No. 9 Tennessee 31, Mississippi 17
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) _ Peyton Manning passed for two touchdowns and 324 yards and freshman tailback Jamal Lewis ran for 155 yards and scored once as No. 9 Tennessee defeated Mississippi 31-17 on Saturday.
Manning was 25-of-44 with one interception in his fourth consecutive 300-yard game and Lewis, with 22 carries, gave the Volunteers (3-1, 1-1 Southeastern Conference) their first 100-yard performance by a back this season.
Lewis, a 6-foot-1, 220-pounder from Atlanta, was the first freshman to start for Tennessee since James ``Little Man″ Stewart in 1991. The first TD of Lewis’ career came on a 42-yard run with three minutes to play.
Tennessee looked sluggish through the first half in its first action since losing two weeks ago to top-ranked Florida.
Mississippi (3-2, 1-2) got on the board first with a 42-yard field goal by Steve Lindsey with 9:27 to go before intermission.
Manning led the Vols on a 83-yard, 11-play drive capped by a 20-yard TD pass to Marcus Nash to put the Vols up 7-3 with a minute left in the half. Nash caught nine passes for 127 yards in the game.
Ole Miss’ John Avery, who gained 106 yards on 20 carries, returned the second-half kickoff 30 yards only to fumble. Tennessee’s Gerald Griffin returned the ball to the Ole Miss 24 and, 19 seconds later, Manning threw to Andy McCullough for a touchdown.
Three plays later, cornerback Dwayne Goodrich intercepted a pass by Ole Miss’ Stewart Patridge and returned it 30 yards for a touchdown and a 21-3 Tennessee lead with less than two miniutes gone in the second half.
Avery broke through the line on Mississippi’s next play and went 74 yards for a touchdown.
Patridge, who was 19-of-31 for 228 yards, drove the Rebels 80 yard in eight plays, with Deuce McAllister powering in from the 1 with three minutes left to close Tennessee’s lead to 24-17.