jones PAT pass, put Tennessee in front by a score of 35-21.
Then Alabama geared up. There was 5:04 left when Halfback Linnie Patrick raced 14 yards for a score that pulled the Tide to within seven points. On its next possession 'Bama made it to the Vol 17 with 0:30 left on the clock. On second down, Defensive Back Lee Jenkins deflected a pass an instant before Tide Split End Jesse Bendross could grab it in the end zone. On the next play, Quarterback Walter Lewis fired the ball to Split End Darryl White in the end zone. White leaped and got a hand on the ball, but it bounced into the air when he was hit by Jenkins and Safety Bill Bates. Defensive End Mike Terry sealed Tennessee's triumph by picking off the ball 17 seconds before time ran out. And then the goalposts came down.
Auburn's Lionel (Little Train) James returned four punts for 104 yards, rushed for 75 yards, caught one pass and scored once during a 24-0 defeat of Georgia Tech. That left the Tigers in a tie for the Southeastern Conference lead with Georgia, which beat Vanderbilt 27-13. The Bulldog offense was lackadaisical most of the day and the scrappy Commodores held the Dawgs to a 13-13 standoff through three periods before being done in during the final 15 minutes. Georgia's Herschel Walker powered his way to 172 yards and one touchdown in 38 carries.
Kentucky trailed only 17-10 at halftime against Louisiana State before being wrecked by fumbles. In all, the Wildcats lost four of eight fumbles en route to a 34-10 setback.
SEC teams took two games from Texas squads, Mississippi beating TCU 27-9 and Florida defeating West Texas State 77-14. Wayne Peace of the Gators hit on 15 of 17 passes for 289 yards.
Mississippi State led 7-3 at intermission in Miami. The Hurricanes then scuttled their ineffective passing game, ran for 185 yards in the final two quarters and finished on top 31-14. Fullback Speedy Neal scored three touchdowns as Miami wound up with 281 yards on the ground, its highest rushing total in two years.