Three years after upsetting Tennessee, Memphis almost did it again.
In their first meeting since that game, the seventh-ranked Volunteers pulled out a victory when Tee Martin hit Cedrick Wilson with a 15-yard touchdown pass with a minute left for a 17-16 victory Saturday.
"I told them I would take one point or 50 points, whatever we could get done," said Tennessee coach Phillip Fulmer. "I didn't know they would take me literally."
The Volunteers (2-1), coming off last week's 23-21 loss at Florida, mounted a 78-yard drive in the closing minutes before a crowd of 107,000 to avenge their 21-17 loss to Memphis (1-3) in 1996.
"We came into one of the most hostile environments in college football and played like this," said Memphis coach Rip Scherer, whose team was a 31-point underdog. "We gave them fits. Our guys gave a heck of an effort."
Jamal Lewis, who rushed for only 45 yards on 16 carries, fought for a first down to get the winning drive started. Then Martin hit Wilson for an 8-yard strike, followed by a 53-yard pass to Bobby Graham, who raced to the Memphis 6-yard line.
"Tee and I told the offensive line if you give us time, we can make the play," Graham said. "Tee made the perfect throw, high over the linebacker, and I made the catch."
Two plays later Martin found Wilson, a Memphis native, in the end zone to tie the game. Freshman kicker Alex Walls, in his first start, kicked the extra point to put Tennessee ahead by one point.
Memphis (1-3) then moved the ball from its 10 to the Tigers' 38 before quarterback Neil Suber failed to connect on four straight passes, turning the ball over on downs.
"The Memphis defense was pretty tough," Wilson said. "We figured that. (But) we didn't execute as well as we should have and it cost us."
Wilson said trailing so late in the game "was bad on my heart."
"We just have to go back to the offense and regroup and do the things we ought to do," he said.
Fulmer agreed. "We've got to get better on offense. We are not nearly where we need to be at this point," he said.
Tennessee had never lost to the Tigers in 15 previous games until the upset in 1996. The Vols were ranked No. 6 that year, but fell out of the national title race with the loss.
The Vols haven't lost two consecutive games since 1994. Tennessee wasn't the only Southeastern Conference team to escape a shocking non-league upset defeat:
Georgia 24, Central Florida 23
ATHENS, Ga. -- No. 11 Georgia (3-0) remained undefeated, but only because of a missed extra point by 28-point underdog Central Florida (0-4).
Javier Beorlegui's errant kick, coming after an apparent game-tying touchdown pass from Vic Penn to Page Sessoms with 5:21 remaining, allowed the Bulldogs to escape with a 24-23 victory.
"I just missed it," Beorlegui said. "I guess we'll see what went wrong in the film."
The Golden Knights still had a chance to pull off the shocking upset, driving to the Georgia 20 in the final minute. But two costly penalties, including a questionable offensive pass interference call, knocked Central Florida out of field-goal range.
Georgia intercepted Penn's desperation pass on the final play of the game.
"We're not nearly good enough on defense to play in our league," coach Jim Donnan conceded. "That's probably the understatement of the year. But I will tell you this: There's a lot of teams in our league that would like to have that (Central Florida) offense."
Jasper Sanks rushed for 147 yards and the Bulldogs broke a 17-17 tie on Quincy Carter's 6-yard touchdown pass to Michael Greer with 9:13 left in the third quarter.
Penn kept Central Florida in the game, completing 27 of 46 passes for 287 yards.
East Carolina 27, Miami 23
RALEIGH, N.C. -- David Garrard's 27-yard touchdown pass to Keith Stokes with 4:51 left capped a fourth-quarter rally and led East Carolina over No. 9 Miami (2-2).
The Pirates (4-0) remained unbeaten despite having not been home in more than a week because of flooding caused by Hurricane Floyd. The game was moved to Raleigh, 85 miles from the East Carolina campus in Greenville.
"There is a lot of tension from the long week," East Carolina coach Steve Logan said, "but we turned that tension into passion in the second half."
Miami led, 23-3, following Andy Crosland's 47-yard field goal with 12:13 left in the third quarter. That's when East Carolina took over.
Jamie Wilson, whose earlier fumble led to a Miami touchdown, ran 23 yards for a score with 9:43 left in the period. Wilson then capped an 84-yard march with an 18-yard touchdown run with 11:59 to play, closing the gap to 23-17.
Kevin Miller added a 39-yard field goal with 9:30 left to draw the Pirates closer.
Michigan 21, Wisconsin 16
MADISON, Wis. -- Ron Dayne's Heisman Trophy hopes are buried somewhere under a big pile of Michigan defenders.
Tom Brady threw two touchdown passes and the No. 4 Wolverines' hard-nosed defense held Dayne to zero rushing yards in the second half as Michigan (4-0 overall, 1-0 in the Big Ten Conference) beat 20th-ranked Wisconsin (2-2, 0-1).
Michigan won its 18th consecutive Big Ten Conference opener with another tenacious performance against a running team. A week after holding Syracuse to 59 rushing yards, Dayne managed zero net yards on eight carries in the second half and twice failed to get critical first downs for the Badgers.
Dayne, who did nothing to quiet doubters who say he disappears in big games, finished with 88 rushing yards on 22 attempts. He didn't carry the ball in the last 10 minutes of the game as the Badgers tried to catch up.
He needs 1,105 yards in Wisconsin's seven remaining games to beat Ricky Williams' Division I-A rushing record.
"When (Michigan's defenders) get an opportunity to play against one of the most highly-touted running backs that ever played in the Big Ten, it brought out the best in them," Michigan coach Lloyd Carr said.
The loss snapped an eight-game winning streak for the Badgers at Camp Randall Stadium. Wisconsin's last home loss also came to the Wolverines, who have beaten the Badgers three straight times.
Florida St. 42, North Carolina 10
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- Top-ranked Florida State (4-0, 3-0) put this one away early, scoring four touchdowns before the first quarter was half over en route to an Atlantic Coast Conference victory over North Carolina (1-2, 0-2).
The Seminoles ran their record to 32-4 as the nation's top-ranked team and coach Bobby Bowden moved within four victories of 300.
"It was like a nightmare we couldn't wake up from," North Carolina coach Carl Torbush said.
The Tar Heels are off to their first 0-2 ACC start in a decade with games at Clemson and No. 10 Georgia Tech next on the schedule. Sophomore quarterback Ronald Curry had three passes intercepted, fumbled once and was sacked five times.
Penn State 45, Indiana 24
STATE COLLEGE, Pa. -- Rashard Casey completed 13 of 15 passes for 196 yards and two touchdowns, and ran for 66 yards and a spectacular, scrambling touchdown as No. 2 Penn State (5-0, 1-0) beat Indiana (1-3, 0-1) in the Big Ten.
Casey dashed to his left and dodged two tacklers, reversed field and sprinted up the right sideline, then tiptoed the sideline and dove into the end zone for the 31-yard score. Antwaan Randle El kept Indiana within striking distance with two passing TDs in the second half.
Florida 38, Kentucky 10
LEXINGTON, Ky. -- Doug Johnson threw for 241 yards and two touchdowns and Robert Gillespie ran for 108 yards and a pair of scores as No. 3 Florida (4-0, 2-0) beat Kentucky (2-2, 0-1) in the SEC.
Despite losing tailback Earnest Graham to a severe thigh bruise on the second play of the game, the Gators had little difficulty extending their winning streak over the Wildcats.
Just as it did two years ago in a 55-28 victory at Commonwealth Stadium, Florida jumped to a 28-0 first-half lead and coasted.
Texas A&M 23, Southern Miss 6
COLLEGE STATION, Texas -- Jay Brooks and Michael Jameson each returned interceptions for touchdowns in the second half and Terence Kitchens kicked three field goals, including one from 62 yards, as No. 5 Texas A&M (3-0) beat Southern Mississippi (2-2).
Brooks' 41-yard return for a score midway through the third period staked the Aggies to a 16-0 lead before Southern Mississippi scored the only offensive touchdown of the game, a 54-yard pass play from Cable Davis to Todd Pinkston on the second play of the fourth quarter to make it 16-6.
Jameson sealed the outcome when he picked off Davis' pass at the Golden Eagle 26 -- the fourth A&M interception -- and sprinted untouched into the end zone with 8:32 left in the game.
Nebraska 40, Missouri 10
COLUMBIA, Mo. -- Eric Crouch threw for two touchdowns and ran for one as No. 6 Nebraska (4-0, 1-0) breezed past Missouri (2-1, 0-1) in the Big 12.
Nebraska won its 100th game of the 1990s -- one fewer than the decade's top team, Florida State. Nebraska has won 21 straight over Missouri since 1978, has won 25 straight conference openers and has outscored opponents 126-23, thanks mostly to its defense.
Crouch also hit former quarterback Bobby Newcombe for a 53-yard score in the second half and Correll Buckhalter ran for 132 yards on 14 carries with a touchdown. Crouch had 92 yards rushing on 15 carries and was 10 for 17 for 143 yards.
Ohio St. 34, Cincinnati 20
COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Ken-Yon Rambo caught two long bombs from Steve Bellisari -- one for a 59-yard touchdown and another to set up a score -- as 12th-ranked Ohio State (3-1) beat Cincinnati (2-2).
In the first meeting of the teams in 68 years, the Bearcats played as if last week's 17-12 upset of then-No. 9 Wisconsin -- the school's first victory ever over a ranked opponent -- was no fluke.
The Bearcats built a 17-3 second-quarter lead that muzzled a crowd of 93,407 at Ohio Stadium. Even though Ohio State took command by scoring 31 straight points, Cincinnati still finished with the upper hand in first downs (26-19) and yards (525-496) and had an 11 1/2 -minute advantage in time of possession.
Purdue 31, Northwestern 23
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -- The longest play in Purdue's 112 years of football, Drew Brees' 99-yard touchdown pass to Vinny Sutherland with six minutes to play, gave the 13th-ranked Boilermakers (4-0, 1-0) a Big Ten victory over Northwestern (2-2, 0-1).
Purdue was backed up to its own goal line protecting a 24-23 lead when the game turned. Sutherland got behind the defense on a third-down play, caught the ball around the Purdue 40 and outraced two defenders for the score with 6:20 to play.
Bress completed 32 of 50 passes for a season-high 405 yards and three touchdowns as Purdue extended its winning streak to 10 games. It's the longest winning streak for the Boilermakers since an 11-game run from Nov. 17, 1928 to Oct. 4, 1930.
Alabama 35, Arkansas 28
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- Freddie Milons caught one touchdown pass and threw one and Alabama (3-1, 2-0) overcame six turnovers in an SEC victory over No. 14 Arkansas (2-1, 0-1).
Alabama snapped a two-game losing streak against Arkansas. It also at least temporarily saved Alabama coach Mike DuBose's job. DuBose's future has been in jeopardy since before the season started, and grew even cloudier this week when athletic director Bob Bockrath resigned.
Kansas St. 35, Iowa St. 28
AMES, Iowa -- David Allen returned a punt 94 yards for a touchdown and quarterback Adam Helm scored on a 1-yard run with 2:34 left to give No. 15 Kansas State (3-0, 1-0) a Big 12 victory over Iowa State (3-1, 0-1).
Kansas State rallied from a 28-7 halftime deficit for its biggest comeback in coach Bill Snyder's 11 seasons.
Iowa State's Darren Davis, who carried 17 times for 131 yards and two touchdowns in the first half, was held to 21 yards in nine second-half carries.
Stanford 42, UCLA 32
STANFORD, Calif. -- Joe Borchard came off the bench to throw five touchdown passes, including a Pacific-10 Conference record 98-yarder to Troy Walters, as Stanford (3-1, 3-0) held off No. 18 UCLA (2-2, 0-1).
Walters, who also caught scoring passes of 30 and 18 yards, had nine receptions for 278 yards.
Borchard was 15 of 19 for 324 yards after relieving the injured Todd Husak in the second quarter.
UCLA had its streak of 15 straight Pac-10 victories snapped.
Michigan St. 27, Illinois 10
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. -- Lloyd Clemons rushed for 141 yards, T.J. Duckett ran for 29 yards and two touchdowns and Ivory McCoy had a 22-yard TD reception as No. 19 Michigan State (4-0, 1-0) beat Illinois (3-1, 0-1) in the Big Ten.
Michigan State moved to 4-0 for the first time since 1966.
Marshall 34, Temple 0
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. -- Chad Pennington threw for 406 yards and three scores to lead No. 21 Marshall past Temple (0-4).
The Herd toyed with Temple, rolling up 593 yards in offense in going to 4-0 for the third time in four years. Marshall also won its 27th straight at home.
Texas 62, Baylor 0
WACO, Texas -- Major Applewhite passed for 333 yards and three touchdowns and Hodges Mitchell scored three TDs as No. 22 Texas (4-1, 1-0) whipped Baylor (0-4, 0-2) in the Big 12.
Chris Robertson added to TD runs for Texas, which amassed 586 yards.
Mississippi St. 17, S. Carolina 0
STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Mississippi State is 4-0 for the first time since 1965. Lou Holtz is 0-4 for the first time ever.
Ashley Cooper returned an interception 52 yards for a score and Wayne Madkin had to scramble out of trouble for Mississippi State's only offensive touchdown as the 23rd-ranked Bulldogs beat South Carolina in their SEC opener. The Gamecocks are 0-2 in the SEC.
Wyoming 10, Air Force 7
AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. -- Jay Stoner threw a 60-yard touchdown pass to Kofi Shuck early in the second quarter, and Wyoming (2-1, 1-0) held on to upset No. 24 Air Force (2-1, 0-1) in the Mountain West Conference.
The loss snapped Air Force's 11-game winning streak.
Wake Forest 31, N.C. State 7
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- Morgan Kane rushed for 147 yards and three touchdowns and Wake Forest (2-1, 1-1) beat No. 25 North Carolina State (3-2, 0-2) in the ACC.
The Demon Deacons forced two turnovers and converted them into 14 points. Defensive end Kelvin Jones led Wake Forest's defensive effort by recovering two fumbles, both of which produced touchdowns.
Kane, who came in averaging an ACC-best 138 rushing yards, carried 31 times and scored on runs of 3, 1 and 6 yards as Wake Forest defeated the Wolfpack for just the second time in 12 games.