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A walkon's FG saves Michigan

©Associated Press
September 1, 2002

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Philip Brabbs went from unknown to goat to man of the hour for Michigan.

The walkon kicked a 44-yard field goal, the first of his career, as time expired Saturday to give Michigan a 31-29 win over Washington.

"I've hung low for a while in college," said Brabbs, a junior who hadn't tried a field goal for the Wolverines before the game. "This changes things."

A blunder by the Huskies made the sensational finish possible.

After the Wolverines failed to complete a pass on third and 10 with six seconds left, Washington was penalized 15 yards for having 12 men on the field. Without the flag, a field-goal try would have been from 59 yards.

"We switched substitution groups, which we're going to kick ourselves about for a thousand years," Washington coach Rick Neuheisel said.

Wolverines quarterback John Navarre spiked the ball to stop the clock at five seconds. To the delight of the crowd of 111,491 at Michigan Stadium, Brabbs' kick went down the middle for his first field goal since he was a senior at Midland (Mich.) Dow High in 1998.

"I didn't know how to react," Brabbs said. "I started doing circles around the field, then I got tackled by one of my teammates. Then I had 10 guys on top of me, then everybody piled on and I got scrunched."

Brabbs atoned for two misses in the first half from 36 and 42 yards. He was replaced by Troy Nienberg, who missed a 27-yarder with 1:24 left.

That gave Washington the ball at its 20.

Michigan's Chris Perry ran for 120 yards and three touchdowns. Navarre was 22-for-38 for 268 yards with a touchdown and an interception. The Wolverines used their three timeouts, forcing Washington to punt with 1:08 left. Michigan started at its 42.

Before Brabbs' winning kick, the Wolverines got another big break on fourth and 2 with 32 seconds left.

Officials ruled a pass that went in and out of Braylon Edwards' hands and was recovered by teammate Tyrece Butler was a fumble, not an incomplete pass. Replays appeared to show Edwards never had possession. Edwards didn't think he'd caught it because he stood motionless before Butler pounced on the ball.

Michigan coach Lloyd Carr made no apologies for getting a favorable call.

"That game was won five or six times and lost five or six times," Carr said. "And there's no question, when we look back on this game, the hustle play that Tyrece Butler made to come up with that ball won the game for us. It gave us a chance. Braylon on the other hand, he thought he dropped it. Thank God, Tyrece was hustling."

Washington's Cody Pickett was 28-of-45 for 318 yards with two TDs and an interception. Rich Alexis ran for 98 yards and two TDs, including a 1-yard run with 8:24 to go that put the Huskies ahead 29-28.

MICHIGAN ST. 56, E. MICHIGAN 7: Jeff Smoker threw for 232 yards and three touchdowns for the host Spartans.

Smoker, who turned in one of the best seasons by a Spartan quarterback as a sophomore last season, connected with Eric Knott on two touchdowns, a 4-yarder with 5:45 to go in the second quarter and a 30-yarder four minutes later to give Michigan State a 28-0 lead.

Converted tailback Dawan Moss, replacing first-round NFL pick T.J. Duckett, rushed 12 times for 136 yards and two touchdowns.

AIR FORCE 52, NORTHWESTERN 3: Chance Harridge rushed for two touchdowns and passed for another for the host Falcons in the opener for both.

Air Force had 523 yards (476 rushing) and tied a school record for largest margin of victory on opening day. The Falcons scored on their first five possessions and led 38-0 at halftime.

PURDUE 51, ILLINOIS ST. 10: Kyle Orton had three touchdown passes and Joey Harris ran for 144 yards and scored twice for the host Boilermakers.

Harris, who had 255 yards rushing last season, had 83 in the first quarter and topped 100 early in the third. He scored on a 6-yard run in the first and a 57-yard pass from Orton in the second.

Purdue's 337 yards of offense in the first half was more than its total in seven games last season.

IOWA 57, AKRON 21: Fred Russell scored two touchdowns and rushed for 170 yards in his first start for the host Hawkeyes, who scored a school-record 37 first-quarter points.

Russell, who had 21 carries last season, started for the injured Aaron Greving and scored on runs of 44 and 35 yards as Iowa took a 23-0 lead less than seven minutes into its opener.

INDIANA 25, WILLIAM & MARY 17: Tommy Jones threw three touchdowns and the host Hoosiers set a school record by holding their Division I-AA foe to minus-32 yards rushing.

William & Mary ran two plays from the Indiana 1 in the final seven seconds, but both passes were broken up. Also in the final 10 minutes, Indiana's A.C. Carter intercepted a pass in the end zone, and the Tribe lost the ball on downs inside the Hoosiers 10.

Indiana took its first lead when John Pannozzo caught an 8-yard score with 9:34 left in the third. Less than two minutes later, the snap on a Tribe punt sailed through the end zone to make it 19-14.

MINNESOTA 42, SW TEXAS 0: Asad Abdul-Khaliq threw two touchdowns, one on the game's first play, and ran for another score for the host Golden Gophers.

Entering his first season as the starter, Abdul-Khaliq got Minnesota going quickly with a 75-yard pass to Ben Utecht 23 seconds into the game.

Minnesota got touchdowns on its first four possessions and had 202 rushing yards against the overmatched Division I-AA Bobcats, who gave up the most points since losing 49-0 in 1996 against Northwestern State.

The Gophers posted their first shutout since Sept. 11, 1999, when they beat Louisiana-Monroe 35-0.

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