News from the Tennessee Valley Sports


Thursday results

Wake Forest 24, No. 21 Florida State 21: Riley Skinner threw a 35-yard touchdown pass to Kenneth Moore in the fourth quarter to lead Wake Forest past Florida State on Thursday night.

Skinner completed 19 of 27 passes for 215 yards and two touchdowns for the Demon Deacons (4-2, 3-1 Atlantic Coast Conference), who rallied in the second half to beat the Seminoles (4-2, 1-2) in consecutive seasons for the first time in school history.

Skinner led the Demon Deacons 82 yards in nine plays, converting three third downs during their game-winning drive. The biggest came when Skinner sidestepped a pass rush, stepped forward in the pocket and found Moore, who had a step on cornerback Jamie Robinson at the goal line, for the easy score that put Wake Forest up 21-14 with 6:41 remaining.

Florida State gave the ball right back to Wake Forest on the first play of its ensuing drive, when Chip Vaughn intercepted Xavier Lee’s deep pass at the 26. The Demon Deacons milked the clock and set up Sam Swank’s 48-yard field goal with 1:40 to play that made it a 10-point game.

Jacksonville State 42, Austin Peay 9: Quarterback Cedric Johnson rushed for 94 yards and scored four touchdowns Thursday night to help Jacksonville State beat Austin Peay.

Johnson, who also threw for 139 yards, became the first player in Jacksonville State (4-3, 3-1 Ohio Valley Conference) history to run for that many touchdowns.

His longest of the four TDs was a 69-yard run with 7 minutes left in the second quarter.

Austin Peay (4-3, 2-2) never really threatened. The Governors’ only scores came in the first quarter on a 30-yard field goal by Isaac Ziolkowski and a 6-yard run by Chris Fletcher.


TUSCALOOSA — Alabama lineman Justin Britt’s mother, Vera, remained in critical condition at Trinity Medical Center in Birmingham on Thursday with a head injury. According to a hospital spokesperson, Vera Britt is still in intensive care after undergoing a second surgery Wednesday, but has made “tremendous progress.”

Britt, who starts at left guard, missed the first three days of practice this week.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with him and his family,” Tide coach Nick Saban said. “I don’t think it’s my place to talk about that.”

In Britt’s absence, Antoine Caldwell has practiced at left guard, while Marlon Davis has worked at right guard.

? Alabama running back Terry Grant didn’t have a favorite team growing up. The Lumberton, Miss., native said he sort of rooted for all the teams in Mississippi if they were playing out-of-state opponents.

This, of course, means that Grant didn’t root for exclusively for Ole Miss, which recruited him during his senior year of high school. Grant wanted to go elsewhere, however.

“I kind of had a feeling of where I wanted to be and I felt that wasn’t the place for me,” Grant said. “My uncle took a visit up there once. He said the same things as far as I said.”

Added Ole Miss coach Ed Orgeron: “We really wanted to recruit him because of his speed. We thought he was a fantastic player.”

Josh Cooper,
Daily Sports Writer


AUBURN — Offensive coordinator Al Borges will continue to play running back Mario Fannin at slot receiver.

With running back Brad Lester returning to the rotation, Auburn’s tailback position is getting crowded. Borges is trying to get Fannin on the field some way. The redshirt freshman was the slot receiver several times against Vanderbilt.

“Now that Brad’s back, we still have to find a way to manufacture touches for all the backs,” Borges said. “We’re going to play Brad, so we’re trying to figure out things that we can do with Mario.”

Starting tailback Ben Tate and Fannin handled the running duties in Lester’s absence the first five games, but his return against Vanderbilt has cluttered the backfield and created a battle between Tate and Lester for the starting spot.

Auburn coach Tommy Tuberville prefers to rotate two running backs, giving them each “12 to 15 carries.” That may leave Fannin’s talents on the sideline, but putting him at slot gives the Tigers an extra weapon on the field.

“We’re going to try to expand (on) that a little bit,” Borges said. “Every week we try to get a little something (new).”

? For the seventh time in his 13 years as head coach, Tuberville will be making the trip into his homeland of Arkansas when Auburn faces the Razorbacks this weekend.

Tuberville grew up in Camden, Ark., about 280 miles due south of Fayetteville. He graduated from Harmony Grove High and went on to play free safety at Southern Arkansas.

As the years have passed, Tuberville said his return home is much milder than what it once was, but still, the demand for tickets from family members continues.

“They think I grow tickets over here,” Tuberville said. “They don’t understand I only get a handful, but I try to come up with them.”

The 53-year-old coach said he forwards all the calls and ticket orders to his wife and mother.

“(They) take the pressure off me,” he said.

? It is still unclear if any of Auburn’s five injured starters will play this weekend against Arkansas or will travel with the team.

Tuberville told reporters that defensive end Quentin Groves (toes) and safety Aairon Savage (knee) did not practice Thursday, but center Jason Bosley (knee) and linebacker Tray Blackmon (ankle) “took a few snaps.”

Linebacker Merrill Johnson’s (shoulder) chances of returning are bleak, as Tuberville said “a bruised shoulder; it’s not the perfect game to come back in.”

Ross Dellenger,
Daily sports writer

Texas A&M

COLLEGE STATION, Texas — Texas A&M officials admonished coach Dennis Franchione for his secretive, for-pay newsletter Thursday and said the embarrassing episode would be a factor in deciding whether he returns next season.

Franchione didn’t lose his job, but athletic director Bill Byrne said the newsletter — which delivered inside information to boosters for $1,200 a year — would be considered when he evaluates the coach after the season.

The school said it would report the results of an internal investigation to the NCAA because of possible rules violations, and Franchione was ordered to shut down his Web site, He also will receive a “letter of admonishment.”

“The Aggies are embarrassed right now,” Byrne said. “This has been a very unfortunate incident we do not want to experience again.”

A&M reported that the Web site and e-mails generated about $80,000 between 2005 and 2007. The school said Franchione’s net profit was $37,806.32.

The Associated Press

Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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