tampabay.com

Hoosiers pull it all together

By ASSOCIATED PRESS
Published October 15, 2006


BLOOMINGTON, Ind. - Indiana waited nearly two decades to party like this. So why worry about another 20 seconds?

Players stormed the field and fireworks went off before the Hoosiers' biggest upset in almost 20 years was official, but there was nothing premature about Saturday's stunning 31-28 upset over No. 15 Iowa.

As officials spotted the ball for the final time, the scoreboard clock was at 22 seconds and with the Hawkeyes out of timeouts, all that remained was a celebration of the Hoosiers' biggest win since they beat No. 9 Ohio State 31-10 on Oct. 10, 1987.

"It's a little crazy. I pretty much lost my voice on the field celebrating," quarterback Kellen Lewis said leading his second straight fourth-quarter comeback. "It's just fun right now."

The Hoosiers included the fans, too.

After shaking hands with Iowa's players, players sprinted toward the student section. Some jumped into the crowd, hugging classmates as they sang the school fight song.

But this was no mere victory for Indiana; it was a milestone in a season that has included coach Terry Hoeppner's second brain surgery in less than nine months, a two-game suspension of top player James Hardy, and a loss to Division I-AA Southern Illinois.

Saturday, those were distant memories.

Hardy delivered the big game Indiana needed, becoming the first Hoosier to catch three touchdowns in a game in nearly a quarter of a century. He had eight catches for 104 yards, easily his best performance of the season.

The Hoosiers also overcame the loss of their top running back and the nation's top kick returner, Marcus Thigpen, for most of the second half with what appeared to be a right leg injury. His replacement, Demetrius McCray, carried 13 times for 84 yards.

"They've done a great job getting on their feet and doing what they have to do," Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz said.

No. 1 Ohio State 38, Michigan State 7

EAST LANSING, Mich. - Ohio State has Heisman Trophy contender Troy Smith, the explosive Ted Ginn Jr. and a potent running game.

The Buckeyes' defense doesn't get as much publicity, but it can be just as dominant as their offense.

The Ohio State defense battered and bruised the Spartans and narrowly missed a shutout, giving up a meaningless touchdown with just more than a minute left. OSU extended the nation's longest winning streak to 14 games, and despite heavy losses from last year's defense are allowing just nine points per game.

"I face them all the time in practice," Smith said of the defense. "They make me better every day."

No. 25 Wisconsin 48, Minnesota 12

MADISON, Wis. - Wisconsin wasted no time chopping down its border rival.

John Stocco threw four touchdowns and P.J. Hill ran for two scores as the Badgers kept Paul Bunyan's Axe.

"I know all the seniors feel the same way - having that Axe stay here in our last go at them just feels great," Stocco said. "We've done a good job starting fast."

Hill, a redshirt freshman, had 164 yards on 25 carries to help produce the biggest margin of victory since 1983 in the series, in its 116th meeting.

Purdue 31, Northwestern 10: Curtis Painter threw for a career-high 431 yards and two touchdowns for the visiting Boilermakers. The nation's fifth-leading passer, Painter set career highs with 35 completions and 49 attempts. The junior hit Dustin Keller for a 19-yarder on the first play of the second quarter to put the Boilermakers ahead for good, 14-7.