No. 14 Tennessee 22, No. 15 Mississippi 13
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) _ Tony Thompson ran for 106 yards and scored the clinching TD on a 1-yard run as No. 14 Tennessee gained the inside track to the Sugar Bowl with a 22-13 Southeastern Conference victory over No. 15 Mississippi on Saturday.
The Vols (6-2-2 overall, 3-1-1 SEC) forced two Mississippi fumbles and intercepted two Tom Luke passes in winning before scouts from the Sugar, Gator, Peach and Liberty bowls.
Mississippi (8-2, 4-2) had a seven-game winning streak snapped.
Tennessee overcame a 7-3 Mississippi lead with 41 seconds remaining in the half when Andy Kelly hit Alvin Harper with a 1-yard scoring pass.
The Vols took charge on their second possession of the third quarter, running 7:44 off the clock during a 68-yard march. Kelly completed a pair of passes to start the drive before Thompson took over, moving the Vols to the Mississippi 3-yard line on runs of eight and five yards.
After on offside penalty against the Rebels, fullback Greg Amsler got to the 1 before Thompson circled right end for the TD and a 17-7 lead.
The march was set up by a pass interception by Darryl Hardy at the Tennessee 34.
The Vols added a 36-yard field goal by Greg Burke for a 20-7 lead.
Russ Shows took Mississippi 61 yards in five plays and hit Darrick Owens with a 29-yard scoring pass with 2:02 to play to pull the Rebels within 20-13.
Any chance Ole Miss might have had after that score was wiped out on the extra point attempt. Brian Lee’s kick was blocked and the Vols’ Floyd Miley returned it to the Mississippi end zone to give Tennessee two points and a nine-point lead.
Mississippi was penalized twice on onside kick attempts before having the ball bounce out of bounds at the Rebel 43, giving the Vols possession.
Tennessee took the game’s opening kickoff and drove to the Rebel 18 before settling for a 35-yard field goal by Greg Burke.
The quarter then turned into a succession of missed opportunities for Mississippi.
The Rebels drove to the Tennessee 16, where Luke pitched wildly on the option and Roderick Lewis recovered at the 22.
After Chauncey Godwin intercepted an end-around option pass by Tennessee’s Carl Pickens, Mississippi moved to the Vol 23. But Luke had a pass intercepted by linebacker Dewayne Dotson at the 14 to end the threat.
A 45-yard run by Marvin Courtney set the Rebels up with a first down at the Tennessee 7 late in the period and three plays later Luke passed seven yards to Darrick Owens for a touchdown and a 7-3 Rebel lead.
Jeremy Lincoln covered Mississippi’s second fumble of the half early in the second quarter at the Vols’ 38. Tennessee marched to the 12, where on fourth- and-2 the right side of the Ole Miss line stopped Greg Amsler a yard short of a first down.
Mississippi marched to the Tennessee 17 only to come away empty when Lee was wide right on a 35-yard field goal attempt.
Spurred by a 24-yard pass from Andy Kelly to Amsler that carried to the Mississippi 8-yard line, the Vols moved 80 yards in three minutes for a 10-7 lead at the half. Kelly put the Vols on top with a 2-yard pass to Harper.