Monday, May 21, 2018
Sports

Vols keep a promise, stun South Carolina

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Michael Palardy lived up to his word.

Palardy made a 19-yard field goal as time expired Saturday for a 23-21 victory over No. 11 South Carolina that ended the Volunteers' 19-game losing streak against ranked teams. Palardy had predicted such a scenario a day earlier in a conversation with Tennessee coach Butch Jones.

"I said, 'You've got the game-winner tomorrow, right?' " Jones said. "And he said, 'I got you, Coach.' "

The loss may have proved doubly painful for South Carolina, which had a four-game winning streak snapped. Quarterback Connor Shaw left the game after being sacked by defensive linemen Marlon Walls and Daniel McCullers with less than five minutes left. Coach Steve Spurrier said afterward that Shaw had a sprained knee.

"I think he sort of got tackled on it," Spurrier said. "It collapsed under him, he said."

Tennessee got into field-goal range on a spectacular 39-yard catch by freshman Marquez North, who snared the ball with his left hand at the South Carolina 26 while being closely covered by cornerback Ahmad Christian down the left sideline. Four straight Marlin Lane runs got the Vols to the South Carolina 2 and set up the field goal.

Palardy celebrated his winning kick by racing to join his teammates on the sideline closest to the Tennessee locker room, where they gathered to celebrate at about the 15-yard line. They later ran to the other side of the field to celebrate with Tennessee's band and students.

Vols coach Jones chest-bumped athletic director Dave Hart on his way off the field.

"It meant everything, to be honest with you," Palardy said. "It's been a long time coming."

Mike Davis rushed for 137 yards and a touchdown for South Carolina, which erased a 17-7 halftime deficit before falling. Shaw had a touchdown run and pass, though he also was 7-of-21 and threw his first interception of the season, ending a string of 177 passes without one.

"They came out, played fast, did the things we expect them to do," Davis said. "We just didn't execute."

About 250 former Tennessee players, including All-Pro selections Al Wilson and Jamal Lewis, joined the team in going through the "T" and onto the playing field before the game.

Vandy stuns No. 15 Georgia

NASHVILLE — Vanderbilt finally has its first upset of a Top 25 team under coach James Franklin, a win that had the Commodores singing with the band and dancing in the end zone.

For good measure, they likely ended No. 15 Georgia's faint hopes of a trip back to the SEC title game.

Jerron Seymour ran for a 13-yard score with 2:53 left, and Vanderbilt rallied from a 13-point deficit by scoring 17 in a row in the fourth quarter for a 31-27 victory.

The Commodores hadn't beaten a Top 25 team since Oct. 4, 2008, when they edged then-No. 13 Auburn in Nashville. They also beat Georgia in Nashville for the first time since 1991.

"When you take over a program like we did … every win has been unbelievably significant to us and every win should be significant to our fan base and to our community and to our alumni because it's an opportunity," Franklin said when asked about the meaning of the biggest win since he took over in December 2010.

Vanderbilt lost quarterback Austyn Carta-Samuels in the second quarter with an injured left leg that had him on the sideline on crutches for the second half. Franklin did not have an update.

Receiver Jordan Matthews said it was tough to see Carta-Samuels hurt and replaced by Patton Robinette.

"At the same time in the game, you got to stay focused on the mission," Matthews said. "I knew Patton was going to come in and do his job."

Georgia failed to hold a 27-14 lead with 6:24 left in the third quarter following Marshall Morgan's second field goal of the game. The Bulldogs had chances to rally, but Brendan Douglas fumbled after a catch with 1:59 left, and former Plant High standout Aaron Murray was intercepted on the final play.

NO. 1 ALABAMA 52, ARKANSAS 0: AJ McCarron threw three touchdowns and Kenyan Drake rushed for 104 yards and two scores to lead the host Crimson Tide. Alabama rolled to a 28-0 halftime lead and easily avoided catching the upset bug that struck other SEC powers. The Tide has won by the same margin over the Razorbacks two years running. It's the first time Alabama has shut out an SEC opponent two years in a row since wins over Mississippi State in 1973-74.

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Published: 05/20/18