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BIG TEN

Purdue Passes Test at Wisconsin

October 19, 2003|From Associated Press

Purdue Coach Joe Tiller returned the pass to the Boilermakers' playbook in a big way Saturday at Madison, Wis.

"This is why I came to Purdue, to have the games in my hands and throw the ball 55, 60 times a game," junior quarterback Kyle Orton said after the 13th-ranked Boilermakers defeated No. 14 Wisconsin, 26-23.

After getting into the end zone on its first two possessions, Purdue, 6-1 overall and 3-0 in the Big Ten, settled for four field goals from Ben Jones, including the winning 18-yarder with three seconds left.

The Boilermakers served notice that the passing attack that defined the Drew Brees era is back.

Orton completed 38 of 55 passes for 411 yards with one touchdown and no interceptions. Taylor Stubblefield and John Standeford combined for 30 receptions and 314 yards.

"It felt like a new offense," Stubblefield said. "We've been having success running the ball. Today it became the receivers' turn and we delivered."

Stubblefield had 16 catches for 130 yards and a score, and Standeford caught 14 passes for 184 yards, including a 50-yarder that TV replays showed should have been a 76-yard score had officials not ruled he stepped out of bounds at the Wisconsin 26.

Orton hadn't had this kind of game since Dec. 21, 2001, when he was 38 of 75 for 419 yards in a loss to Washington State in the Sun Bowl.

"We came in here believing we could throw the football," Tiller said. "The last three weeks we controlled the game on the run. They basically took the run away from us."

Tiller said he saw how the Badgers stifled Ohio State's running game a week earlier and adjusted his approach accordingly.

"We planned to throw it early and throw it often. We hoped to tire them out," Tiller said.

The Badgers (6-2, 3-1) swore they saw it coming.

"We anticipated that would be the type of attack that they would try," Badger Coach Barry Alvarez said.

*

No. 15 Michigan State 44, No. 25 Minnesota 38 -- Jeff Smoker threw for 252 yards and ran for a touchdown and DeAndra Cobb had a 100-yard kickoff return at Minneapolis as the Spartans won their fifth in a row.

Jaren Hayes had two touchdown runs for Michigan State (7-1, 4-0), which ended a three-game losing streak to the Gophers (6-2, 2-2).

Minnesota trailed, 37-17, but rallied behind quarterback Asad Abdul-Khaliq, who was 27 of 40 for a career-high 377 yards and four touchdowns.

Abdul-Khaliq's eight-yard scoring pass to Aaron Hosack with 2:02 left cut the deficit to 44-38, but the Spartans recovered an onside kick and ran out the clock.

The Spartans are 4-0 in the Big Ten for only the third time in school history. The previous two times, Michigan State went on to win back-to-back conference titles in 1965-66.

*

No. 17 Michigan 56, Illinois 14 -- Chris Perry ran for three touchdowns and 140 yards and Steve Breaston returned a punt 74 yards for a score at Ann Arbor, Mich., as the Wolverines (6-2, 3-1) scored more than 50 points for the first time since beating Indiana, 58-0, on Oct. 14, 2000.

Illinois (1-7, 0-4), which has lost conference games by an average of 32 points, has dropped six in a row since beating I-AA Illinois State.

Michigan's John Navarre completed 18 of 27 passes for 203 yards and a touchdown, with no interceptions.

Illinois' Chris Pazan started in place of Jon Beutjer, who missed the game because of a sore back.

Pazan was 11 of 23 for 100 yards with an interception.

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