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Ohio State Wins on a Miss

Buckeyes remain in Sugar Bowl contention with a 16-13 overtime victory over Purdue.

November 16, 2003|From Associated Press

COLUMBUS, Ohio — The snap was good. The hold was good. Ohio State's luck was really good.

The fourth-ranked Buckeyes pulled another magical escape in a tight spot Saturday, beating No. 11 Purdue, 16-13, in overtime when Ben Jones missed a 36-yard field goal on the final play.

"It felt good off my foot," Jones said. "Then I looked up."

Asked what went wrong, Purdue Coach Joe Tiller stared straight ahead and said, "There was nothing. Nothing. We missed it."

Jones also shanked a 28-yard attempt in the third quarter with the score tied, 6-6.

Mike Nugent kicked a 36-yard field goal of his own in overtime, which ended up giving the Buckeyes their third victory of the season without scoring a touchdown on offense.

The Boilermakers almost blocked Nugent's kick.

"Yeah, the last field goal was tipped," holder B.J. Sander said. "I think it was No. 59 [linebacker Stanford Keglar]. He got a piece of it. But Nuge is a great kicker and he put it through."

Nugent could have won the game on the last play of regulation, but Purdue's Bobby Iwuchukwu leaped high to block a 41-yard try.

The victory keeps the Buckeyes, 10-1 overall and 6-1 in the Big Ten, in contention for the national title. They are tied with No. 5 Michigan for the conference lead heading into their showdown Saturday in Ann Arbor.

Purdue (8-3, 5-2) lost its sixth in a row to the Buckeyes in Columbus.

Ohio State, the defending national champion, kept alive its streak of winning close calls. The Buckeyes were 7-0 in games decided by a touchdown or less a year ago and are 5-1 this season.

Saturday, backup defensive end Mike Kudla pounced on Kyle Orton's fumble in the end zone with 11:23 left in the fourth quarter to break the tie and put the Buckeyes in front, 13-6.

Orton, who completed 27 of 47 passes for 249 yards without an interception, was sandwiched between Ohio State linemen Tim Anderson and Will Smith near the goal line on third and seven from the Purdue eight. Anderson reached out and pulled Orton's arm loose from the ball and Kudla scrambled in to fall on the ball.

"I was a little wide-eyed," Kudla said of his first collegiate points.

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