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Clarett Comes Back, Ohio State Cruises

September 29, 2002|From Associated Press

After missing a week because of a knee injury, Ohio State freshman Maurice Clarett ran for 104 yards and scored three touchdowns on short first-half runs as the sixth-ranked Buckeyes beat Indiana, 45-17, in a Big Ten Conference game Saturday at Columbus, Ohio.

Clarett, who had arthroscopic surgery Sept. 17 to remove torn cartilage from his right knee, gained 51 yards in 14 first-half carries, then gained 53 yards in seven second-half carries.

The three touchdowns gave Clarett nine in four games--the most by an Ohio State freshman during one season in more than half a century. Cris Carter had eight in 1984, and Robert Smith matched the total in 1990.

The 6-foot, 230-pound Clarett missed last week's narrow victory at Cincinnati.

"All of us in the stadium were excited to have Maurice back in uniform and playing," Tressel said. "We're better when he's playing."

Clarett scored on runs of two, one and four yards as Ohio State (5-0, 1-0 in conference) built a 21-10 lead on the Hoosiers (2-3, 0-1). He didn't carry the ball after having a 28-yard run called back because of a holding penalty with five minutes left in the third quarter.

Indiana stayed in the game until midway through the third quarter, thanks to quarterback Gibran Hamdan, who completed 16 of 26 passes for 210 yards and a touchdown.

No. 14 Michigan 45, Illinois 28--John Navarre threw for 264 yards and four touchdowns and Michigan's defense forced five turnovers at Champaign, Ill. Michigan (4-1, 1-0)--second to last in scoring in the Big Ten--scored 31 consecutive points.

After winning the Big Ten last season, Illinois (1-4, 0-1) is off to its worst start since going 0-11 in 1997. It was the third time this season Illinois has given up more than 30 points.

Navarre threw two touchdowns passes to tight end Bennie Joppru, who had seven catches for 74 yards. Running back Chris Perry ran for two scores and had 90 yards rushing in 22 carries.

Michigan State 39, Northwestern 24--Charles Rogers set an NCAA record by catching a touchdown pass in his 13th consecutive regular-season game as Michigan State won at East Lansing, Mich. Rogers broke the record shared by Marshall's Randy Moss, Michigan's Desmond Howard and Pacific's Aaron Turner.

Rogers' 21-yard touchdown reception midway through the second quarter gave Michigan State (3-2, 1-0) a 17-10 lead. The Spartans scored 16 consecutive points over a span of 5:44 during the third and fourth quarters to pull away from Northwestern (2-3, 0-1).

Michigan State's Dawan Moss rushed for a career-high 191 yards in 26 carries.

Purdue 28, Minnesota 15--Joey Harris ran for 106 yards and two touchdowns and the Boilermakers scored 21 third-quarter points at West Lafayette, Ind. Purdue (3-2, 1-0) has won seven consecutive games against Minnesota and has not lost at home to the Gophers since 1990.

Minnesota (4-1, 0-1) was stymied by a defense that returned one interception for a score and recovered a fumble that led to another touchdown.

Minnesota's Asad Abdul-Khaliq came in leading the nation in passing efficiency, but was 16 for 48 for 233 yards with one touchdown and one interception.

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