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BIG TEN

Michigan Stays in the Race

October 26, 2003|From Associated Press

Michigan's complete performance kept its Big Ten title hopes alive.

John Navarre threw two touchdown passes to Braylon Edwards, and the 13th-ranked Wolverines shut down No. 10 Purdue's passing game in a 31-3 victory Saturday that moved them into second place in the conference.

"We know to win the Big Ten, we have to win the rest of our games," Edwards said.

The Wolverines (7-2, 4-1 in the conference) took control of the game at Ann Arbor, Mich., with two first-quarter touchdowns and never gave the Boilermakers (6-2, 3-1) a chance to win at Michigan Stadium for the first time since 1966.

"I thought our defense and special teams were the difference," Michigan Coach Lloyd Carr said. "It was a good performance to stay in the race."

Michigan's win sets up a game next week at No. 11 Michigan State (7-1, 4-0) that will have more than just local interest. The Spartans are the only team without a Big Ten loss.

"It's going to be a big game with a lot of hype," Navarre said.

Steve Breaston's 21-yard end-around gave the Wolverines a 14-0 lead, which they maintained until halftime. Markus Curry's two-yard fumble return, after Carl Diggs forced a fumble, put Michigan ahead, 28-3, early in the fourth quarter.

The Boilermakers, who had won six straight, had a chance to be 7-1 for the first time since 1978 and to be 4-0 in the Big Ten for the first time in 23 years.

"I'm not stunned," Purdue Coach Joe Tiller said. "I felt that this was the most talented team in the league."

Navarre completed 17 of 30 passes for 225 yards with touchdown passes of 14 and 26 yards to Edwards, who caught six passes for 86 yards. Jason Avant caught five passes for 90 yards.

No. 8 Ohio State 35, Indiana 6 -- The Buckeyes' beleaguered offense ran the ball like a defending national champion, made big plays in the passing game and even had the Bloomington, Ind., crowd on its side.

Lydell Ross rushed for a career-high 167 yards and scored three touchdowns, backup receiver Santonio Holmes caught two touchdowns and Craig Krenzel just missed his career high with 272 yards passing as the Buckeyes (7-1, 3-1) routed the Hoosiers.

"That's a special feeling for our players to come out and there is as much noise for us as for the opponent," Buckeye Coach Jim Tressel said. "When we have that following, it's great."

For Indiana (1-7, 0-4) it was easily the bleakest day of what is becoming an increasingly frustrating season. The Hoosiers lost their fifth straight game, their 10th in a row against a Big Ten opponent and their 11th straight to Ohio State.

No. 16 Iowa 26, Penn State 14 -- Nathan Chandler threw for two touchdowns and ran for another, and Fred Russell rushed for 148 yards as the host Hawkeyes handed the Nittany Lions their fourth consecutive loss.

Chandler settled down after throwing two interceptions in the first quarter, including one returned for a touchdown. He fired two touchdown passes in the second quarter and scored in the third quarter on a one-yard dive, giving Iowa (6-2, 2-2) a 26-7 lead.

But it was Iowa's defense that helped prolong Penn State's longest skid since opening 2001 with four straight losses. The Hawkeyes held Penn State (2-6, 0-4) to 167 yards.

Minnesota 36, Illinois 10 -- Laurence Maroney ran for 179 yards and two touchdowns and Asad Abdul-Khaliq threw three touchdown passes at Champaign, Ill.

Marion Barber III added 129 yards rushing to help Minnesota roll up 575 yards in total offense, its fourth game of more than 500 yards. The Gophers (7-2, 3-2) have had only one game under 400 yards this season.

Illinois (1-8, 0-5) lost its seventh straight game.

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