Ainge helps Tennessee defeat South Carolina, SpurrierOct 29, 2006 - 2:12 AM COLUMBIA, South Carolina (Ticker) -- Erik Ainge helped Tennessee restore order in its rivalry with South Carolina.
Ainge threw a pair of touchdowns, including the go-ahead score early in the fourth quarter, as the eighth-ranked Volunteers posted a 31-24 Southeastern Conference victory over the Gamecocks.
Tennessee (7-1, 3-1 SEC East) had won 12 straight meetings with South Carolina before the Gamecocks posted a 16-15 victory at Neyland Stadium last year, their first under Steve Spurrier, who frequently had tormented the Volunteers while at Florida.
The Volunteers jumped out to a 14-0 first-quarter lead before surrendering 17 straight points, the final seven on a 15-yard touchdown pass from Syvelle Newton to Noah Whiteside with 4:10 to play in the third quarter.
But Ainge calmly marched the Vols down the field and gave them the lead once again, 21-17, on a 12-yard TD toss to Bret Smith, their second scoring connection of the game, with 13:10 to play. Ainge completed 21-of-29 passes for 254 yards.
After the Gamecocks went three-and-out, Jonathan Hefney returned a punt 65 yards to the 5, setting up a TD run by Arian Foster on the next play. James Wilhoit made it 31-17 with a 21-yard field goal with 5:09 to go.
Newton scored on a one-yard run with 2:24 to play to make it 31-24. South Carolina got the ball back with 1:06 left at its own 9, but the Gamecocks managed the clock poorly before Newton was intercepted by safety Demetrice Morley with no time left.
Newton went 16-of-29 for 230 yards, two touchdowns and three interceptions and also ran for 85 yards and a score for South Carolina (5-3, 3-3 East), which was beginning a brutal stretch of games.
The Gamecocks next host No. 13 Arkansas - the lone unbeaten team in SEC play - and travel to No. 9 Florida in a game certain to have plenty of hype surrounding it as Spurrier returns to "The Swamp" for the first time.
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