News from the Tennessee Valley Sports

Kentucky football fans Kateland Fink, left, and her father Tony Fink relax on the University of Kentucky field after the Wildcats upset No. LSU 43-37in triple overtime Saturday. The SEC fined the school $50,000 for failing to prevent fans from coming onto the field after the game.
AP file photo by James Crisp
Kentucky football fans Kateland Fink, left, and her father Tony Fink relax on the University of Kentucky field after the Wildcats upset No. LSU 43-37in triple overtime Saturday. The SEC fined the school $50,000 for failing to prevent fans from coming onto the field after the game.


Southeastern Conference

Auburn’s Tray Blackmon won Southeastern Conference defensive player of the week honors, while Alabama’s Javier Arenas won the special teams award.

Kentucky quarterback Andre Woodson was named offensive player of the week.

Blackmon led Auburn with nine total tackles (six solos) in leading the Tigers to a 9-7 win at Arkansas. The Auburn defense held Arkansas to only 193 total yards, including 67 on the ground. The Razorbacks came into the game leading the SEC in rushing offense, averaging 338.4 yards per game.

Arenas returned two punts for 71 yards and four kickoffs for 93 yards in Alabama’s 27-24 win against Ole Miss. His 54-yard punt return with 8:56 left in the game set up the Crimson Tide’s game-tying touchdown drive.

Woodson completed 21 of 38 passes for 250 yards and three touchdowns in Kentucky’s 43-37 triple-overtime win against then-No. 1 LSU. His 7-yard completion to Steve Johnson in the third overtime was the game-winner.

Tennessee center Josh McNeil was offensive lineman of the week. Ole Miss’ Greg Hardy was defensive lineman of the week, and Georgia running back Knowshon Moreno was freshman of the week.

From staff reports


AUBURN — Coach Tommy Tuberville is so disappointed with his punters, he may start punting himself.

“I’m going to punt it this week if we don’t punt it any better than we did last week,” Tuberville said.

Punter Ryan Shoemaker got off to a hot start, averaging more than 45 yards a punt over his first 10 kicks. But after returning from an elbow injury, the redshirt freshman has struggled.

Auburn’s average of 38 yards a punt against Arkansas was the lowest of the year. Shoemaker was yanked after his fourth punt Saturday and replaced by true freshman Patrick Tatum, but Tatum’s wobbly boot wasn’t any better. It rolled 10 of its 41 yards.

“We were very lucky in the Florida game on punting and very lucky in (the Arkansas) game on punting,” Tuberville said. “Very lucky.”

Tuberville said the starting punting duty is “open every week.” Auburn faces No. 5 LSU on Saturday night.

“To beat real good teams, we’re going to have to do better,” Tuberville said.

  • Trailing by a point with just a minute left in the game, Auburn needed about 30 yards to set up Wes Byrum for a game-winning field goal to beat Arkansas.

    Center Jason Bosley had no qualms about conquering that goal.

    “There wasn’t any doubt in my mind,” Bosley said. “As soon as we got the ball near the 50, I was like, ‘Oh, we’ve got it. We’ve only got to go 30 yards, and Wesley’s going to make the kick.’ ”

    And that’s exactly what happened.

    Bosley and Auburn’s offensive line gave quarterback Brandon Cox time to throw. The senior took advantage, tossing a 30-yard completion to receiver Robert Dunn.

    Byrum hit a 20-yard field goal, and the Tigers beat the Razorbacks 9-7. It’s the third time this season Auburn’s two-minute drill has worked. Cox drove the Tigers downfield to beat both Kansas State and Florida.

    “We work on it every Thursday, the two-minute drill,” Bosley said. “We have complete confidence in Cox and his ability to lead us down the field.”

  • Tuberville gave his team back-to-back days off Sunday and Monday. The Tigers normally practice Sunday and then take Mondays off, but because of back-to-back road games, Tuberville gave Auburn a short holiday.

    Defensive end Sen’Derrick Marks said players spent their break in a variety of ways: “study hall, just hang around, lay around. I think a couple guys barbecued,” he said.

    Receiver Rod Smith said he spent his couple days away from the practice field “getting my rest.”

    “Two days off — can’t get better than that.” he said.

  • Auburn’s game against Ole Miss on Oct. 27 will begin at 5 p.m. at Jordan-Hare Stadium. Although homecoming is a week later against Tennessee Tech, the game with the Rebels will be an actual homecoming for the Tigers, who end a two-game road trip.

    The game was not chosen for television, but it will be available on pay-per-view. Conference games chosen for television Oct. 27 include Mississippi State-Kentucky (WZDX-54 at 11:30 a.m.), Georgia-Florida (WHNT-19 at 2:30 p.m.) and South Carolina-Tennessee (ESPN at 6:45 p.m.).

    Ross Dellenger,
    Daily sports writer


    TUSCALOOSA — Alabama coach Nick Saban said he doesn’t see any wrongdoing by defensive coordinator Kevin Steele, whose name surfaced in a 68-page report on Hoover High athletics compiled by Birmingham attorney Sam Pointer Jr.

    Pointer’s probe looked into grade changing infractions for football players at the Birmingham area high school. The report said Steele called a Hoover High administrator, informing that person that defensive tackle Josh Chapman, a Tide recruit, had grades that were below eligibility requirements. The report indicated there was no wrongdoing by Steele.

    “I did not read the report. I know that coach Steele was involved in the recruitment of the player,” Saban said. “As a policy we try to have our compliance people handle and manage all academic eligibility situations and circumstances with the (NCAA) Clearinghouse.”

    Added Saban, “I certainly don’t feel there was any wrongdoing done on our part.”

  • Alabama left guard Justin Britt returned to practice Monday, more than a week after his mother was involved in an accident.

    During the opening minutes of practice that reporters are allowed to view, Antoine Caldwell played left guard with the first team Monday. Marlon Davis played right guard, and Evan Cardwell was at center.

    “Hopefully, (Justin) will be back with the team this week if everything continues to improve with his mother and his family’s situation,” Saban said.

    Kick returner Jonathan Lowe was in a black non-contact jersey. According to Saban, he hurt his ankle last week and was unable to play against Ole Miss.

    Josh Cooper,
    Daily Sports Writer


    LEXINGTON, Ky. — The Southeastern Conference fined Kentucky $50,000 Monday for failing to prevent fans from rushing the field after the Wildcats’ triple-overtime victory over top-ranked LSU.

    It was the third violation dating back to last year for Kentucky, which was fined $5,000 for the celebration after a win last year against Georgia and $25,000 earlier this year after a victory over Louisville.

    Under the SEC policy, “access to competition areas shall be limited to participating student-athletes, coaches, officials, support personnel and properly-credentialed individuals at all times.”

    Universities are held responsible if spectators rush into the competition area.


    KNOXVILLE — Tennessee coach Phillip Fulmer says the No. 20 Vols need to improve their kicking game before taking on Alabama on Saturday.

    He said a major concern is the Crimson Tide’s leading returner, Javier Arenas, who is averaging about 22.6 yards a kickoff return and more than 16 yards as a punt returner.

    “You don’t want to mess around with that guy, and we didn’t kick it as well as we did the week before,” Fulmer said Monday. “We’re going to find out why and correct that.”

    Notre Dame

    SOUTH BEND, Ind. — Matt Carufel, who started three games at right guard for Notre Dame, has decided to withdraw from school after losing the starting job.

    “I spoke with Matt Carufel Sunday evening and he informed me that he was going to leave the team and withdraw from the University of Notre Dame,” Irish coach Charlie Weis said. “I appreciate all Matt has done for Notre Dame and wish him nothing but the best.”

    The 6-foot-5, 295-pound sophomore from Forest Lake, Minn., had started three games after Dan Wenger was injured against Michigan, but lost the job to Eric Olsen last week. Carufel missed practice and was not at the Boston College game Saturday. Carufel is the fourth sophomore to leave the program since April.


    LINCOLN, Neb. — Nebraska athletic director Steve Pederson was fired Monday, two days after the school’s once-mighty football team was rocked with its worst home loss in nearly a half-century.

    Pederson, along with coach Bill Callahan, has been heavily criticized after a series of one-sided losses this season. The most recent was a 45-14 loss to Oklahoma State on Saturday.

    Callahan’s job is apparently safe for now. Chancellor Harvey Perlman said the next athletic director would decide the fate of the football staff.


    BIRMINGHAM — Backup quarterback Joe Webb has completed 11 passes this season but has caught 22 as a receiver for UAB. He had six catches and a touchdown in the Blazers’ 26-21 win over Tulane on Saturday.

    “Joe is too good an athlete not to have on the field,” UAB coach Neil Callaway said. “The play of Joe at wide receiver gives us a mismatch sometimes with his size and athletic ability.”

    The Associated Press

    Copyright 2005 THE DECATUR DAILY. All rights reserved.
    AP contributed to this report.

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