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Big Ten: Penn State rushes past Purdue

By wire services
Published October 30, 2005


STATE COLLEGE, Pa. - In a darkened Beaver Stadium corridor, Tony Hunt walked past Joe Paterno just as the coach was rolling up a khaki pantleg even farther than normal to display the fresh bruise that left him moaning and limping.

Penn State was fortunate that the conditions of those legs weren't reversed.

On a day when Paterno got steamrolled by a lineman during warm-ups, Hunt did the same thing to Purdue's defense, particularly at a critical juncture of the fourth quarter, in a 33-15 Penn State victory that delighted a chilled homecoming crowd of 109,467.

The relentless junior tailback from Alexandria, Va., collected 129 yards on 24 carries, virtually dragging the sluggish Nittany Lions past stubborn Purdue.

"He's the toughest runner I ever saw," fullback Brandon Snow, who had a pair of short second-half rushing touchdowns, said of Hunt.

Thanks to Hunt's leg-driving gallops against a tiring defense, Penn State kept alive its dreams of a Big Ten title and a berth in what would be the first BCS game of Paterno's career. Both goals may be determined Saturday, when the Lions host Wisconsin.

"Last year, we'd hang close in games, but we couldn't put together those big plays when we needed them," safety Chris Harrell said. "We'd been getting them from our passing game this year, and today we got it from the running game."

Penn State finished with 516 yards of total offense, but until the fourth quarter, the Lions had difficulty turning those yards into points. Three long first-half drives yielded only short field goals of 27, 25 and 33 yards. They were sandwiched around a 1-yard Robinson scoring run.

No. 12 Ohio State 45, Minnesota 31

MINNEAPOLIS - Antonio Pittman rushed for two second-half touchdowns and a career-high 186 yards as the Buckeyes prevailed in a game featuring more than 1,000 yards of offense.

Troy Smith passed for 233 yards and three scores, two to Santonio Holmes, and Ted Ginn Jr.'s 100-yard touchdown on a kickoff return highlighted a wild first quarter for the Buckeyes.

Ohio State's speed was just too much, evidenced by Ginn's breath-stopping, untouched return for a 17-7 lead. Minnesota surged back to tie it at 17 before the half on Jared Ellerson's 5-yard touchdown catch from Bryan Cupito, a pretty throw on a fade route against cornerback Ashton Youboty.

Laurence Maroney, the Big Ten's leading rusher for a Gophers team that led the nation in yards rushing coming into the game, ran for 114 yards and a score on 16 first-half carries against the stingiest rushing defense in the country.

No. 15 Wisconsin 41, Illinois 24

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Brian Calhoun ran for 197 yards and five touchdowns as the Badgers retained a share of the conference lead.

The workhorse running back carried the ball 35 times, his fourth game this season with more than 30 carries. He also caught two passes for 37 yards.

Illinois lost its sixth straight game despite gaining a season-high 538 yards.

Illini quarterback Tim Brasic was 20-of-39 for 277 yards and two touchdowns and carried the ball 16 times for 116 yards, leading his team in rushing for the third time this season. Freshman receiver Kyle Hudson caught 10 passes for 114 yards, including a 32-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter.

Wisconsin quarterback John Stocco was 14-of-22 for 225 yards and one TD as the Badgers finished with 464 yards.

No. 25 Michigan 33, No. 21 Northwestern 17

EVANSTON, Ill. - Leon Hall returned a fumble recovery 83 yards for a touchdown in the first quarter, and the Wolverines won their third straight, shutting out the Wildcats in the second half.

The 17 points were a season-low for Northwestern, whose three-game win streak ended. Michigan held an offense that was fourth in the nation, averaging 529.3 yards, to 415 yards and intercepted Brett Basanez twice.

Basanez, who had just one interception the first seven games, was 26 of 49 for 326 yards. Mark Philmore caught nine for a career-high 139 yards - six for 137 in the first half - but Northwestern never established the running game.

Michigan scored 10 points in a two-minute span late in the second quarter to increase its lead to 27-10.

MICHIGAN STATE 46, INDIANA 15: Drew Stanton passed for 244 yards and two touchdowns, and ran for another score as the host Spartans snapped a three-game losing streak and kept their bowl hopes alive while dealing a blow to the Hoosiers' postseason aspirations.

Michigan State entered the game ranked in the top 15 in the nation in five offensive categories. The Spartans gained 493 yards of total offense against the Hoosiers.

Michigan State also got help from its special teams, as Demond Williams returned the opening kickoff 98 yards for a touchdown. Williams also blocked a PAT attempt, which Ashton Watson returned for a defensive 2-point conversion to give the Spartans a 25-8 halftime lead.

The Spartan defense contributed with interceptions by SirDarean Adams, Eric Smith and Otis Wiley and a fumble recovery by Brandon Long.