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Spartans Deliver for Perles : Big Ten: Michigan State presents coach with a 42-30 victory over Purdue in his final home game.

November 13, 1994|From Associated Press

EAST LANSING, Mich. — It was an emotional struggle, both on the field and off. Yet a tearful George Perles was able to walk out a winner in his final game at Spartan Stadium.

"It's kind of embarrassing to let your emotions go," Perles said. "It happens at wakes and funerals. I've always had a tendency to let go at these events."

This was a heart-tugging game, one the Spartans were in danger of losing.

It took the passing of Tony Banks, plus the running of Duane Goulbourne and Marc Renaud, to bring the Spartans back from an 18-point deficit for a 42-30 victory over Purdue.

Perles, who was fired Tuesday, will coach his final game Nov. 26 when the Spartans, 5-5 overall and 4-3 in the Big Ten, close out the regular season at Penn State.

"We didn't agree with what happened this week, so we went out there to win this one for Coach Perles," said Banks, who completed 15 of 20 passes for 176 yards and one touchdown, without an interception. "Everyone on this team loves him, and that's why we played so hard."

As the final seconds ticked down, players gathered around Perles on the sideline. The obligatory Gatorade dousing came with 17 seconds to play as Renaud was diving into the line on the final play.

The portly Perles was hoisted on many shoulders and carried about 10 yards toward the center of the field. He doffed his cap, then players and well-wishers tousled his hair. Purdue Coach Jim Colletto walked over and gave him a hug.

"I can't tell you what Jim Colletto said to me in private," Perles said. "He was very, very compassionate. It would be embarrassing to tell you what a guy he is."

"Thanks, George," read a large banner near the tunnel as Perles headed up toward the dressing rooms. Perles, who is 9-2-1 against Purdue, will take a 73-61-4 record into the final game at Penn State. He was 39-29-2 in Spartan Stadium.

Purdue (4-4-2, 2-3-2), getting three touchdowns from Mike Alstott, led, 21-3, with 7:55 left in the half. But the Spartans scored 25 unanswered points to take a 28-21 lead. The Boilermakers kept threatening, but the Spartans never gave up the lead.

The go-ahead touchdown came in the third quarter when Ike Reese picked up a fumble by Alstott and ran 38 yards.

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