(Saturday, October 2nd)
Final Score: (12) LSU 16, Tennessee 14
Baton Rouge, LA (Sports Network) - Stevan Ridley's touchdown with no time remaining lifted 12th-ranked LSU to a 16-14 victory over Tennessee at Tiger Stadium.
"I don't know that we can play any sloppier. I don't know if we could have planned it any poorer," said an obviously upset LSU head coach Les Miles about the unlikely win. "I think we are a very talented team. I don't think we played near to our capacities. The series of downs in the back end of that game was embarrassing to me."
LSU appeared to have lost the game with 3rd-and-goal and the ball on the Volunteers' one as time wound down, having no ability to stop the clock except for a spike. Jordan Jefferson was under center but the snap eluded him by a good 10 yards as the clock expired.
A wild celebration by Tennessee coaches and players was interrupted, though, as the Vols were called for having 13 men on the field during that play. LSU was given the ball on the one-yard line and no time left. Ridley then powered through the line for the winning score.
"We obviously had too many men on the field. We had some issues with getting time to change personnel because we were complaining about it earlier," said Tennessee head coach Derek Dooley on the final sequence. "This is hard and sometimes things happen in life that you don't understand and sometimes things happen in life that you don't think is fair, but you have to deal with it. That is where we are. We lost the game any way you look at it."
Jarrett Lee was 16-of-23 for 185 yards and one interception while Ridley finished with 123 yards on 22 carries for the Tigers, (5-0, 3-0 SEC), who face Florida at the Swamp next Saturday.
Jefferson added 100 rushing yards on five carries, including an 83-yard TD on the first play of the game. Terrence Toliver had three catches for 52 yards in the shocking victory.
"It is a great feeling to be victorious. I am just glad that we got that second opportunity to put it in the end zone. Ridley did a great job of punching it in," offered Jefferson.
Matt Simms finished 12-of-23 for 121 yards and appeared to have rushed for the winning touchdown early in the fourth quarter for the Volunteers (2-3, 0-2), who have dropped three of four.
Tauren Poole posted 109 yards and a score on 24 carries, while Gerald Jones added five receptions for 46 yards in the setback.
Trailing 14-10, Lee was picked off by LaMarcus Thompson in the end zone midway through the fourth quarter, but LSU held Poole to no gain on a 4th-and-1 from its own 31 with 5:41 to play.
Lee hit Reuben Randle to convert a third-and-short, then found Toliver to convert a 3rd-and-13 from the Tennessee 48 inside of two minutes to play. However, another third-down try to Toliver failed. On 4th-and-9 from the 33, a delay-of-game pushed the situation to 4th-and-14 from the 38, but Lee connected with Toliver for 21 yards and a first down.
Deangelo Peterson caught a seven-yard pass and Ridley rushed for a first down to the Volunteers' seven. A pass interference penalty on the next play placed the ball on the two and after an incompletion, Jefferson rushed to the one. That set up the final chain of events.
Jefferson exploded for an 83-yard touchdown on the first play from scrimmage to give LSU the lead. Tennessee responded late in the first quarter on a one-yard plunge by Poole.
LSU coughed up a chance to score early in the second when Peterson lost a fumble at the Vols' 28, but neither team contributed much offensively for the rest of the half.
An interception by Nick Reveiz at the Tigers' 38 gave Tennessee possession early in the third quarter. The drive stalled at the LSU 28 after a sack of Simms, then Michael Palardy missed a 45-yard field goal wide right to keep the game deadlocked.
LSU took a 10-7 lead on the second play of the fourth quarter as Josh Jasper booted a 31-yarder to cap an eight-play drive. Tennessee struck on the following series when Simms rolled in from the three for a 14-10 Vols edge.
"We thought that was something we could take advantage of," said Simms on his successful run. "I was happy the play was called in the red zone because I felt I should have scored on the time before. I can take abuse and I can take big hits."
LSU has won three in a row, but Tennessee holds a 20-8-3 record all- time...Tigers defensive end Sam Montgomery left the game early in the first quarter with a knee ligament issue and did not return...LSU outgained Tennessee on the ground by a 219-96 margin en route to a 434-217 advantage in total yardage...The Volunteers held a slight possession edge, taking the ball for 30:07.
10/02 22:48:10 ET