Sunday, October 28, 2007

Spurrier suicidal after Orange Crush

With LSU off, I took in Tenn-S.C., oh what a game. Tennessee did all it could to lose the game, but South Carolina couldn't find its way out of the gift wrap. They lost 27-24 in OT.
"It was a good game for television, I guess, but it wasn't a very good game for us," South Carolina head coach Steve Spurrier said. "We had our chances but we weren't good enough to win the game tonight. You have to give Tennessee credit for kicking the field goal in overtime, and we couldn't make one. They tried to fumble it to us a couple of times on their last drive but we couldn't get either one of them. We couldn't cover the kickoff very well to pin them back in there. They outplayed us and they won the game. You have to give them credit."
Daniel Lincoln hit a field goal to force overtime and another to win as Tennessee recovered after blowing a three- touchdown lead to defeat 15th-ranked South Carolina, 27-24, in overtime at Neyland Stadium.
After LaMarcus Coker's 37-yard kick return gave Tennessee the ball near midfield with 1:11 remaining, Erik Ainge completed a pair of passes before the Vols picked up 18 yards on a fluke play. Arian Foster broke to the outside and was stripped cleanly, but offensive lineman Jacques McClendon fell on the ball for a first down at the Gamecocks 26. Three plays later, Ainge nearly gave the game away when he fumbled while being sacked, but Tennessee regained possession and spiked the ball in time to set up a 43-yard field goal attempt from Daniel Lincoln with five seconds remaining.
Lincoln hooked the kick badly, but a false start penalty negated the miss, and the Vols placekicker made good on his second opportunity to send the game to overtime when he hit from five yards deeper on the next snap.
Coker rumbled 12 yards for a first down on Tennessee's possession to open overtime, but the Vols ultimately had to settle for a 27-yard field goal from Lincoln.
"There will be a lot of talk about the two field goals," Lincoln said afterward. "But the kick return by LaMarcus (Coker) was huge."
The Tennessee defense, torched for 24 unanswered points in the second half, then came up with its biggest stand of the game to preserve the win. A busted flanker screen was blown up for a loss of five yards on the first snap, and the Vols defense forced fourth down when South Carolina quarterback Blake Mitchell overthrew Kenny McKinley in the corner of the end zone. Finally, Tennessee escaped when Ryan Succop's 40-yard field goal try went wide right, thanks at least in part to some pressure up the middle.
Ainge finished the game 26-for-44 passing for 216 yards and a touchdown, though the Volunteers offense sputtered in the second half. Foster carried 19 times for 75 yards and a score as Tennessee (5-3, 3-2 SEC) won for the fourth time in its last five games.
"(This was) a wonderful team win by our football team," said Tennessee head coach Phil Fulmer. "It wasn't pretty all the time, but it was a darn fine effort. This team has a really great spirit about it - a great effort team. They're fun to be around. They've been very responsive to us as coaches."

Mitchell came on in relief of starting quarterback Chris Smelley to complete 31-of-45 passes for 290 yards, with one touchdown and one costly interception. Cory Boyd rushed 20 times for 160 yards and a score, while McKinley tied a school-record with 14 catches for 154 yards and a touchdown before leaving during the overtime session with apparent leg cramps.

The Gamecocks (6-3, 3-3) went scoreless in the first half, completing a stretch of eight consecutive quarters in which they had not scored a touchdown, and ultimately lost for the second straight week.

Late in the first, Smelley completed a pass to Freddie Brown at the Tennessee 44, but Tennessee's DeAngelo Willingham jarred the ball loose and Eric Berry recovered and rumbled 52 yards before being driven out of bounds inside the Gamecocks five-yard line. Three plays later, Foster plunged in from a yard out to give the Vols a 7-0 lead with 1:14 remaining in the first.

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