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Ohio State Stays Alive

November 12, 2000|From Associated Press

Dan Stultz kicked a 34-yard field goal with six seconds to play Saturday, giving 13th-ranked Ohio State a 24-21 victory over Illinois at Champaign, Ill.

"You can't second guess our heart and you can't second guess Dan Stultz's heart today," said Stultz, clutching a game ball.

Ohio State, 8-2 overall and 5-2 in the Big Ten, moved into a four-way tie atop the conference standings with Purdue, Northwestern and Michigan and set up a climactic regular-season finale against Michigan on Saturday at Columbus, Ohio.

The winner will go to the Rose Bowl, if Purdue and Northwestern lose.

"This is huge for us," said quarterback Steve Bellisari, who said the Buckeyes learned at halftime that league-leading Northwestern and Purdue had lost. "We knew what we had to play for."

Stultz, who made four field goals, tied the score, 21-21, with 6:05 remaining with a 17-yard kick.

Illinois (5-5, 2-5) intercepted three of Bellisari's passes to protect its fragile lead, but Bellisari recovered to lead the tying and winning drives.

The Buckeyes ran at will most of the game with Jonathan Wells gaining 131 yards and Derek Combs adding 65. But Illinois made just enough big plays to keep them from the end zone.

The loss leaves Illinois one victory short of bowl eligibility in a season in which it lost three Big Ten games by four points or less.

"It gets harder and harder each time," tight end Josh Whitman said.

No. 20 Michigan 33, Penn State 11--Anthony Thomas ran for 171 yards in 35 carries at Ann Arbor, Mich., moving the Wolverines (7-3, 5-2) into a tie atop the conference standings and sending the Nittany Lions (4-7, 3-4) to their worst record in nearly 70 years.

Drew Henson passed for 212 yards and two touchdowns to help Michigan drop Penn State to its worst record since the Nittany Lions finished 2-5 in 1932.

Wisconsin 43, Indiana 22--Jim Sorgi completed 16 of 21 passes for 207 yards and three touchdowns in relief of injured Brooks Bollinger at Bloomington, Ind.

Wisconsin (7-4, 4-4) scored 36 points in the second half against the Hoosiers (3-7, 2-5) and are bowl eligible.

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