Tennessee
21LSU
14 - 21 Final
  for this game

LSU rallies to beat Tennessee in SEC title game

Dec 2, 2007 - 5:58 AM ATLANTA (Ticker) -- Louisiana State's future suddenly looks bright thanks to an emphatic declaration from coach Les Miles and a breakout performance by Ryan Perrilloux.

Filling in for the injured Matt Flynn, Perrilloux passed for 243 yards and a touchdown Saturday to lead fifth-ranked LSU to a 21-14 triumph over No. 14 Tennessee in the Southeastern Conference championship game.

Cornerback Jonathan Zenon scored the go-ahead touchdown on an 18-yard interception return five minutes into the fourth quarter for LSU (11-2), which secured a berth in the Sugar Bowl and still has an outside chance to compete in the BCS title game.

The win salvaged a relatively disappointing campaign for the Tigers, who were ranked No. 1 at two different points this season but suffered a pair of triple-overtime losses in SEC play.

But LSU still could find itself playing in the national title game since No. 1 Missouri and second-ranked West Virginia both lost Saturday.

Regardless of LSU's bowl destination, Miles seemed satisfied with his team's performance this season.

"I don't exactly know how votes will go, but we're the champions of the finest conference in America," Miles said. "We played Auburn, Alabama, Tennessee, Florida. I challenge any other team in America to go through this conference and come out unscathed."

The buildup to the game was overshadowed by rumors involving the status of Miles, who reportedly was considering leaving LSU to coach at Michigan, his alma mater.

ESPN erroneously reported earlier Saturday that Miles had agreed to leave for the job opening in Ann Arbor.

But Miles emphatically denied the rumor hours before the contest, calling ESPN's report "misinformation" while angrily calling himself the "head coach at LSU" during an impromptu news conference.

Miles confirmed his decision following the contest, claiming that he did not contact Michigan while declaring his satisfaction with his current job.

"I'm very fortunate to represent LSU," he said. "It's a great place. It's got everything. My family is happy. They said they want me. ... It's a very special place. I'm glad to be home."

After putting to rest the speculation concerning his future, Miles was faced with the task of winning an SEC title without Flynn, who was sidelined with an injured right shoulder.

A senior and the starting quarterback in 11 of LSU's first 12 games this season, Flynn suffered the injury November 23 in a 50-48 loss to Arkansas - a shocking defeat which dropped the Tigers from the top spot in the rankings.

But with Flynn watching from the sideline, Perrilloux effectively directed LSU's injury-plagued offense, completing 20-of-30 passes en route to being named the game's Most Valuable Player.

"The adrenaline definitely was flowing," Perrilloux said. "But the coaches, they just stayed calm. We prepared well - I felt like I prepared well - and we just came out and just executed. I just did whatever (Miles) asked me to do."

Perrilloux suffered a deep cut to his right index finger while throwing an interception late in the third quarter. But the sophomore played through the injury, finishing off the contest with his throwing hand heavily taped.

"On the interception I threw, I hit my finger on a helmet and split my finger real bad," he said. "We taped it up and kept on pushing, kept on working."

Perrilloux was aided by senior Jacob Hester, who rushed for 120 yards on 23 carries, and Trindon Holliday, who carried six times for 58 yards.

"We just tried to execute the game plan that was at hand and get the victory," Perrilloux said. "Basically it was a team effort as far as us just coming out and executing on all three phases."

Perrilloux gave LSU its first lead of the contest three minutes into the second half, rifling a 27-yard TD to Demetrius Byrd to make it 13-7.

Tennessee (9-4) reclaimed the lead with three minutes left in the third quarter when Erik Ainge found Josh Briscoe for a six-yard score to make it 14-13.

The Volunteers' defense held Perrilloux and LSU in check throughout the fourth quarter, capitalizing on an offense which lost Holliday and wide receiver Early Doucet to injuries.

But LSU's much-maligned defense stepped up, as Zenon intercepted Ainge along the left sideline and raced into the end zone untouched to give the Tigers the lead for good.

"When I saw the formation, I knew what they were going to run," Zenon said. "I had the opportunity to jump on the ball, and that's what I did."

Perrilloux rushed up the middle to convert the ensuing two-point attempt, giving LSU a 21-14 lead.

Tennessee's last-ditch effort ended when linebacker Darry Beckwith made a leaping interception at the LSU 15, sealing the Tigers' 10th SEC title and their first since 2003.

"We came together as a team and did our assignments," Beckwith said. "If it wasn't for the team doing their assignments, we wouldn't have made the interceptions."

"I was trying to throw a post to Quintin Hancock and they defended it well," Ainge said. "When you get out of the norm of what you're coached to do, and I tried to come back to something late, guys are flying over there."

Ainge finished 20-of-40 for 249 yards and two TDs for Tennessee, which fell to 2-3 all-time in SEC title games.

"(Ainge) played a heck of a football game," Vols coach Phillip Fulmer said. "I'm not going to sit here and let him take all of the blame. We could have darn sure played better in a lot of places."








  • SEC CHAMPIONSHIP
    AT ATLANTA
    NCAAF FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL
    --- --- --- --- -----
    TENNESSEE (14) 7 0 7 0 14
    LSU (5) 6 0 7 8 21 FINAL
    SCORING SUMMARY
    1ST QUARTER: TENNESSEE - TD, CHRIS BROWN 11 YD PASS FROM
    AHMAD PAIGE (DANIEL LINCOLN
    KICK), 3:00. TENNESSEE 7-0
    LSU - FG, COLT DAVID 30 YD, 6:31.
    TENNESSEE 7-3
    LSU

    Dec 1 7:47 PM
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    Tennessee(14) vs. LSU(5)Dec 1 7:34 PM


  • SEC CHAMPIONSHIP
    AT ATLANTA
    NCAAF SEC CHAMPIONSHIP
    TD LSU
    JONATHAN ZENON 18 YD INTERCEPTION RETURN
    (RYAN PERRILLOUX RUN FOR TWO-POINT CONVERSION)
    TENNESSEE (14) 14
    LSU (5) 21 9:54 LEFT, 4TH QTR

    Tennessee(14) vs. LSU(5)Dec 1 7:23 PM
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  • SEC CHAMPIONSHIP
    AT ATLANTA
    NCAAF END, 3RD QTR 1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL
    --- --- --- --- -----
    TENNESSEE (14) 7 0 7 14
    LSU (5) 6 0 7 13 END, 3RD QTR
    SCORING SUMMARY
    1ST QUARTER: TENNESSEE - TD, CHRIS BROWN 11 YD PASS FROM
    AHMAD PAIGE (DANIEL LINCOLN
    KICK), 3:00. TENNESSEE 7-0
    LSU - FG, COLT DAVID 30 YD, 6:31.
    TENNESSEE 7-3
    L

    Dec 1 6:52 PM


  • SEC CHAMPIONSHIP
    AT ATLANTA
    NCAAF SEC CHAMPIONSHIP
    TD TENNESSEE
    JOSH BRISCOE 6 YD PASS FROM AHMAD PAIGE
    (DANIEL LINCOLN KICK)
    TENNESSEE (14) 14
    LSU (5) 13 3:05 LEFT, 3RD QTR

    Tennessee(14) vs. LSU(5)Dec 1 6:42 PM


  • SEC CHAMPIONSHIP
    AT ATLANTA
    NCAAF SEC CHAMPIONSHIP
    TD LSU
    DEMETRIUS BYRD 27 YD PASS FROM RYAN PERRILLOUX
    (COLT DAVID KICK)
    TENNESSEE (14) 7
    LSU (5) 13 11:52 LEFT, 3RD QTR

    Tennessee(14) vs. LSU(5)Dec 1 6:13 PM


  • SEC CHAMPIONSHIP
    AT ATLANTA
    NCAAF HALFTIME 1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL
    --- --- --- --- -----
    TENNESSEE (14) 7 0 7
    LSU (5) 6 0 6 HALFTIME
    SCORING SUMMARY
    1ST QUARTER: TENNESSEE - TD, CHRIS BROWN 11 YD PASS FROM
    AHMAD PAIGE (DANIEL LINCOLN
    KICK), 3:00. TENNESSEE 7-0
    LSU - FG, COLT DAVID 30 YD, 6:31.
    TENNESSEE 7-3
    LSU

    Dec 1 5:41 PM
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  • SEC CHAMPIONSHIP
    AT ATLANTA
    NCAAF END, 1ST QTR 1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL
    --- --- --- --- -----
    TENNESSEE (14) 7 7
    LSU (5) 6 6 END, 1ST QTR
    SCORING SUMMARY
    1ST QUARTER: TENNESSEE - TD, CHRIS BROWN 11 YD PASS FROM
    AHMAD PAIGE (DANIEL LINCOLN
    KICK), 3:00. TENNESSEE 7-0
    LSU - FG, COLT DAVID 30 YD, 6:31.
    TENNESSEE 7-3
    L

    Dec 1 4:54 PM


  • SEC CHAMPIONSHIP
    AT ATLANTA
    NCAAF SEC CHAMPIONSHIP
    FG LSU
    COLT DAVID 30 YD
    TENNESSEE (14) 7
    LSU (5) 6 3:07 LEFT, 1ST QTR

    Tennessee(14) vs. LSU(5)Dec 1 4:47 PM
  • alamowx Go Vols!

    Tennessee(14) vs. LSU(5)Dec 1 4:44 PM
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  • SEC CHAMPIONSHIP
    AT ATLANTA
    NCAAF SEC CHAMPIONSHIP
    FG LSU
    COLT DAVID 30 YD
    TENNESSEE (14) 7
    LSU (5) 3 8:29 LEFT, 1ST QTR

    Tennessee(14) vs. LSU(5)Dec 1 4:31 PM
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  • SEC CHAMPIONSHIP
    AT ATLANTA
    NCAAF SEC CHAMPIONSHIP
    TD TENNESSEE
    CHRIS BROWN 11 YD PASS FROM AHMAD PAIGE
    (DANIEL LINCOLN KICK)
    TENNESSEE (14) 7
    LSU (5) 0 12:00 LEFT, 1ST QTR

    Tennessee(14) vs. LSU(5)Dec 1 4:19 PM
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