For most of the game, it was a defensive struggle. Then, with the clock winding down, LSU and Georgia started trading touchdowns as though the defenses weren’t even on the field.
The Southeastern Conference rivals combined for three TDs in the final three minutes, but Charles Scott scored the one that mattered most on a 33-yard run with 46 seconds remaining to give No. 4 LSU a wild 20-13 victory over 18th-ranked Georgia yesterday in Athens, Ga.
“Our football team, if you turn your back on them, they will beat you up,’’ LSU coach Les Miles said. “We have competitive men, and they like to play. I am so proud of them.’’
Next up: a showdown with top-ranked Florida in Baton Rouge Saturday night.
With Georgia (3-2, 2-1) ahead, 7-6, after finally scoring in the opening minute of the fourth quarter, LSU (5-0, 3-0) reclaimed the lead, 12-7, on Scott’s 2-yard run with 2:53 remaining. The Bulldogs bounced back on Joe Cox’s 16-yard touchdown pass to A.J. Green with 1:09 left, going ahead, 13-12, before missing a 2-point conversion.
But LSU, starting in good field position after an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on Georgia, was already in field goal range when Scott broke two tackles at the line and went all the way to the end zone.
“I played mad, with controlled rage,’’ said Scott, who rushed for 95 yards on 19 carries.
Alabama 38, Kentucky 20 - Mark Ingram ran for a career-high 140 yards and two TDs, and Greg McElroy added a pair of scoring passes as the No. 3 Crimson Tide pulled away in Lexington, Ky., with a 24-point burst in a five-minute span bridging the second and third quarters.
Courtney Upshaw returned a fumble 45 yards for a TD just before halftime, giving Alabama (5-0, 2-0 SEC) a 21-6 lead. Kentucky’s Mike Hartline was intercepted on the second play of the third quarter, and Rolando McClain returned it to the Wildcats’ 38. Two plays later, Ingram darted up the middle for 32 yards to make it 28-6.
Boise St. 34, UC Davis 16 - Kellen Moore got the fifth-ranked Broncos (5-0) rolling in the second half and finished with 285 yards passing and three TDs, including a pair to Austin Pettis.
The visiting Aggies (1-3) held Boise State to 101 yards rushing, a big drop from its 214-yard average.
Southern Cal 30, California 3 - The No. 7 Trojans bottled up Cal running back Jahvid Best, and Damian Williams returned a punt for a TD to help USC (4-1, 2-1 Pac-10) to a dominating victory over the No. 24 Golden Bears in Berkeley, Calif.
USC’s Joe McKnight ran for 119 yards and two TDs, outplaying the heralded Best, who was held to 47 yards on 14 carries. California (3-2, 0-2) didn’t get on the board until Vince D’Amato’s 29-yard field goal with 10:45 remaining.
Ohio St. 33, Indiana 14 - The No. 9 Buckeyes had it easy against the Hoosiers as Terrelle Pryor threw three TD passes and rushed for another score in Ohio State’s 16th straight Big Ten road win.
The Buckeyes (4-1, 2-0) gave up their first points in nine quarters, but forced three turnovers and notched a safety after a bad snap on a punt in beating Indiana (3-2, 0-2) for the 15th consecutive time.
Cincinnati 37, Miami (Ohio) 13 - Jacob Ramsey became the first Cincinnati player to rush for 100 yards since 2007, totaling 103 and three TDs to help the No. 10 Bearcats (5-0) break open a close game late in Oxford, Ohio.
TCU 39, SMU 14 - Jeremy Kerley returned a punt 71 yards for the go-ahead TD and the 11th-ranked Horned Frogs (4-0) overcame three first-half turnovers to drop the Mustangs in Fort Worth.
UTEP 58, Houston 41 - Donald Buckram ran for a career high 262 yards and four TDs and the host Miners (2-3, 1-0 Conference USA) stunned the No. 12 Cougars (3-1, 0-1) for their first win over a ranked team in 12 years.
Iowa 24, Arkansas St. 21 - At Iowa City, the 13th-ranked Hawkeyes improved to 5-0, their best start since 1995, behind three TD passes and a season-high 296 yards by Ricky Stanzi.
Penn St. 35, Illinois 17 - Evan Royster and Stephon Green each ran for more than 100 yards and Darryl Clark added a pair of rushing TDs to pace the No. 15 Nittany Lions (4-1, 1-1 Big Ten) in a wet and windy game in Champaign, Ill. Penn State finished with 338 yards on the ground.
Oregon 52, Washington St. 6 - The No. 16 Ducks (4-1, 2-0 Pac-10) piled up 505 yards of offense while limiting the visiting Cougars to 139. Jeremiah Masoli threw for 116 yards and a TD and ran for another score before sitting out the second half.
Mississippi 23, Vanderbilt 7 - Jevan Snead passed for three TDs to offset his three interceptions, and the No. 21 Rebels (3-1, 1-1 SEC) handled the Commodores (2-3, 0-2) in Nashville.
Michigan St. 26, Michigan 20 - Freshman Larry Caper ran for a 23-yard TD in overtime to give the host Spartans (2-3, 1-1 Big Ten) a victory over the No. 22 Wolverines (4-1, 1-1) and their first two-game winning streak against their in-state rivals since 1967.