Originally created 09/25/98

SEC notes: Josey's Grant leads way for Vols



His Tennessee teammate may have received SEC player-of-the-week honors, but Deon Grant saved two, maybe three touchdowns in the Vols' 20-17 overtime victory over Florida.

The sophomore safety from Josey High tipped a pass, made an open-field tackle and an interception deep in UT territory in the fourth quarter.

"He had a great football game -- not just the play with the interception," Vols coach Phillip Fulmer said. "He had us lined up right in the secondary and made some big plays."

By Sunday morning, most of the sporting world had witnessed the Augustan's spectacular one-handed interception.

The play could not have come at a more crucial time, as it stopped the Gators late in the fourth quarter and helped preserve a regulation tie, before Jeff Hall's field goal won it in overtime.

It proved a remarkable comeback for 6-3, 190-pound sophomore. He pulled up lame on Jesse Palmer's 70-yard TD strike to Travis McGriff with 5:18 left in the third quarter.

Grant was treated for leg cramps, but returned in the fourth quarter.

"Deon has a chance to be a potentially great football player for us at safety," Fulmer said.

MORE BOWLING:

SEC Commissioner Roy Kramer said earlier this week that he hopes to have deal complete in the next week that would send a league team to the Cotton Bowl. Kramer said the SEC would like to send its third choice to Dallas to play the Big 12's No. 2 team. The tie-in would start with the Jan. 1 game. ... While CBS was able to recover one of its goal-post cameras last Saturday at Neyland Stadium, the one in the south end zone was carted out by fans and paraded up and down Cumberland Avenue. The camera, which costs $110,000, has not been recovered. The networks are responsible for their cameras, but CBS did have insurance on those used Saturday.

TIRED CHAMP:

After weathering 64 plays last week against Wyoming, two-way star Champ Bailey spent a good portion of the second half as a spectator because of leg cramps. Bulldogs coach Jim Donnan said he had played the receiver/cornerback virtually at will, but now will have to be more careful about overusing him. "After cramping like he did, and not being able to play much in the second half, we're going to have to monitor that more closely, Donnan said. ... The last time Georgia allowed fewer than 15 points in its first three games was 1954. ... Vanderbilt's defense, which finished No. 1 in the SEC last fall, has fallen dramatically. The Commodores rank only ahead of Tennessee in the SEC, allowing 402 yards and nearly four TDs per game.

MUSICAL CHAIRS:

The game of musical chairs has begun anew in Gainesville, Fla. Florida coach Steve Spurrier alternated quarterbacks on almost every play against the Vols last week. "I'm a believer that when you've got two players close in ability,I think you play both of them, Spurrier said. Palmer will start, but Doug Johnson will play. Spurrier said he hasn't decided on a rotation, but hinted earlier this week that it may be by possession not by play. ... The Gators rank 112th -- yes, dead last -- in turnover ratio (minus-10) among Division I-A teams. They already have fumbled eight times, as many as they accumulated during all of last season.

QUOTABLE:

"Who is South Carolina? Our winning tradition is better than theirs. They haven't won anything since Sterling Sharpe was here probably." -- Marshall linebacker Giradie Mercer after the Herd's 24-21 win over USC last Saturday.