Tennessee 30, LSU 27
Tennessee refused to be part of LSU's feel-good story.
Gerald Riggs Jr. pushed into the end zone from a yard out in overtime to give the 10th-ranked Volunteers a 30-27 comeback win Monday night in the Tigers' long-awaited, hurricane-delayed home opener.
LSU couldn't stop Rick Clausen, who led the Volunteers (2-1, 1-1 Southeastern Conference) back from a 21-point deficit in the second half to tie it at 24 with 2 minutes 2 seconds left on a field goal.
The Tigers had first crack in overtime, but managed only a 31-yard field goal by Colt David.
Riggs accounted for all the Vols' yards in overtime with a 10-yard reception and four runs. He powered through the line and into the end zone to send the hurricane-weary Louisianans home with a bitter loss.
Hurricane Katrina forced the No. 4 Tigers to postpone their first home game, and move their second to Arizona State, where LSU came away with a dramatic win.
Then Hurricane Rita forced another delay and set up the first Monday nighter in Tiger Stadium.
The crowd was a bit smaller than usual, but they were loud as ever and the Tigers (1-1, 0-1) certainly looked like a team eager to play when they jumped out to a 21-0 lead in the first half.
Clausen came off the bench to rally Tennessee with a touchdown pass and a 1-yard TD sneak that made it 24-14 with 9:35 left.
He finished 21 for 32 for 196 yards and appeared to settle the Vols' quarterback controversy.
Jonathan Hefney intercepted JaMarcus Russell and returned it 26 yards to the LSU 2 on the next possession. When Riggs scored from 2 yards out with about 71/2 minutes to play, the crowd went silent as the lead was down to three.
Then Tennessee's defense forced another LSU punt and Riggs' 22-yard run helped get James Wilhoit in position for a 28-yard field goal that tied it.
LSU had one last shot in regulation when LaRon Landry intercepted a pass at the Tigers 45 with 17.7 second left. But all LSU could manage was a last-play end zone heave that was picked off as time expired.
Tennessee, which had managed just 24 points in its first two games, again was lost offensively in the first half with Erik Ainge starting at quarterback.
Ainge's fumble set up the first score and his ill-advised desperation throw out of his own end zone turned into a 3-yard interception return touchdown by Kenneth Hollis.
Ainge was inadvertently slammed into the goal post base by Cameron Vaughn on the touchdown and shaken up.
Ainge finished 7 for 19 for 54 yards.