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Cool-headed Alan Cockrell drew a few jeers from impatient...

By STEVE HOLLAND

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- Cool-headed Alan Cockrell drew a few jeers from impatient fans when he called time-out early in the Tennessee-Alabama game after the Vols had recovered a Walter Lewis fumble on the Tide's 11-yard line.

Tennessee came out of the series of downs with a 3-0 lead and Cockrell was on his way to leading the Vols to their greatest victory this year -- a 35-28 win over previously unbeaten Alabama.

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Cockrell, who threw two touchdown passes, earned UPI Southeast Offense Player of the Week for his superlatives in the biggest upset of the season. He said the 3-2-1 Vols can finish the rest of the schedule undefeated -- if they want to.

'We've shown now we can play with the best teams in the country,' Cockrell said. 'Hopefully, we won't have any more letdowns.'

Georgia back Terry Hoage was named Southeast Defense Player of the Week by UPI Tuesday for the third straight time for his performance in the Bulldogs' 27-13 victory over Vanderbilt.

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The 6-foot-3, 196-pound junior from Huntsville, Texas, who received similar honors after the Georgia-Mississippi State game two weeks ago and after the Georgia-Ole Miss game last week, set up two touchdowns and a field goal with three interceptions, caused a fumble, broke up three other passes, and made eight tackles.

It hasn't come easy for Cockrell. In last year's Auburn game, he was racked up on a run and his knee gave way. He had a cast on the leg while Tennessee was being pummeled by Alabama two weeks later, 38-19

He was a hotly recruited freshman who appeared lost for the season and some felt he would never step onto the football field again.

But through intense knee rehabilitation and desire, Cockrell came back. The sophomore from Joplin, Mo., is now completing 61.4 percent of his passes.

Last Saturday he completed 18 of 29 for 192 yards. The best part of the first half for Cockrell was a 52-yard touchdown pass to Willie Gault, the senior World Class sprinter.

'In the first half, I was making mistakes, forcing the ball up field,' said Cockrell. (Alabama's Jeremiah) Castille (who had three first half interceptions) is a good defensive back and was breaking on the ball real well.'

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During halftime, Tennessee down 21-13, quarterback Coach Al Saunders told Cockrell the Tide could be beaten and the way to do it was to concentrate on the game plan, throwing short sideline passes to coax the secondary in and then go long.

'We had been running the five-yards and turnaround,' said Cockrell. 'Their defensive backs were starting to take it away, jumping in a little quicker. We told Mike Miller to go five yards and hook and go.'

The result was a 39-yard touchdown pass to Miller, another speedster.

In a final, 80-yard drive that iced the victory for Tennessee, all nine plays were on the ground with tailback Chuck Coleman accounting for 75 of the yards, including a 34-yard touchdown run.

Cockrell said the wide receivers wanted him to try the hook-and-go one more time during the drive, but he decided against it.

'We might have scored on it, but I didn't want to take a chance,' he said. 'We wanted to run the clock out,' he said.

Hoage's three interceptions Saturday tied the single-game Southeastern Conference record and raised his nation-leading total for this year to 10, tying the season-long school record All-America Jake Scott set in 1968. With five games yet to go, Hoage is only two shy of the SEC record set by J. W. Sherrill of Tennessee in 1949 and four shy of the NCAA record set by Al Worley of Washington in 1968.

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'I've never had a player at this time of the year who is playing like Terry,' said Georgia Coach Vince Dooley. 'Just to say that he tied a record set by Jake Scott tells you what kind of athlete he is. If he's not an All-America, I don't know what one is.'

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