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Bruce Goes Out With 23-20 Win : Reports Say He'll File $7.4-Million Suit Against School

November 22, 1987|From Times Wire Services

ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Earle Bruce, who didn't want to leave, left as a winner.

Matt Frantz, a goat a year ago, kicked a 26-yard field goal with 5:18 remaining Saturday to give Ohio State a 23-20 Big Ten Conference victory over Michigan.

Bruce, who was told Monday this would be his final game as coach of the Buckeyes, finished with an 81-26-1 record in nine years at Ohio State, 5-4 against the Wolverines.

"There is no sweeter victory in the world than a win over Michigan in your last game at Ohio State," Bruce said. "But the real thrill was coming back when you're down 13-0 after the week we had.

"I think this team is certainly made of the right stuff. This is one for the Buckeyes. God bless them. I love them."

Later, Bruce lashed out at those he said were attacking his character and spreading lies about him, including Ohio Gov. Richard Celeste and Ohio State President Edward H. Jennings.

"I guess anyone has a right to fire me, but what I don't like is what they're saying, what they've said," Bruce said.

"The innuendo about my own character I dislike. . . ."

Celeste said earlier this week that he understood Bruce was fired in part because of his handling of quarterback Art Schlichter's gambling problem at Ohio State.

Bruce will file a $7.4-million suit against the university and Jennings, two Columbus broadcasting stations said Saturday.

The suit, to be filed this week by attorney John Zonak, will charge the university and Jennings with breach of contract and intent to deprive Bruce of First Amendment rights, radio station WTVN and television station WSYX reported.

The suit will ask for $448,000 in actual damages and other monetary losses, $2 million for violating Bruce's due process rights and $5 million compensatory and punitive damages, according to Zonak.

The Buckeyes finished the season 6-4-1 overall, 4-4 in conference play.

Michigan, which could have clinched a tie for second in the Big Ten with a win, will enter the Hall of Fame Bowl Jan. 2 at Tampa, Fla., with an overall record of 7-4, 5-3 in the Big Ten.

Last year, Frantz missed a 45-yard field goal with 1:03 left as Michigan beat Ohio State, 26-24.

With the score tied, 20-20, Ohio State quarterback Tom Tupa drove the Buckeyes 77 yards in 15 plays, running 6:45 off the clock, setting up the winning field goal.

Jamie Morris, who gained 130 yards in 23 carries, scored on a one-yard run.

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