ATLANTA, Ga. (WVLT) -- For three quarters, Tennessee played championship football.
But it wasn't enough.
Jonathan Zenon intercepted an Erik Ainge pass and returned it 18 yards for a touchdown to give LSU the SEC championship win over Tennessee, 21-14.
The Vols rallied after Zenon's pick, but were unable to crack the end zone. On first and ten inside the Tiger 15, Ainge threw an interception to LSU linebacker Darry Beckwith, and Tennessee never recovered.
Ainge ended the day 20-for-40 for 249 yards, two touchdowns and a pair of interceptions. His LSU counterpart, Ryan Perrilloux, was 20-of-30 for 243 yards and a score.
Tennessee took the early lead on an 11-yard pass to Chris Brown. LSU countered with two field goals, missing a third attempt to send the Vols to the locker room ahead, 7-6.
Perrilloux and the Tigers started the second half hot, driving 66 yards for the go-ahead score, making the score 13-7. LSU looked to be driving for another score, but Trindon Halliday fumbled the football and Tennessee safety Eric Berry recovered.
After the fumble, the Vols drove the length of the field, capping the drive with a six-yard touchdown pass to Josh Briscoe. After the Vols held LSU, Ainge threw the costly interception, and Tennessee was unable to catch up.
A detailed game summary follows.
Jonathan Zenon intercepted an Erik Ainge pass and returned it 18 yards for a touchdown, then Ryan Perrilloux ran for the two-point conversion to give LSU a 21-14 lead with 9:54 left in the game.
The interception came on third and five as Ainge was throwing to the wide side of the field.
Erik Ainge found Josh Briscoe on the one-yard-line on third and goal, and Briscoe lunged into the end zone to give Tennessee a 14-13 lead with 3:09 left in the third quarter.
Ainge's pass completed a nine-play, 66-yard drive, which began when Eric Berry recovered a Trindon Holliday fumble.
Daniel Lincoln missed a 30-yard field goal attempt, rendering futile an 11-play, 66-yard drive with 8:12 left in the third quarter.
Ryan Perrilloux uncorked his first two big plays of the day, a 48-yard pass to Brandon LaFell to get inside Tennessee territory, then a 27-yard touchdown pass to Demetrius Byrd on third-and-16 that gave LSU its first lead of the day, 13-7, with 11:52 left in the third quarter.
The Tigers' drive spanned 76 yards on six plays.
LSU's Colt David missed a 30-yard field goal to end the half, allowing Tennessee to head to the locker room with a 7-6 lead.
Erik Ainge led the Vols down the field on their opening drive, passing to Chris Brown over the middle for an 11-yard touchdown to put the Vols ahead, 7-0.
After that, LSU dominated the time of possession, holding the ball for more than 21 minutes, but was unable to breach the end zone. Kicker Colt David, the SEC's best, made two field goals and missed one.
Ainge was 5-of-12 for 44 yards in the first half, while Arian Foster led the Vols on the ground with 29 yards on eight carries.
LSU quarterback Ryan Perrilloux was 14-of-18 for 161 yards. He also ran the ball eight times for nine yards.
Linebacker Ryan Karl left the game with an elbow injury and will not return, according to the Vol Network.
While the Tigers
LSU's Colt David kicked a thirty-yard field goal to cap an LSU drive, making the score 7-6 Tennessee with 3:05 left in the first quarter.
However, on the ensuing kickoff, freshman Lennon Creer returned the kick to the Tiger 42-yard-line.
LSU embarked on a 63-yard drive deep inside Tennessee territory, but the Vols held the Tigers to a Colt David field goal, making the score 7-3 Tennessee with 8:29 left in the first quarter.
Chris Brown hauled in an Erik Ainge pass and ran 11 yards for the Tennessee touchdown to give the Vols a 7-0 lead three minutes into the game.
Erik Ainge opened the game with a 14-yard playaction pass to Lucas Taylor. On third and two inside LSU territory, wide receiver Gerald Jones entered the game and ran for 20 yards out of the "G-Gun" formation.
Then, on second and five, Ainge hit tight end Chris Brown across the middle for an 11-yard touchdown to give Tennessee a 7-0 lead.