ATLANTA (AP) -Ryan Perrilloux was supposed to be LSU's quarterback of the future, but his time came in Saturday's SEC championship game.
With senior starting quarterback Matt Flynn held out with a sore shoulder, Perrilloux made only his second career start against Tennessee. The sophomore turned out to be the star, earning game MVP honors after leading coach Les Miles' Tigers to the 21-14 victory.
Perrilloux was 20-of-30 passing for 243 yards with a touchdown and an interception. He added nine carries for 14 yards.
``Coach always prepares each player like they're going to play,'' Perrilloux said of Miles. ``We just tried to execute the game plan that was at hand and get the victory.''
Perrilloux didn't plan to play with an injured finger. On his interception, however, Perrilloux hit his passing hand on a helmet.
It ``split my finger real bad, but we just taped it up and kept on pushing, just kept on working,'' Perrilloux said.
Watching from the sideline wearing a purple LSU baseball cap, Flynn was available in an emergency situation.
Still, he played a part in the outcome.
Flynn ``was a great help to me through the week and throughout the game,'' Perrilloux said. ``Everybody pulled together behind me and it feels great. I love it.''
Perrilloux completed a 27-yard touchdown pass to Demetrius Byrd early in the third quarter.
In his only other start, on Sept. 15 against Middle Tennessee State, Perrilloux was 20-of-25 for 298 yards and three TDs with one interception. His only other playing time came behind Flynn, but he completed the regular season with seven touchdown passes. He also had 42 carries for 189 yards and two touchdowns.
LSU offensive coordinator Gary Crowton said Flynn's shoulder was better on Thursday, but he was not strong enough to start.
``Matt wanted to play, obviously,'' Crowton said. ``It was just his shoulder didn't have anything on it.''
Crowton said Flynn, who wore a purple LSU baseball cap while watching from the sideline, was available only in an emergency.
``We didn't want to put him at risk to injure it any more,'' Crowton said.
1,000 FOR HESTER: LSU senior running back Jacob Hester had 23 carries for 120 yards to pass the 1,000-yard mark for the season.
Hester, who plays fullback and tailback, began the day with 897 yards rushing. He passed the 1,000-yard mark for the first time in his career with a 20-yard gain late in the game, finishing with 1,017.
COSTLY PICK: Tennessee quarterback Erik Ainge said the Vols weren't specifically targeting LSU cornerback Jonathan Zenon in the fourth quarter. Ainge said he was just trying to complete a pass to Quintin Hancock, when instead he should have passed to Austin Rogers.
Zenon stepped in front of Ainge's pass for an interception he returned 18 yards for the decisive touchdown.
``He made a good play,'' Ainge said of Zenon. ``I shouldn't have thrown the ball out there. I mean, just as much as he made a good play, I made a bad decision.''
LSU changed it's defense, and Ainge said he recognized the change.
``They changed to a different kind of zone, but it shouldn't have mattered,'' Ainge said. ``I should have thrown the ball to Austin Rogers. We would have had a big play.''
Tennessee coach Phillip Fulmer said his team couldn't afford to give up the big turnover.
``You know, usually a turnover (with your team) backed up will get you beat, and that's kind of what happened,'' Fulmer said before standing up for Ainge.
``Erik Ainge is the reason we're here, one of the reasons we're here, and we win as a team, we lose as a football team, not any one of us.''
BAYOU BITS: LSU improved to 3-1 in SEC championship games and is 6-1 all-time in the Georgia Dome. ... LSU recorded its fourth fourth-quarter comeback of the season. ... Perrilloux is the third LSU player to be named MVP of the SEC title game, following Matt Mauck (2001) and Justin Vincent (2003). ... Zenon's interception return gave LSU its first defensive touchdown of the season.
VOLS SHORTS: Ainge became the 12th quarterback in SEC history with 70 career touchdown passes. He has 3,157 yards passing to join Peyton Manning as the only Tennessee quarterbacks to pass for 3,000 yards in a season. Manning passed for 3,000 yards in 1996 and 1997. ... Junior Lucas Taylor had two catches for 25 yards to become the fifth Tennessee receiver with 1,000 yards in a season. He has 73 catches for 1,000 yards and five touchdowns. ... Chris Brown broke the school record for catches by a tight end in a season. His two catches for 35 yards gave him 40 for the season, topping Jason Witten's 39 catches in 2002. ... Tennessee committed no penalties for the first time in Fulmer's 16 years with the team. ... The Vols wore orange pants for the first time since a 17-16 home win over Memphis on Sept. 25, 1999.

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