Saturday, January 20, 2018
Sports

Murray prevents a shocker

LEXINGTON, Ky. — As Aaron Murray was told about his record-breaking numbers, the only ones that mattered to him Saturday night were on the scoreboard.

Georgia 29, Kentucky 24.

The former Plant High standout threw four touchdowns to become the Georgia's career leader, with the first three crucial in rallying the No. 13 Bulldogs from deficits three times. The junior finished 30-of-38 for 427 yards.

Most important, Georgia stayed within reach of East-leading Florida entering next week's showdown against the Gators in Jacksonville.

"I wasn't told about the record until after game, and that's something I wasn't even worried about," Murray said. "My focus is on making corrections to get ready to go for next week."

Two of Murray's scores were to Tavarres King, who had nine receptions for 188 yards, including a 66-yard TD. Malcolm Mitchell had nine catches for 103 yards.

Arthur Lynch and Chris Conley also caught TDs for the Bulldogs, and Todd Gurley added 47 rushing yards on 12 carries.

Georgia outgained Kentucky 504-329, but the heavily favored Bulldogs weren't as dominant as they were expected to be. They allowed 206 rushing yards to the Wildcats, 100 more than their average coming in.

They didn't gain breathing room until Murray's fourth TD to Lynch, a 10-yarder midway through the fourth quarter. That proved important as Raymond Sanders' 3-yard run brought the Wildcats to within 29-24.

On special teams, kicker Marshall Morgan missed an extra point and clanked a successful one off the upright. Georgia also failed on a two-point conversion.

"The guys found a way to win," Bulldogs coach Mark Richt said. "I think we did some things well and there were other things we could've done better."

That made the Bulldogs appreciate Murray's performance even more.

"He was awesome," King said. "It was big for him to get us rolling."

Kentucky senior quarterback Morgan Newton had a hand in all of the Wildcats' scores, running and passing for a touchdown and leading a field goal drive. He played the entire second half in place of freshman Jalen Whitlow, who left the game with a migraine.

Kentucky lost its sixth in a row.

LSU shuts down Texas A&M's star QB

COLLEGE STATION, Texas — Say hello to the LSU defense, Johnny Manziel.

The No. 6 Tigers controlled the Aggies' dual-threat quarterback and rallied from an early deficit to beat the No. 20 Aggies 24-19.

Manziel, the SEC's leader in total offense and rushing entering the game, was 29-of-56 for 276 yards and three interceptions and ran for just 27 yards on 17 carries.

"Defense just had to get their feet set and understand what was going on," LSU coach Les Miles said; "get the comfort of the scheme and the habit of the throw and how to chase that quarterback. He's a gutsy, tough guy."

Said A&M coach Kevin Sumlin of the Tigers defense: "They've made life difficult on everybody they've played."

Down 12-0, LSU got the kick start it needed when freshman cornerback Jalen Collins intercepted Manziel at the LSU 39. Michael Ford gained 13 yards on a fourth and 1 then raced 20 yards down the sideline for a touchdown with 1:49 left in the half.

On the ensuing possession, Ben Malena fumbled at the A&M 41 with just more than a minute left. And Kadron Boone made an over-the-shoulder, diving catch with 11 seconds left for a 29-yard touchdown and 14-12 LSU lead.

"There's really no reason to panic when you get down," said LSU's Zach Mettenberger, who went 5-for-16 in the first half and finished 11-of-29 for 97 yards. "You just have to keep grinding away, keep focusing and keep believing. We did that."

Tide rolls past Vols

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — A.J. McCarron threw for four touchdowns and a career-high 306 yards as No. 1 Alabama beat Tennessee 44-13.

"We set the tone, and we stayed on it," said McCarron, who has 16 touchdowns and no interceptions this season. "We never let up, and that was the biggest thing Coach (Nick Saban) keeps preaching."

Tennessee forced a three-and-out on Alabama's first possession. But the Tide scored on four of its next five drives to take a 23-10 halftime lead. The lone miss came when Cade Foster was wide right on a 44-yard field goal.

The Vols' hopes for a comeback disappeared early in the third. Tyler Bray threw an incompletion on third and 1 from the Tide 33. On fourth down, linebacker A.J. Johnson took the snap out of the Vols' "Beast" formation but was stuffed.

Alabama scored touchdowns on its next three drives.

No. 15 Miss. St. 45, Middle Tenn. 3: Tyler Russell threw three touchdowns as the host Bulldogs pulled away to remain unbeaten. Mississippi State, which faces Alabama next, led just 10-3 at halftime but scored three touchdowns in the third. LaDarius Perkins started the run with a 64-yard touchdown. Perkins is one of just two Division I-A running backs with a rushing touchdown in every game this season. Soon after, Johnthan Banks' fourth interception of the season set up the second of Chris Smith's two touchdown catches, an 11-yarder. "We started fast then got sloppy, then picked it up," Russell said.

Vandy 17, Auburn 13: Zac Stacy rushed for 169 yards and the go-ahead touchdown with 7:34 left in the third for the host Commodores. The senior fumbled on his last carry, giving the Tigers the ball at their 32 with 2:24 left. But Clint Moseley overshot an open Sammie Coates on fourth and 13. "The defense had my back," Stacy said. Auburn converted 2 of 15 third downs, and Moseley was sacked five times.

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