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Gophers Dig Deep, Stop Boilermakers

September 25, 2005|From Associated Press

A familiar feeling washed over Glen Mason after his Minnesota Gophers gave up a touchdown to Purdue in overtime.

"I was dreading having to go, look in their eyes in the locker room and have to give them one of those talks that I've had to give too many times," Mason said.

"We've kind of been snake-bitten against Purdue."

Maybe this year is going to be different for the Gophers. Saturday was.

Gary Russell scored three touchdowns, the last a three-yard run in the second overtime, to lift Minnesota to a 42-35 victory that ended a seven-game losing streak to the 11th-ranked Boilermakers in Minneapolis.

Laurence Maroney had a career-high 217 rushing yards in 46 carries for the Gophers, 4-0 and 1-0 in the Big Ten Conference, who held on in a back-and-forth game between the teams.

"Maybe this is payback for all those close games in the past few years," said quarterback Bryan Cupito, who threw for 271 yards, three touchdowns and three interceptions. "It feels great to win this game. We finally beat Purdue! I hope people start to realize that we're a legit team."

Purdue had a chance to tie the score in the second overtime, but Jerod Void was stuffed on a third-and-one play from the Minnesota 17, and Brandon Kirsch's fourth-down pass glanced off Charles Davis' hands. The Gophers charged the field in celebration of Mason's first victory over Purdue in seven tries as Minnesota coach.

Kory Sheets rushed for 101 yards for Purdue (2-1, 0-1), and his five-yard touchdown gave the Boilermakers a 35-28 lead in the first overtime.

But the Gophers tied the score on Cupito's eight-yard touchdown pass to Logan Payne.

The Gophers took the ball to start the second overtime, and Cupito hit Payne on a 15-yard pass to set up Russell's game-winning score two plays later.

It was a bit of vindication for Mason and the Gophers, who have been criticized for scheduling weak opponents in nonconference play, then folding against Big Ten competition.

That especially has been the case against the Boilermakers, who beat Minnesota, 35-28, in overtime in 2001.

"I hate overtime," Mason said.

"I love double overtime."

The Gophers nearly let this one slip away, too, during a wild fourth quarter. Russell's five-yard touchdown reception in the third gave the Gophers a 17-7 lead, but it was all Maroney for the first three quarters.

Purdue entered with the nation's No. 1 ranked rushing defense after yielding only 16 yards a game to Akron and Arizona.

The Boilermakers found out quickly that they were facing a much more difficult task against Minnesota's top-ranked rushing offense, which churned out 301 yards.

"It was a great defense we went against," Maroney said. "Everybody was like, 'Can we run the ball against them?' We just proved that we can and we're feeling good right now."

No. 17 Michigan State 61, Illinois 14 -- Drew Stanton set a school record with five touchdown passes and the Spartans scored on six of eight first-half possessions in a romp at Champaign, Ill.

Michigan State (4-0, 1-0) entered with the fourth-ranked offense in the nation and rolled up 705 yards. Illinois (2-2, 0-1) gave up 381 yards before halftime as Stanton did as he pleased during a 28-point second quarter.

Michigan State's offensive output set a Memorial Stadium record for yards by an Illinois opponent. The 61 points were the most scored by the Spartans since they scored 76 against Northwestern in 1989.

Penn State 34, Northwestern 29 -- Michael Robinson's 36-yard touchdown pass to Derrick Williams with 51 seconds left lifted Penn State to a wild victory at Evanston, Ill.

The lead changed three times in the closing minutes.

The Nittany Lions (4-0, 1-0) overcame four turnovers and a 16-point deficit to end a two-game losing streak to the Wildcats (2-2, 0-1).

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