KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- Senior quarterback Steve Alatorre, replacing injured freshman Alan Cockrell, scored a touchdown and a stingy Tennessee defense staved off a last-minute drive Saturday to take a 10-7 Southeastern Conference victory over Auburn.
Auburn, trailing by three with 5:16 remaining, started a drive from the 20 and with a grinding running attack moved the ball to the Tennessee 4. With no timeouts remaining and 11 seconds on the clock, freshman quarterback Ken Hobby dropped back to pass, but fumbled the ball and time ran out.
Tennessee, 2-2, drove 67 yards on 15 plays on its first possession. Cockrell, who started his first game last week in a 42-0 drubbing of Colorado State, suffered a knee injury on a keeper on the fifth play of the game and was unable to return.
Alatorre, ousted from the starting job by senior Jeff Olszewski and then Cockrell, came on but the Vols had to settle for a 27-yard field goal by Fuad Reveiz.
On the first play of the second period, Auburn senior quarterback Charles Thomas faked inside and threw a 47-yard strike to tight end Mike Edwards for a touchdown to give Auburn a 7-3 edge.
On Tennessee's next possession, Alatorre ran for 12 yards, handed off a reverse to wingback Anthony Hancock for a 21-yard gain and running backs Alvin Toles and Randall Morris moved the ball to the 1-yard line. Alatorre then ran around left end for the touchdown with 7:52 left in the half.
The game turned into a punting duel in the second half with Auburn's Alan Bolinger and Tennessee's Jimmy Colquitt unleashing booming punts that kept each team deep in its own territory. One Bolinger punt was returned for a 67-yard touchdown by Vol speedster Willie Gault but the score was wiped off because of a personal foul penalty.
Alatorre completed 8-of-16 passes for 35 yards and ran for 43 yards for the Vols. Auburn, 1-2, racked up 340 total yards to Tennessee's 195.
Auburn Coach Pat Dye said he was proud of his team.
'We didn't lose. Time ran out on us,' Dye said. 'We couldn't have played any harder if we had run. Everything you look for in a football game was there.'
Auburn used its last timeout with 1:05 remaining and although the Tigers were driving, they ran out of time.
Dye said the last timeout had to be used to clear up some confusion with several player positions.
'We had some confusion at times,' he admitted. 'We had to use a timeout. If we hadn't done it, we might not have gotten it down there (Tennessee's 4-yard line). We were trying to get the right people in the game.
'We lost the game. It would have been nice to win, but the people representing Auburn out there showed a lot of class, a lot of guts, a lot of courage,' Dye said. 'If they keep playing that way, we will build a foundation we can live on for a long, long time.'
Tennessee Coach Johnny Majors said the defense made the difference in the game.
'I've never been involved in a game that ended the way this one did,' Majors said. 'Any breakage in our defense would have put us in a bad situation. Although we had some leakage, we did not break.
'Auburn was a fighting, scrapping team. They got after us on defense. They do a good job of executing the wishbone for a team in its first year with that formation,' Majors said. 'It was an example of two hungry football teams fighting very hard down to the last play of the game to try to win.'
Majors said Cockrell's knee would be examined Sunday. But he said it looked as though it could be serious.