Bama Earns Emphatic Win Over Auburn
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - Already No. 1 in the nation, Alabama emphatically reclaimed the top spot in the state. Glen Coffee rushed for 144 yards and a touchdown and Nick Saban's Crimson Tide snapped a six-year Iron Bowl losing streak with a 36-0 win over bitter rival Auburn on Saturday, the biggest margin in the series in 46 years. The dominant win set the stage for Alabama (12-0, 8-0 Southeastern Conference) to face No. 2 Florida in the league championship game with a berth in the BCS national title game on the line. Of more immediate concern for Tide fans, the state belongs to them again. And there was little question of that by the middle of the third quarter when a 10-0 game turned ugly - or beautiful, depending on the perspective.The loss left Auburn (5-7, 2-6) shut out of a bowl game for the first time in nine years and cast another shadow on the decade-long tenure of Coach Tommy Tuberville. Auburn, which had been 7-2 under Tuberville in the rivalry, has lost six of the last seven games after starting the season ranked in the top 10. The Tide scored three touchdowns in the third quarter to let the fans start the celebration early and complete its first perfect regular season since 1994. Auburn had been 6-0 in Tuscaloosa and allowed only 35 points in those games. Yet another streak crushed into oblivion with the one-sided performance. It was the most lopsided Iron Bowl since Bear Bryant's 1962 group won 38-0. The game was also Bama's first Iron Bowl shutout since a 17-0 win during the 1992 national championship season. None of the Tigers' six straight wins had been decided by more than 10 points and the collective margin was 47 points. It was the kind of result the Tide was looking for upon hiring Saban two years ago: Somebody to wrest control of the state from Auburn and put the Tide back in the national title hunt. Mark Ingram rushed for 64 yards and two touchdowns for the Tide. John Parker Wilson was eight of 16 for 134 yards and a touchdown in his final home game. He drew a standing ovation when trotting off the field midway through the fourth quarter for backup Greg McElroy. NO. 18 GEORGIA TECH 45, NO. 13 GEORGIA 42 ATHENS, Ga. - Georgia Tech had not beaten Georgia since 2000, and it wasn't looking good when the Yellow Jackets trailed by 16 points at halftime. Then Roddy Jones and the triple-option offense went to work. Jones rushed for a career-best 214 yards, including a decisive 54-yard touchdown midway through the fourth quarter, and No. 18 Georgia Tech rallied to snap a seven-game losing streak against its state rival. The cold, rainy day wasn't a total victory for the visiting team: Virginia Tech denied the Yellow Jackets a spot in the Atlantic Coast Conference championship game with a 17-14 victory over Virginia. But Georgia Tech (9-3) celebrated anyway, gathering in front of its small contingent at Sanford Stadium to sing the school fight song while the red-clad Georgia fans headed to the exits, a season that started at No. 1 winding down far short of expectations. After building a 28-12 halftime lead, the 13th-ranked Bulldogs (9-3) simply had no answer for Georgia Tech's unique offense, which piled up 409 yards on the ground. Jones, a redshirt freshman, averaged 16.5 yards per carry and scored twice, including the long run that gave Georgia Tech a 45-35 lead with 7:13 remaining. Jonathan Dwyer added 144 yards rushing and scored two TDs of his own. TENNESSEE 28, KENTUCKY 10 KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - The Tennessee Volunteers sent Coach Phillip Fulmer out after 17 seasons with one last win over Kentucky. The Vols (5-7, 3-5) cruised to a win over the Wildcats to extend the nation's longest active winning streak by one team over another to 24 games. They also avoided becoming the first team in Tennessee history to lose eight games in a season. An already bowl-eligible Kentucky (6-6, 2-6) was hoping to impress the bowl scouts and avoid a third straight Music City Bowl bid. With only a few minutes left in the game and the score 28-3, fans began chanting "Phillip Fulmer" - a far cry from the boos they delivered him many times this season as the Vols struggled. He was carried off the field on the shoulders of several of his players.