Ainge wins award

ATLANTA -- Quarterback Erik Ainge led Tennessee to a convincing win at Georgia last weekend, and fans have rewarded him for his outstanding play. In the closest vote in the three-year history of the award, Ainge has been selected as the week six Cingular All-America Player of the Week, the only major college football award chosen exclusively by college football fans.

Ainge earned the award after leading the 13th-ranked Volunteers to a 51-33 win over the 10th-ranked Bulldogs last Saturday night. Ainge completed 25 of 38 passes for 268 yards and two touchdowns and added a score on the ground. He helped Tennessee rally from a 24-7 deficit as the Volunteers became just the second team to score more than 50 points on Georgia's home field.

Ainge received 2,719 votes (40.4%) to edge out Notre Dame running back Darius Walker (40.1%) by just 17 votes.

California quarterback Nate Longshore (11.8%) and Wisconsin running back P.J. Hill (7.7%) finished third and fourth, respectively. Each player was nominated for this week's award by a panel of ESPN college football analysts based on their outstanding performances last weekend.

A first-time winner of the Cingular All America Player of the Week, Erik Ainge joins Rutgers running back Ray Rice, Notre Dame quarterback Brady Quinn, Michigan wide receiver Mario Manningham and Georgia Tech wide receiver Calvin Johnson on this year's winner's list.

Fans can register to vote for the Cingular All-America Player of the Week throughout the season by text messaging "VOTE" to "87654" on their wireless phone, with the nominees being revealed each Sunday on the 9 a.m. ESPN SportsCenter and on the Web at Fans have until 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on the following Wednesday to submit their votes. The winner will then be announced during ESPN's Thursday night college football game. Fans can vote as many times as they like, with each vote counting as one entry into a sweepstakes to win a trip to the 2007 BCS National Championship game.

Cingular customers can visit Cingular's NCAA® Football Portal on their wireless handset to view video highlights of each week's candidates, retrieve photos, check scoreboards, track their favorite teams, and download school ringtones.

In December, four finalists for the Cingular All-America Player of the Year award will be announced during a one-hour special on ABC Sports. Fans will then get a chance to say who the best player in the nation is by voting for the Cingular All-America Player of the Year up until the Bowl Championship Series. The selection process will culminate during the BCS National Championship game on FOX when the Cingular All-America Player of the Year will be presented.

Last year, Texas quarterback Vince Young was crowned as the Cingular All-America Player of the Year, beating out Southern California teammates Reggie Bush and Matt Leinart and Notre Dame quarterback Brady Quinn. Young was the second Longhorn to claim the award, after running back Cedric Benson won the inaugural honor in 2004.

Inside Tennessee Top Stories