News from the Tennessee Valley Sports

College Football Notebook


TUSCALOOSA — Alabama defensive end Wallace Gilberry’s mantra of “sacks come in bunches” continued in Saturday’s 41-34 loss to LSU.

The Tigers feature quarterback Matt Flynn running the ball, and that helped matters a little bit, because there are more chances to bring him down behind the line.

Still, Gilberry sacked Flynn three times for a combined 19 yards in losses.

Gilberry now has a career high of seven sacks for the season, but his stellar game didn’t do much to put him in a better mood following Saturday’s loss.

“You have to finish like you start, and that’s something we didn’t do,” Gilberry said. “A loss is a loss. I can make tons of excuses, but we didn’t execute. We lost our mental focus at times, and they took advantage of it.”

  • The Tigers blitzed Alabama quarterback John Parker Wilson all day Saturday. The defining play of the fourth quarter came in the final two minutes, when safety Chad Jones blasted through a hole in the offensive line, tackling Wilson and forcing him to fumble.

    Curtis Taylor fell on the ball at the Alabama 3-yard line, and LSU scored the go-ahead touchdown two plays later.

    “I think they ran it before in the game, a couple of times, and we didn’t block it either,” Saban said. “We did it one time at Florida State, and (they scored) a 71-yard touchdown.

    “So, (LSU) did it, and we couldn’t get it out fast enough, and they did a good job of covering it. That’s why they’re a good football team.”

  • The words that Les Miles said to Nick Saban were inaudible as the two ran to the midfield to meet each another following Saturday’s game.

    A large cluster of cameras surrounded the two as both bands played and LSU fans cheered. But in his post-game news conference, Saban said that Miles told him, “Good job.”

    “I just congratulated him,” Saban said. “They got a fine team, wish them well, wish them luck. If anybody’s going to have success in the league, I’d just as soon those guys have it, if we can’t have it.”

    Josh Cooper,
    Daily Sports Writer


    AUBURN — A day removed from a blowout victory, Auburn quickly turned its attention to Saturday’s rivalry game against No. 10 Georgia.

    Auburn’s roster is littered with players from the Peach State. Some of those Georgia natives addressed the team Sunday afternoon in a weekly meeting.

    Starting defensive tackle Josh Thompson of Statesboro, Ga., led the charge.

    “I’ve been thinking about (this game) for a couple weeks,” Thompson said after the meeting. “It means a lot to me. I talked to the team about it earlier. It means a lot to me, to the program, to the team. It’s going to be a big game.”

    Thompson did not go into detail about what he and others told the team. Running back Brad Lester, also from Georgia, said practice was different Sunday in preparation for the Bulldogs (7-2, 4-2 SEC).

    “We usually have a shorter practice, but we had a lot longer practice than we usually do on Sunday, trying to get ready for the game,” he said.

    Lester was not one of the ones who talked to the team Sunday. He said most of those who stood up brought up last year’s drubbing, when unranked Georgia beat then-No. 5 Auburn 37-15 in Jordan-Hare Stadium.

    Lester said teammates from Georgia voiced their displeasure upon returning to their home state after that embarrassing loss.

    “We had a team meeting and a couple guys from Georgia stood up and talked and said, ‘We don’t want that feeling when we go home after the break.’ ”

    Auburn has an open week following the match with Georgia before the Tigers host Alabama on Nov. 24.

  • Auburn emerged from Saturday’s game with no new injuries. Head coach Tommy Tuberville said most of those starters held out of the 35-3 win over Tennessee Tech should play against Georgia, including Lester.

    Lester expects to start against the Bulldogs, calling his health 100 percent.

    “I could have played Saturday,” said Lester, who suffered a thigh injury during the first quarter of the win over Ole Miss on Oct. 27. “They just kind of rested me.”

    Left tackle Ryan Pugh, who is still suffering from a lingering ankle injury he suffered against Arkansas, should play. It is unclear, though, if he or King Dunlap will start.

    Offensive line coach Hugh Nall said he will evaluate the two throughout the week. Dunlap replaced Pugh in the lineup for games at Arkansas, LSU and Saturday’s game against Tennessee Tech.

    “You don’t lose your job because of an injury, but you’re not getting a job back unless you’re fully healthy,” Nall said.

    Safety Zac Etheridge was held out of Saturday’s game for precautionary reasons, but defensive coordinator Will Muschamp said the redshirt freshman will play this weekend. Etheridge is suffering from a bruised shoulder and hip.

    Safety Aairon Savage, who played some Saturday, is almost fully recovered from an knee injury. Muschamp said he is 85 percent healthy.

    Wes Byrum is expected to return to his role as Auburn’s kickoff specialist. Byrum, suffering from a thigh bruise, has been only kicking field goals and extra points for the last two games. Austin High grad Morgan Hull and Zach Kutch kicked off against Tennessee Tech.

  • Receiver Robert Dunn said he is back in the starting rotation. Dunn returned from a two-game suspension Saturday to catch his first two touchdown passes of his career.

    Dunn said “as of right now” he is Auburn’s starting slot receiver. The junior finished with a team-high three catches for 42 yards against Tennessee Tech. He caught touchdown passes of 20 and 16 yards.

    Tuberville did not give a definitive answer when asked if Dunn would start against Georgia.

    “It was very important that Robert Dunn stepped up,” the coach said.

    Ross Dellenger,
    Daily sports writer


    KNOXVILLE — Tennessee defensive tackle Chase Nelson will miss the remainder of the season after dislocating his wrist in the 22nd-ranked Vols’ 59-7 victory over Louisiana-Lafayette, coach Phillip Fulmer said Sunday.

    The sophomore out of Tulsa, Okla., underwent surgery following Saturday’s game and will be out for eight to 10 weeks, Fulmer said.

    Wide receiver Austin Rodgers, who was limited in Saturday’s contest, was also banged up, but Fulmer said he hopes to have the Vols’ second-leading receiver back for next week’s game against Arkansas.

    “He’s got a bruised shoulder-type thing going on, so we’re hopeful that he’ll be back for the weekend,” Fulmer said. “But he’ll be limited early in the week.”


    ATHENS, Ga. — Mark Richt’s only concern about Georgia’s new star Knowshon Moreno is the freshman’s heavy workload in rushing for 541 yards the last three games.

    That could change if Thomas Brown returns from an injury for next Saturday’s game against Auburn. That’s good news for Richt, but the return of Brown also could create a delicate dilemma for the Georgia coach.

    Brown started the first six games, rushing for 413 yards.

    What happens when Richt has to determine the split of carries for Moreno, a freshman who ranks third in the Southeastern Conference in rushing, and Brown, a respected senior leader with 26 career starts

  • “I don’t know that yet,” Richt said Sunday. “A lot of it depends on how (Brown) comes back. I’m not going to try to predict anything right now.”

    Brown says Moreno hasn’t peaked.

    For a Georgia team with SEC championship hopes, that’s very good news.

    Moreno helped No. 10 Georgia continue its momentum for the visit from No. 18 Auburn by rushing for 196 yards and three touchdowns in a 44-34 victory over Troy on Saturday.

    Moreno has set career rushing highs in three straight games, running for 157 yards against Vanderbilt and 188 yards with three touchdowns against Florida before the Troy game.

    Jacksonville State

    BRENTWOOD, Tenn. — Jacksonville State’s Maurice Dupree has been named the Ohio Valley Conference special teams player of the week, the league office announced Sunday.

    Dupree, a junior return specialist, finished with 201 all-purpose yards and one touchdown after returning five kicks for 164 yards in JSU’s 24-12 road win at Samford on Saturday. It was his second OVC honor of the season.

    After the Bulldogs kicked their fourth field goal to cut the scored to 17-12 in the fourth quarter, Dupree took the ensuing kickoff and returned it 86 yards to the SU 8-yard line. Two plays later, JSU scored a touchdown to seal the Gamecocks’ eighth straight win over Samford.

    From Staff, Wire Reports

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

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