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No. 2 Buckeyes Struggle in Beating Aztecs, 16-13

September 07, 2003|From Associated Press

Defending national champion Ohio State stayed perfect despite an imperfect game.

Will Allen returned a tipped pass 100 yards for a touchdown for one of the few highlights as No. 2 Ohio State slipped past 32-point underdog San Diego State, 16-13, Saturday at Columbus, Ohio.

"We were ready to play. I'm not sure about the national champions," Aztec linebacker Kirk Morrison said. "I've never been a moral victory guy, but no one expected us to be in the game. Thirty-two point underdogs? I took offense to that."

The Buckeyes (2-0) won their 16th game in a row but were in trouble throughout as quarterback Craig Krenzel had the worst game of his career. Krenzel was five of 20 for 76 yards with one interception and three sacks.

"Fortunately we found a way to win," Krenzel said. "Great teams have to win ugly some times."

The Buckeyes were manhandled up front. San Diego State (1-1) had twice as many first downs (20-10) and outgained the Buckeyes, 216-196. Ohio State converted only one of 14 third-down opportunities and had two turnovers.

San Diego State played without starting quarterback Adam Hall, who was sidelined because of a sprained ankle and was replaced by Matt Dlugolecki.

"The fans clapped for us going off the field. That's a first," San Diego State Coach Tom Craft said. "[The Buckeyes'] experience was the final difference today."

Bowling Green 27, No. 16 Purdue 26 -- Josh Harris led the Falcons on a game-winning drive, finishing it with an improbable 32-yard touchdown pass to Charles Sharon on a fourth-and-14 play with 2:08 left at West Lafayette, Ind.

Bowling Green (2-0) handed Purdue (0-1) its first opening-day loss since 1998.

Harris completed 22 of 40 passes for 357 yards and three touchdowns. On the winning play, he avoided pressure by stepping up in the pocket and releasing the ball just before he was hit. As the ball fluttered toward the end zone, Sharon ran toward it, dived and caught it between four Purdue defenders.

Purdue drove to the Bowling Green 33 with 1:10 left but decided to go for it on fourth down rather than try a 50-yard field goal. Kyle Orton's pass was dropped by Taylor Stubblefield near the first-down marker and Bowling Green took over, electing to take a safety on the final play.

No. 5 Michigan 50, Houston 3 -- At Ann Arbor, Mich., Chris Perry ran for 184 yards -- pushing his two-game total to 416 -- as the Wolverines tuned up for Saturday's showdown against No. 19 Notre Dame.

John Navarre was 13 of 30 for 136 yards with a touchdown and no interceptions. Navarre, who has completed 527 career passes, surpassed Elvis Grbac for the most completions in Michigan (2-0) history.

After Michigan forced a fumble midway through the first quarter, it scored 22 points over the next 16 minutes against the Cougars (1-1) to spark the rout.

No. 18 Wisconsin 48, Akron 31 -- Lee Evans hauled in a 99-yard scoring pass from Jim Sorgi in the closing minutes to spark the Badgers at Madison, Wis.

The senior receiver had 214 yards receiving and Anthony Davis had 247 yards rushing, marking the first time in the program's 114-year history that the Badgers (2-0) had a receiver and running back top 200 yards in a game.

Evans caught his pass moments after the Zips' Bobby Hendry was stopped inches from the goal line on fourth down with 6 1/2 minutes remaining.

The Zips (0-2) had already trimmed a 21-point halftime deficit to 34-31, but they fell apart after failing to grab the lead.

Air Force 22, Northwestern 21 -- Joey Ashcroft's 25-yard field goal completed the Falcons' comeback at Evanston, Ill.

Nate Allen's 79-yard interception return got Air Force (2-0) within 21-19, but the Falcons' try for two came up short.

Dennis Poland then intercepted a pass by Bret Basanez of Northwestern (1-1) to set up Ashcroft's heroics.

Michigan State 44, Rutgers 28 -- Jeff Smoker threw for 351 yards and three touchdowns and the Spartans (2-0) defeated the Scarlet Knights (1-1) at East Lansing, Mich.

Minnesota 48, Troy State 7 -- Asad Abdul-Khaliq set a school record with his 41st career touchdown pass at Minneapolis as the Golden Gophers (2-0) routed the Trojans (0-2).

Iowa 56, Buffalo 7 -- Nathan Chandler threw two touchdown passes at Iowa City as the Hawkeyes (2-0) handed the Bulls (0-2) their 12th consecutive loss, the nation's longest losing streak.

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