Tennessee ekes out 31-24 win over South Alabama

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Brian Randolph made a game-clinching,

fourth-and-goal interception in the end zone with 1:51 remaining as

Tennessee squandered most of a 24-point lead before hanging on for a

31-24 victory over South Alabama.

South Alabama (2-2) had first-and-goal

at the 7 in the closing minutes but was unable to get the tying

touchdown. Facing fourth-and-goal from the 8, South Alabama quarterback

Ross Metheny was hit by Corey Vereen while releasing the pass that

Randolph intercepted.

Tennessee’s Rajion Neal rushed for a

career-high 169 yards on 25 carries. Neal’s 11-yard touchdown run gave

Tennessee (3-2) a 31-7 lead early in the third quarter.

Metheny was 21 of 42 for 234 yards with two interceptions. He also rushed for 67 yards and two touchdowns.

Tennessee overcame a three-interception

performance from Justin Worley, who was 20 of 36 for 234 yards. Worley

threw touchdown passes to freshmen A.J. Branisel and Josh Smith.