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Big Ten: Fourth-down TD spurs Buckeyes, keeps national title hopes alive

©Associated Press
November 10, 2002

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -- Ohio State trailed on the road and faced fourth down late in Saturday's game, with not only a win but the Big Ten title and a chance at the Fiesta Bowl slipping away.

Craig Krenzel found a way to keep it all within reach for the Buckeyes.

He threw a 37-yard touchdown to Michael Jenkins on fourth and 1 with 1:36 left as Ohio State defeated Purdue 10-6 to keep its national championship hopes alive.

The Buckeyes are 11-0 for the fourth time, joining the 1975, '79 and '95 teams. More important, they stayed on course for a trip to Tempe, Ariz., and a shot at the national title.

The Boilermakers led 6-3 when Krenzel dropped back and found former Tampa Leto standout Jenkins for an over-the-shoulder catch in the end zone.

Jenkins beat Antwaun Rogers to get open.

"That's what a receiver has to do. We have to separate when the ball is coming," Jenkins said.

Purdue got the ball again, but Kyle Orton's pass into double coverage was intercepted by Chris Gamble.

Krenzel faced pressure all game and was sacked three times. Purdue allowed 267 total yards.

Buckeyes running back Maurice Clarett, who had nerve damage in his left shoulder that kept him out of the past two games, started and ran 14 times for 52 yards. OSU receiver Chris Vance missed the game; he was attending funeral of his younger brother, Percy, who died Nov. 1.

* * *

IOWA 62, NORTHWESTERN 10: Brad Banks is the main reason Iowa is hanging around the cluttered race for a BCS spot.

He threw for three touchdowns and ran for two, leading the host Hawkeyes to their eighth straight victory.

Banks made the most of his chances during his final home game. The nation's leader in pass efficiency completed all 10 of his passes for 197 yards. He has gone three games without an interception.

The Hawkeyes lead Ohio State in the Big Ten but the Buckeyes clinch the title if they win out based on a better overall record. If Ohio State wins its last two it is in line for the Fiesta Bowl, meaning Iowa could have the inside track to a trip to its first Rose Bowl since the 1990 season.

"The pursuit of our goals is not over," said Maurice Brown, who caught four passes for 129 yards and two scores. "We're one game away. We can't lose focus now."

The Wildcats tried an onside kick on the opening kickoff, but Iowa safety Sean Considine picked up the ball and ran to the Northwestern 25. Five plays later, Jermelle Lewis scored on 7-yard run for the Hawkeyes.

On Northwestern's next possession, the Wildcats tried to convert on fourth and 1 from their 40. But Fred Barr spoiled the plan when he tackled Jason Wright in the flat for no gain, again giving the Hawkeyes excellent field position. On the next play Banks threw a 40-yard TD to Maurice Brown.

MICHIGAN 41, MINNESOTA 24: John Navarre passed for 225 yards and two touchdowns and B.J. Askew ran for 126 yards on 11 carries for the visiting Wolverines.

Michigan gained 478 yards and took control by scoring 24 straight points in a seven-minute span in the second half. Michigan, which hasn't lost to the Golden Gophers since 1986 and has never lost in the Metrodome, hung on to the Little Brown Jug for another year.

Freshman Pierre Woods deflated the hopes of the Golden Gophers by blocking Preston Gruening's punt and setting up Braylon Edwards' one-handed 10-yard touchdown grab in the corner of the end zone on the next play to give Michigan a 27-17 lead.

PENN ST. 35, VIRGINIA 14: Zack Mills threw two touchdowns for the host Nittany Lions. Mills completed 19 of 30 for 227 yards, his first 200-yard game since throwing for 264 in a 27-24 overtime loss Oct. 12 at Michigan.

PSU's Larry Johnson had 31 carries for 188 yards and one touchdown.

On the second play of the fourth quarter, the Nittany Lions faked a field goal and third-string quarterback Chris Ganter swept around the left side for a 30-yard touchdown run.

Mills ran in the 2-point conversion for a 28-7 lead.

It was the 334th win for Penn State coach Joe Paterno, most in major college history.

ILLINOIS 37, WISCONSIN 20: Jon Beutjer returned and threw four touchdowns for the visiting Illini, who overcame five turnovers. Antoineo Harris rushed 40 times for 158 yards for Illinois.

The loss capped a tumultuous week for the Badgers that included brushes with the law by high-profile members of the team and a head injury by senior quarterback Brooks Bollinger. Receiver Lee Evans, out for the season with a knee injury, was charged with marijuana possession. Star running back Anthony Davis was charged with battery in a domestic dispute in which he was stabbed in the thigh.

MICHIGAN ST. 56, INDIANA 21: The visiting Spartans won in Morris Watts' coaching debut. Watts was promoted from offensive coordinator to interim coach after Bobby Williams was fired Monday, two days after the Spartans endured their worst defeat since 1947, 49-3 to Michigan.

Starting for the third straight game in place of suspended quarterback Jeff Smoker, Damon Dowdell passed for four touchdowns and ran for one for the Spartans, who snapped a four-game losing streak.

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