Big Ten: Improvisatory Boilermakers capture conference opener
By Associated Press
Published September 26, 2004
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - When Purdue quarterback Kyle Orton called an audible on third and 8, receiver Taylor Stubblefield had a better idea. He yelled at Orton, who got the message and found Stubblefield on a down-and-out for a 34-yard touchdown.
The play gave the Boilermakers a 15-point lead in the fourth quarter, and they held on to beat Illinois 38-30 on Saturday.
"I audibled to a different play but he wanted to run something different," Orton said. "I have enough trust in him to say, "Okay, run what you want,' and he ran it and it was a great route and a great play."
The TD pass was one of four by Orton, who completed 32 of 50 passes for 366 yards and was not intercepted for the third straight game. Stubblefield, who finished with 11 catches for 115 yards, said the touchdown play didn't come out of nowhere.
"We had talked about it on the sideline, so I gave him another signal and just ran to the ball," Stubblefield said, demonstrating an "okay' sign with his fingers.
The Boilermakers won their eighth straight conference opener.
Illinois pulled within 38-30 when Jon Beutjer hit Jason Davis out of the backfield on a 26-yard TD with 4:42 left. The Illini got the ball back with 45 seconds to go, but they were out of timeouts and Beutjer fumbled the ball away on second down.
Orton also had scoring passes of 2 and 5 yards to Stubblefield and 49 yards to Brandon Jones as the Boilermakers rolled up 515 yards.
Orton was particularly effective on third down, completing 12 passes for first-down yardage.
"He did a great job of managing the game and executing the offense," Purdue coach Joe Tiller said. "We're always looking for perfection, but he played awfully well once again."
Beutjer threw three touchdowns for the Illini, who put themselves in a hole early by fumbling a reverse on the game's first play. Receiver Ade Adeyamo bobbled the handoff from Beutjer and Bobby Iwuchukwu recovered at the 5, leading to a Orton's 2-yard TD toss to Stubblefield.
Adeyamo broke his left fibula on the fumble and will miss at least six weeks.
MICHIGAN 30, IOWA 17: Braylon Edwards caught six passes for 150 yards and a touchdown and the Wolverines turned four turnovers into 27 points.
Michigan won its 23rd consecutive conference opener. The Wolverines have won 12 straight at home since the Hawkeyes handed them their worst loss at Michigan Stadium since 1967, 34-9 on Oct. 26, 2002.
Ed Hinkel's one-handed, diving TD catch on the opening drive gave Iowa its only lead. Hinkel's 10-yard TD midway through the fourth quarter pulled the Hawkeyes within 30-17.
Chad Henne was 16-of-26 for 236 yards with a TD and no turnovers for Michigan. Iowa first-year starter Drew Tate was 24-of-32 for 270 yards, two TDs, two interceptions and a botched handoff that led to a fumble.
WISCONSIN 16, PENN ST. 3: Matt Bernstein bailed the Badgers out of trouble. The 264-pound fullback bullied his way to a career-best 123 yards after replacing an ineffective and injured Booker Stanley to help host Wisconsin hold off the Nittany Lions.
The Badgers kept a team out of the end zone for the third time in four games and ended the month 4-0 despite the absence of star tailback Anthony Davis (eye) for the past 31/2 games.
Bernstein was pressed into duty when Stanley, who gained 9 yards on 10 carries, couldn't go in the second half because of an injured foot. After gaining 3 yards on one carry before halftime, Bernstein rushed 26 times for 120 yards in the second half.
MICH. ST. 30, INDIANA 20: Quarterback Drew Stanton ran for 134 yards and two touchdowns in his starting debut for the visiting Spartans.
Michigan State scored 23 straight in the second half to erase a 20-7 halftime deficit. It won the Old Brass Spittoon for the third straight season and the seventh time in eight games dating to a Spartans forfeit in 1994.
The Hoosiers managed 41 yards of offense in the second half in losing their conference opener for the 13th time in 14 years.