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Defense helps Auburn edge Tennessee

Sep 27, 2008 - 11:09 PM AUBURN, Alabama (Ticker) -- Defensive lineman Jake Ricks recovered a fumble in the end zone for a touchdown in the second quarter and 16th-ranked Auburn held on for a 14-12 triumph over Tennessee on Saturday.

Chris Todd passed for 93 yards and a score with one interception for the Tigers (4-1, 2-1 SEC West), who racked up just 230 yards from scrimmage.

Montario Hardesty had a 2-yard rushing TD for the Volunteers (1-3, 0-2 East), who were held to 192 yards of total offense.

Auburn took a 14-6 lead with 7:06 left in the first half when Tennessee quarterback Jonathan Crompton and running back Arian Foster fumbled the exchange near their goal line. Ricks won the race to the ball and dove on it in the end zone.

It was not the first time a bad exchange between Crompton and Foster cost the Volunteers this season. A similar play cost them points last week against Florida when Crompton fumbled on the Gators 2.

Tennessee squandered plenty of chances to take the lead in the fourth quarter. After Hardesty's fourth rushing TD of the season brought the Volunteers within 14-12, they failed to get a first down.

Tennessee had four consecutive drives end in a three-and-out, punting each time on fourth down despite having possession near midfield each time.

After punter Chad Cunningham planted the Tigers on their own 5-yard-line with 2:59 left, Kodi Burns completed a 10-yard pass to Montez Billings for a third-down conversion, and Auburn ran the clock out from there.