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Foster leads Tennessee past Mississippi State

Oct 13, 2007 - 11:42 PM STARKVILLE, Mississippi (Ticker) -- Still very much alive in the Southeastern Conference race, Tennessee could be building some momentum.

Arian Foster rushed for 139 yards and a touchdown on 21 carries leading the 25th-ranked Volunteers to a 33-21 victory over Mississippi State on Saturday.

Tennessee (4-2, 2-1 SEC East) has won three straight since its embarrassing 59-20 loss at defending national champion Florida on September 15.

"Foster had a big day and he continued to show (his ability)," Tennessee coach Phillip Fulmer said of his running back who has gained 237 yards in the last two weeks. "This is two weeks in a row that he has had big games."

The Volunteers were tested on the road, but wore down the pesky Bulldogs in the second half.

Mississippi State (4-3, 1-2 SEC West) had closed within 24-21 on Wesley Carroll's 14-yard touchdown pass to Jamayel Smith with 8:21 remaining in the third quarter.

Tennessee increased its lead on the strength of three field goals by freshman Daniel Lincoln, who made four in the contest.

"We probably played as well as we can today," Mississippi State coach Sylvester Croom said. "We had a few tough breaks and missed opportunities but still played an outstanding game."

Lincoln converted a 47-yarder with two seconds left in the second quarter to give Tennessee a 17-14 halftime lead, then kicked field goals of 29, 26 and 43 yards in the second half.

"It (ball-control offense) did wear them out," Fulmer added. "That no-huddle has a lot to do with it and our conditioning is real good."

"The big Tennessee offensive line banged into our guys, who were worn down, and that hurt us at the end," Croom admitted.

Coming off a 35-14 victory over Georgia, Tennessee's offense remained in high gear, gaining 470 yards against the Bulldogs.

Erik Ainge completed 22-of-36 passes for 259 yards and two touchdowns for the Volunteers. Tennessee featured a balanced attack, also rushing for 211 yards.

Ainge's favorite target was Lucas Taylor, who had 11 receptions for 186 yards, both career highs.

"Our running game was solid, we had some big plays in there and Lucas Taylor had a terrific day," Fulmer added.

Mississippi State grabbed a 14-7 lead on Anthony Dixon's 30-yard TD run eight seconds into the second quarter.

Tennessee pulled even on Ainge's 51-yard TD pass with 8:01 left in the first half. Ainge also tossed a four-yard scoring strike to Chris Brown in the first quarter.

Carroll completed 18-of-33 passes for 203 yards for Mississippi State.