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October 3, 2009Game Ticker | box score
KNOXVILLE, Tenn.(AP) Chris Todd threw for 218 yards and a touchdown, and Ben Tate ran for 128 yards and a score to help Auburn beat Tennessee 26-22 on Saturday night.
Auburn (5-0, 2-0 Southeastern Conference), which came from behind in its other four games this season, never trailed and has now won five straight over the Vols - its longest streak in the series.
The Tigers met some resistance early from Tennessee's defense, but slowly wore it down as they held the ball nearly 10 minutes longer than the Vols. Auburn's third-ranked offense racked up 459 yards.
The Vols (2-3, 0-2), who opened with two SEC losses for a second year in a row, made the score look closer when Jonathan Crompton threw a 32-yard desperation touchdown pass to Denarius Moore as the clock expired to cut the final margin to 26-22. By rule, no extra point was attempted.
Tennessee's defense, which entered the game ranked eighth in the Football Bowl Subdivision, forced the Tigers to punt six times and limited them to field goals by Wes Byrum on four drives. The Auburn offense entered the game averaging 45.3 points and 526.3 yards and ranked third in the FBS.
The Tennessee offense couldn't stay on the field. The Vols went three-and-out three times in the first half and Crompton fumbled a snap at the Vols 30 on the first play of a first-quarter drive. The Vols converted only four of 17 third downs.
By the middle of the second quarter, Auburn managed to take advantage of the weary Vols defense and drove 87 yards in 2:32. Tate scored on an 11-yard run to put the Tigers up 13-0 with 8:07 left before halftime.
The Tigers again drove easily on the Vols on a 70-yard drive in the fourth quarter, and Todd connected with Terrell Zachery on an 11-yard touchdown pass to give them a 23-6 lead.
Crompton managed to miss his receivers in every way possible: He overthrew, underthrew and hit them in the head and at the feet. He also didn't get any help from his targets, who dropped several passes that were accurately thrown.
Todd, who completed 19 of his 32 attempts, had his choice of receivers, completing passes to eight different targets.
The Tennessee defense was noticeably frustrated, and defensive end Chris Walker and tackle Wes Brown spoke to the entire team in a huddle at the sideline after Tate's touchdown run.