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Michigan Uses late Breaks to Beat Illinois

September 24, 2000|From Associated Press

Anthony Thomas scored on a three-yard run with less than 2:30 left as No. 10 Michigan took advantage of two late fumbles and defeated No. 19 Illinois, 35-31, in a Big Ten Conference game Saturday night at Champaign, Ill.

Just before the touchdown, Thomas appeared to fumble near the goal line, but officials ruled he was down. A replay appeared to show otherwise.

Thomas rushed for 228 yards and two touchdowns to help the Wolverines, 3-1 overall and 1-0 in the Big Ten, avoid a repeat of the previous Saturday's loss to UCLA.

The Wolverines, who blew a 20-point second-half lead to Illinois last season, rallied from a 21-7 deficit in the third quarter behind quarterback Drew Henson.

Illinois lost two of its three fumbles, including one of its last drive.

"There are a lot of things we could have done better so I'm not going to put it on that [the fumbles]," said Illini Coach Ron Turner. "Obviously, protecting the football is one of them."

After missing the first three games because of a broken right foot, Henson replaced an ineffective John Navarre late in the second quarter.

No. 14 Ohio State 45, Penn State 6--After waiting out a thunderstorm that delayed the kickoff at Columbus, Ohio, six Buckeyes scored touchdowns in a victory that saddled Joe Paterno with his worst loss in his 35 seasons as a head coach.

Ohio State, opening Big Ten play, moved to 4-0 for the seventh time in 10 years. Penn State fell to 1-4, 0-1.

Steve Bellisari completed 10 of 17 passes for 203 yards, including a fluky 18-yard touchdown pass to Darnell Sanders.

As Bellisari's pass for Ken-Yon Rambo at the goal line hung in the air, defender Bruce Branch cut in front of Rambo to go for the interception. The pass bounced off his hands and into those of teammate James Boyd, who tipped the ball into the air. Sanders reached out and pulled in ball and scored.

It was that kind of day for Penn State.

The Buckeyes secured the victory with three touchdowns in the third quarter.

The first came on a one-yard run by Derek Combs, who rushed for 86 yards in 23 carries. An interception set up the second and noseguard Mike Collins scored the third on a 11-yard fumble return.

No. 21 Purdue 38, Minnesota 24--Drew Brees set Big Ten career records for completions and attempts in leading the Boilermakers (3-1, 1-0) over the Gophers (2-2, 0-1) at West Lafayette, Ind.

Brees, who completed 33 of 49 passes for 409 yards and two touchdowns, has 1,325 attempts, 820 completions, 9,487 yards and 73 touchdown passes in 36 games. He topped the Big Ten marks of 797 completions set by Illinois' Jack Trudeau and 1,309 attempts by Purdue's Mark Herrmann.

Brees also rushed for 88 yards, including an 11-yard run for Purdue's final touchdown.

His 497 yards of total offense made him the second player in conference history to accumulate 10,000 yards. Brees has 10,036 and needs 219 to top the record set by Iowa's Chuck Long.

Indiana 42, Cincinnati 6--Antwaan Randle El and Levron Williams each rushed for two touchdowns as the Hoosiers, who blew big leads in losing their first two games, rolled over the Bearcats at Bloomington, Ind.

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