Florida beats Ten­nessee on fi­nal play

The Trentonian (Trenton, NJ) - - SPORTS -

GAINESVILLE, FLA. » Feleipe Franks heaved a 63-yard touch­down pass to Tyrie Cleve­land as the clock ex­pired, and No. 24 Florida beat 23rdranked Ten­nessee 26-20 in a wild, wacky and some­times un­watch­able ri­valry game Satur­day.

Franks scram­bled away from the rush on a first-and-10 play with 9 sec­onds re­main­ing and found Cleve­land behind safety Micah Aber­nathy for a Hail Mary that no one — es­pe­cially the Vol­un­teers — saw com­ing.

The fi­nal play capped a crazy fourth quar­ter in which the teams com­bined for 37 points and lit­tle, if any, de­fense.

Ten­nessee (2-1, 0-1 SEC) can blame three missed field goals for not be­ing ahead late. The Ga­tors (1-1, 1-0) looked as if they had the game in hand early in the fi­nal frame, but found a way to let the Vol­un­teers get back in it. MEM­PHIS 48, (25) UCLA 45 » Ri­ley Fer­gu­son threw for 398 yards and six touch­downs, and Ja­cobi Fran­cis broke up a fourth-down pass in the clos­ing sec­onds in (2-0) Mem­phis’ vic­tory over UCLA (2-1).

Fran­cis’ breakup with 56 sec­onds left pre­vented an­other fourth-quar­ter come­back by Bru­ins quar­ter­back Josh Rosen. He was 34 of 56 for 463 yards and four TDs.

But un­like in the Bru­ins’ opener when Rosen led a fourth-quar­ter come­back to beat Texas A&M, the Mem­phis de­fense stiff­ened on UCLA’s fi­nal pos­ses­sion.

(7) MICHI­GAN 29, AIR FORCE 13 » Dono­van Peo­ples-Jones re­turned a punt 79 yards for a score and Quinn Nordin tied a school record with five field goals, help­ing Michi­gan (30) over­come of­fen­sive strug­gles against Air Force (1-1).

The Wolver­ines didn’t lead by more than three points un­til Peo­ples-Jones’ touch­down early in the third quar­ter.

(9) OK­LA­HOMA STATE 59, PITTS­BURGH 21 » Ma­son Ru­dolph threw five touch­down passes, all in the first half, for Ok­la­homa State (3-0).

Ru­dolph com­pleted 23 of 32 passes for 497 yards be­fore be­ing pulled in the mid­dle of the third quar­ter with the Cow­boys in full com­mand. He did throw his first in­ter­cep­tion of the sea­son, end­ing a streak of 216 passes without a pick dat­ing to last sea­son. It was the long­est ac­tive streak in the FBS.

Pitt dropped to 1-2.

(10) WISCONISN 40, BYU 6» Alex Horni­brook threw for four touch­downs and 256 yards as Wis­con­sin (3-0) eased to a vic­tory over BYU (1-3).

The Badgers met lit­tle re­sis­tance as they put the game away in the first half and led 24-6 at half­time. (20) TCU 56, SMU 36 » Jalen Reagor made a leap­ing 38-yard catch be­tween four de­fend­ers in the end zone on the last play of the first half, fi­nally putting TCU (3-0) ahead to stay in a vic­tory over up­set-minded SMU (2-1).

The Mus­tangs led 19-7 be­fore Kenny Hill threw three TD passes in the fi­nal 7 ½ min­utes of the sec­ond quar­ter. The last was Reagor’s catch in a crowd of Mus­tangs who seemed more like ob­servers than de­fend­ers. (16) VIR­GINIA TECH 64, EAST CAROLINA 17) » Red­shirt fresh­man Josh Jack­son threw for 372 yards and five touch­downs — three to Cam Phillips — to help Vir­ginia Tech beat East Carolina.

Phillips had a program-record 14 catches for 189 yards to help the Hok­ies im­prove to 3-0 for the first time since 2011. He punc­tu­ated his day with a per­fectly ex­e­cuted route that left him wide open, and Jack­son hit him in stride for a 45-yard score with 7:46 left in the third quar­ter.

Both Jack­son and Phillips called it a day be­fore the fourth, as Vir­ginia Tech roared out of a slow first-quar­ter start by scor­ing 57 straight points to turn this into a rout.

(15) AUBURN 24, MERCER 10 » Kam­ryn Pettway ran for 128 yards and three touch­downs as Auburn over­came five turnovers to hold off FCS school Mercer (1-2) in an­other trou­bling per­for­mance by the Tigers’ of­fense.

Af­ter be­ing held without a touch­down in a 14-6 loss at third-ranked Clem­son the pre­vi­ous week, Auburn (2-1) could at least point to a stout de­fen­sive op­po­nent as the rea­son for its trou­bles.

Not this time.

Mercer, which only re­sumed its foot­ball program five years ago and plays a di­vi­sion down in the South­ern Con­fer­ence, gave the Tigers all they could han­dle, much to a cha­grin of a dis­grun­tled crowd at Jor­dan-Hare Sta­dium — many of whom didn’t bother re­turn­ing to their seats af­ter a lack­lus­ter first half in which the South­east­ern Con­fer­ence pow­er­house led only 10-3.

JOHN RAOUX — THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Florida wide re­ceiver Tyrie Cleve­land, bot­tom left, cel­e­brates his game-win­ning touch­down with team­mate Bran­don Pow­ell as Ten­nessee de­fen­sive back Micah Aber­nathy (22) hangs his head de­ject­edly as time ex­pires Satur­day in Gainesville, Fla. Florida won 26-20.

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