Vols Beat the Gamecocks!

October 28, 2006

Columbia, SC (cbssportsline.com/AP) --Tennessee didn't give Steve Spurrier anything to joke about Saturday night.

Erik Ainge threw two touchdown passes to Bret Smith and the eighth-ranked Vols ended a year of ugly memories from last year's loss to South Carolina with a 31-24 victory.

Spurrier has largely had his way with Tennessee (7-1, 3-1) through the years. The coach won at Neyland Stadium with Duke in 1988, then took eight of 12 games from the Vols as Gators coach from 1990-2001. And when Rocky Top supporters gleefully planned for revenge after the ball coach took over at South Carolina, he led the Gamecocks to their first win in Knoxville last fall.

That last defeat was particularly embarrassing to the Big Orange. The Vols had retired the jersey of star quarterback Peyton Manning, then outplayed South Carolina throughout, falling on Josh Brown's improbable 49-yard field goal - a victory even Spurrier described as a "miracle."

It looked like Spurrier's hex was in effect again at Williams-Brice Stadium after South Carolina (5-3, 3-3) overcame a two-touchdown deficit to lead 17-14 after three quarters.

But Ainge found Smith on a 12-yard TD pass to put the Vols (7-1, 3-1) ahead for good with 13:10 left. After forcing South Carolina to punt on its next possession, Jonathan Hefney had a 65-yard punt return to South Carolina's 5 and Arian Foster had a touchdown run on the next play.

The Gamecocks closed to 31-24 on Syvelle Newton's 1-yard TD run with 2:24 to go. Tennessee was forced to punt - Ainge was out with a bad ankle on the series - and South Carolina had one final chance. However, Newton's desperation heave was intercepted by Demetrice Morley as time ran out.


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