Saturday's Top 25 Capsules

Oct 20, 2007 - 8:39 PM By PA SportsTicker

VANDERBILT 17, (6) SOUTH CAROLINA 6 -----------------------------------

COLUMBIA, South Carolina (Ticker) -- Two early turnovers dug a hole that South Carolina could not find its way out of.

The sixth-ranked Gamecocks committed two of their four turnovers inside the opening seven minutes en route to being upset by Vanderbilt, 17-6, in a Southeastern Conference shocker on Saturday.

South Carolina (6-2, 3-2 SEC East) came into the contest on a three-game winning streak and having a chance to solidify its hold on the top spot in the SEC East Division.

However, turnovers did in the Gamecocks, who saw their seven-game winning streak in the series with the Commodores come to a crashing halt.

After holding Vanderbilt (4-3, 2-3 East) scoreless on its opening drive, South Carolina coughed up the ball on its fourth offensive play when redshirt freshman Chris Smelley was intercepted by cornerback D.J. Moore at the Gamecocks' 23.

Although the Commodores were held without a first down, Bryant Hahnfeldt converted a 32-yard field goal to open the scoring.

On the ensuing kickoff, South Carolina's Chris Culliver fumbled, but the Gamecocks were able recover.

They did not have such good luck on the next play, as running back Cory Boyd lost a fumble, giving Vanderbilt more outstanding field position at the 24-yard line.

While the Commodores were once again unable to get a first down, it did not quite matter as Mackenzi Adams fired a 22-yard touchdown pass to George Smith on a 3rd-and-8 for a 10-0 advantage.

South Carolina, which was held without a touchdown for the first time this season, had more trouble handling a kickoff in a brutal first half where it was unable to break past the midfield line until late in the second quarter.

On one possession in the first-quarter, the Gamecocks were pinned at their own 2-yard line on a punt.

They were unable to pick up a first down, once again leading to a short field for the Commodores, who cashed in with a 20-yard scoring play from Adams to Justin Wheeler for a 17-0 advantage 22 seconds prior to the second quarter.

South Carolina attempted to rally before halftime, but were held to a pair of field goals by Ryan Succop to account for its only offense.

Adams finished with 123 yards passing while also rushing 13 times for 84 yards to help Vanderbilt snap a two-game losing streak.

Smelley completed just 14-of-24 attempts for 149 yards and had two of the three interceptions for the Gamecocks, who finished 281 total yards.

Along with turnovers, South Carolina struggled on third down, converting just 1-of-12 opportunities.

PITTSBURGH 24, (23) CINCINNATI 17 ---------------------------------

PITTSBURGH (Ticker) -- Pittsburgh continues to dominate Cincinnati.

LaRod Stephens-Howling carried 13 times for 100 yards and ran for the game-winning touchdown as Pittsburgh stunned 23rd-ranked Cincinnati, 24-17, in Big East Conference action.

In addition to snapping a four-game losing streak and securing their first conference win this season, the Panthers (3-4, 1-1 Big East) improved to 7-0 in the all-time series against Cincinnati (6-2, 1-2).

Short touchdown runs by quarterback Ben Mauk and Doug Jones staked the Bearcats to a 17-10 halftime lead.

But Pittsburgh played stingy defense in the second half, and a pair of field goals from Conor Lee made it 17-16 with just over 11 minutes to play in regulation.

After seeing its lead cut to one, Cincinnati appeared to be getting in rhythm on its next offensive drive.

However, running back Butler Benton fumbled after racing 24 yards on a screen pass, and Kennard Cox recovered for the Panthers at their own 39.

Pittsburgh spent the next five minutes marching toward the Beatcats' end zone and took its first lead of the game at 5:03 when Stephens-Howling scored on a seven-yard run. Quarterback Pat Bostick then connected with Oderick Turner on the two-point conversion to make it 24-17.

The Bearcats' hopes of tying the game faded when cornerback Aaron Berry intercepted Mauk with 2:48 remaining. When Panthers' running back LeSean McCoy rushed for a first down on critical 3rd-and-3 with just over two minutes to play, the Bearcats - out of timeouts - had no hope.

McCoy finished with 137 yards on 25 carries, which marked the first time since 1988 that two Pittsburgh running backs surpassed the 100-yard mark in the same game.

Bostick finished 19-of-31 for 175 with one touchdown and an interception.

Darrell Strong hauled in the lone touchdown pass for Pittsburgh, whose coach, Dave Wannstedt, handled his duties from a coaching box after tearing his left Achilles' tendon Tuesday.

Mauk was 21-of-32 for 235 yards with an interception and also carried 11 times for 79 yards, including his one-yard touchdown.

(4) OKLAHOMA 17, IOWA ST 7 --------------------------

AMES, Iowa (Ticker) -- Oklahoma escaped with its national championship hopes still alive - barely.

Chris Brown rushed for two touchdowns in the second half as the fourth-ranked Sooners avoided a huge upset with a 17-7 Big 12 Conference victory over Iowa State.

A four-touchdown favorite, Oklahoma (7-1, 3-1 Big 12 South) overcame three turnovers and a scoreless first half to post its 20th straight victory here.

Brown scored on an 8-yard TD run to tie the contest with 8:35 left in the third quarter, then put the Sooners ahead with a 2-yard TD scamper 1:10 into the fourth period.

Iowa State (1-7, 0-4 Big 12 North) reached Oklahoma's 7-yard line with seven minutes remaining in the contest, but defensive back D.J. Wolfe preserved the lead by intercepting a deflected pass in the end zone.

It was the second time the Cyclones came away empty after reaching the red zone.

Oklahoma's Garrett Hartley kicked a 43-yard field goal with 1:34 remaining to clinch the victory.

Oklahoma, which has not lost on the road to Iowa State, increased its lead in a lopsided series to 67-5-2. In the last 40 meetings, the Sooners have lost only once to the Cyclones (1-38-1).

Still, for more than three quarters the contest was in doubt as Oklahoma looked nothing like the team that had climbed back into the top five with consecutive victories over Texas and Missouri.

Despite facing the worst defensive team in the Big 12, the Sooners managed only 109 yards in the first half, including 35 yards on the ground.

On Oklahoma's second possession of the game, running back Allen Patrick fumbled at the Sooners' 20-yard line. The Cyclones took advantage of the turnover to take a 7-0 lead on Jason Scales' 2-yard TD run with 4:55 remaining in the first quarter.

While the Sooners could generate little offense in the first half, Oklahoma's defense kept the contest close. Iowa State also missed a pair of opportunities to increase its lead.

With 4:13 left in the half, Brett Culbertson missed a 36-yard field goal for the Cyclones, who were coming off a 56-3 drubbing to Texas.

Iowa State quickly got back the ball, as Alan Bell returned Sam Bradford's interception 28 yards to the Oklahoma 18, but the Sooners' defense held.

Facing a 4th-and-1 at the 9, Iowa State coach Gene Chizik elected not to kick a field goal. The move backfired as Scales was stopped for a three-yard loss.

The defensive stop gave Oklahoma some momentum as the Sooners came out more focused in the second half. They marched 77 yards on 11 plays on their first possession of the third quarter to draw even.

Oklahoma then put together a 14-play, 80-yard drive to take the lead on Brown's second score.

(19) TEXAS 31, BAYLOR 10 ------------------------

WACO, Texas (Ticker) -- Opportunistic Texas shook off a lackluster first half to continue its domination of Baylor.

The 19th-ranked Longhorns turned a pair of turnovers into two touchdowns just over two minutes apart in the fourth quarter to pull away from the pesky Bears, 31-10, in a Big 12 South matchup.

Safety Marcus Griffin returned an interception 91 yards to break it open, as Texas posted its 10th consecutive victory over Baylor, including five straight in Waco.

It was one of three fourth-quarter interceptions for the Longhorns (6-2, 2-2 Big 12 South), who improved to 71-22-4 all-time against the Bears.

Texas quarterback Colt McCoy overcame two interceptions of his own and finished 25-of-34 for 290 yards and a 23-yard scoring pass to Nate Jones in the second quarter.

Leading, 10-7, at halftime, the Longhorns finally seemed to get untracked offensively on their second possession of the second half.

Texas marched 88 yards in 15 plays, eating up over seven minutes on the clock, to take a 17-7 lead on Chris Ogbonnaya's three-yard run with 3:01 left in the third quarter.

Baylor did not go away, answering with a field goal on its opening drive of the fourth quarter.

Completely eschewing their ineffective running game, Michael Machen was 4-of-7 for 42 yards, setting up Caleb Allen's 35-yard field goal that sliced the deficit to 17-10 with 12:21 to play.

Baylor then held Texas three-and-out and seemingly had all the momentum, but cornerback Deon Beasley picked off Machen on the third play of the Bears' next possession, giving the Longhorns the ball at their own 43.

Texas needed just five plays to convert. McCoy hit running back Jamaal Charles with a 31-yard pass to the 4-yard line, and freshman Vondrell McGee plowed into the end zone on the next play to extend the advantage to 24-10 with 7:34 remaining.

Griffin then pick off Machen on the next possession and took it back 91 yards as the lead ballooned to 31-10 with 5:47 to go.

Machen completed 26-of-47 passes for 239 yards, one TD and three interceptions for Baylor (3-5, 0-4 South), which lost its fourth straight game.

A stunning turn of events gave the Bears an early lead over their nemesis, which had won the previous four meetings here by an overwhelming 229-10 margin.

With Texas driving and about to take a double-digit lead, Brandon Stiggers recovered a fumble by Charles at the 2-yard line and returned it for 66 yards.

After a 15-yard penalty on the Longhorns, Baylor scored on its first play as Machen connected with Thomas White on a 17-yard scoring strike for a 7-3 lead midway through the second half.

It was Baylor's first touchdown at home in 12 quarters against Texas, which won for the second straight week following a two-game losing streak.

ALABAMA 41, (20) TENNESSEE 17 -----------------------------

TUSCALOOSA, Alabama (Ticker) -- John Parker Wilson and D.J. Hall allowed Nick Saban to breathe easily in his first Tennessee game wearing Alabama crimson and white.

Wilson and Hall hooked up for a pair of second-quarter touchdowns to propel Alabama to a 41-17 Southeastern Conference triumph over the 20th-ranked Volunteers.

It was the third consecutive victory for the Crimson Tide (6-2, 4-1 SEC West), who won for just the third time in their last 13 meetings with the Volunteers (4-3, 2-2 East).

Coaching for the first time in the annual "Third Saturday in October" contest, Saban put the game in the hands of Wilson, who completed 32-of-46 passes for 364 yards and three touchdowns. The junior established season highs in completions and yards.

Wilson's favorite target was the 6-2 Hall, who finished with career highs of 13 receptions and 185 yards.

Erik Ainge found tight end Luke Stocker for a three-yard TD pass to give Tennessee a 14-10 lead on the first play of the second quarter.

But Alabama rolled from there, outscoring the Vols by a 31-3 margin over the rest of the game. The Crimson Tide took the lead for good with 11:16 remaining in the first half when Wilson passed to Hall for a 16-yard score, capping an 11-play drive.

The duo hooked up again for a two-yard TD with 12 seconds left in the half, this time ending a 16-play drive which spanned 75 yards.

Leigh Tiffin booted two third-quarter field goals to give Alabama a 30-17 cushion, and Terry Grant raced for an eight-yard score four minutes into the fourth quarter to make it 38-17.

Ainge had a solid game for Tennessee, completing 21-of-32 passes for 239 yards, one TD and a late interception.

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