Tennessee ekes out 31-24 win over South Alabama

Tennessee ekes out 31-24 win over South Alabama

By STEVE MEGARGEE
AP Sports Writer

KNOXVILLE (AP) - 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.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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