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Another great escape

Close calls continue for Ohio State, which edges Purdue 16-13 in OT.

Wire services
Published November 16, 2003

COLUMBUS, Ohio - The snap was good. The hold was good. Ohio State's luck was really good.

The Buckeyes pulled off another squeaker Saturday, beating Purdue 16-13 in overtime when Ben Jones missed a 36-yard field goal.

"It felt good off my foot," Jones said. "Then I looked up ... "

"You roll with the punches," he added. "It's part of it. I'm just going to have to take it as it comes."

Mike Nugent kicked a 36-yard field goal in overtime, giving the Buckeyes their third win of the season without scoring an offensive touchdown. The Boilermakers almost blocked Nugent's kick.

"Yeah, the last field goal was tipped," holder B.J. Sander said. "I think it was No.59 (linebacker Stanford Keglar). He got a piece of it. But Nuge is a great kicker and he put it through."

Nugent could have won it on the last play of regulation, but Purdue's Bobby Iwuchukwu leaped high to block a 41-yarder.

Despite that failing, Nugent said he and the kick unit were confident when they came out for the final time.

"People are really relaxed," he said. "I go out there and I don't see anyone's eyes open. It's real scary. Everyone's real confident. We do what we know we can do, we know we should come out on top."

Jones also shanked a 28-yard attempt in the third quarter with the score tied at 6.

The victory keeps the Buckeyes tied with No.5 Michigan for the Big Ten lead entering their showdown Saturday in Ann Arbor.

Purdue lost its sixth in a row to the Buckeyes in Columbus. A year ago, the Boilermakers led Ohio State 6-3 with less than two minutes remaining at home when the Buckeyes' Craig Krenzel threw a 37-yard touchdown to Michael Jenkins on fourth and 1 for a 10-6 win.

Ohio State, the defending national champion, kept alive its streak of winning close calls.

The Buckeyes were 7-0 in games decided by a touchdown or less a year ago and are 5-1 this season - the lone setback 17-10 in the rain at Wisconsin.

"They have a lot of faith that if we play as hard as we can, good things will happen," coach Jim Tressel said. "Our guys just keep going."

The Buckeyes edged 32-point underdog San Diego State 16-13 this season on Will Allen's 100-yard interception return and Nugent's three field goals. They beat Iowa 19-10 with Jenkins returning a punt for a touchdown and Nugent adding four field goals.

Against Purdue, backup defensive end Mike Kudla pounced on Kyle Orton's fumble in the end zone with 11:23 left in the fourth to put the Buckeyes in front 13-6.

The Boilermakers punted on their next possession, then took over at their 8 with 6:48 left. With Orton completing passes of 28 yards to Jerod Void, 18 yards to Kyle Ingraham and 12 to Anthony Chambers - and also running for a pivotal 18-yard gain - the Boilermakers drove to a first down at the Ohio State 11.

Orton took the snap out of a shotgun set, pump-faked to the left and handed off to Void who went untouched for the touchdown. Orton completed 27-of-47 for 249 yards.

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