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Big Ten briefs

By Compiled from Times wires

© St. Petersburg Times, published September 10, 2000

Depleted Badgers survive Oregon MADISON, Wis. -- Big Ten sprint champion Michael Bennett rushed for 290 yards and two long touchdowns as fifth-ranked Wisconsin outlasted Oregon 27-23 on Saturday.

The suspension-ridden Badgers got three interceptions from star cornerback Jamar Fletcher, whom coach Barry Alvarez had considered sitting out.

As it was, the Badgers had to do without a dozen players who were suspended for receiving unadvertised discounts at a shoe store.

For two more weeks, against Cincinnati and Northwestern, the Badgers will be missing key components, including Fletcher, of a team that hopes to contend for the national title.

Alvarez got to choose which players would sit Saturday and he selected four starters, including cornerback Mike Echols, whose substitute, B.J. Tucker, was repeatedly burned by the Ducks.

But Fletcher and Bennett kept the Badgers' title hopes alive.

Bennett, held to 32 yards in the first half, scored on runs of 59 and 75 yards in the third quarter and set up another touchdown with a career-long 83-yard burst with 51/2 minutes left in the game.

Oregon had taken a 23-20 lead on linebacker Matt Smith's 47-yard interception return, Wisconsin's first turnover in five games, when Bennett ran off left guard and didn't stop until Rashad Bauman dragged him down at the 1.

Brooks Bollinger, 10-0 as a starter, scored on a keeper on the next play to cap the scoring in a wild second half that had three lead changes.

Bennett's 290 yards on 28 carries is fourth best in school history.

MICHIGAN 38, RICE 7: Anthony Thomas ran for 131 yards on 14 carries and scored two first-quarter touchdowns as the host Wolverines cruised after a record start.

"I'm not satisfied," said Thomas, who has scored a touchdown in 10 consecutive games. "I'm all right with what we're doing so far, but obviously we can get better."

Michigan scored 28 points on its first four possessions, breaking the school record of 24 first-quarter points against Northwestern in 1991.

John Navarre, a redshirt freshman starting his second straight game for injured Drew Henson, completed 10 of 15 passes for 129 yards. His three first-half touchdowns, two to Marquis Walker, helped stake Michigan to a 35-0 lead over the Western Athletic Conference's Owls.

PURDUE 45, KENT ST. 10: Vinny Sutherland, suspended for disciplinary reasons for the opener, returned to score three touchdowns and gain 192 total yards in the first half for the host Boilermakers.

Drew Brees continued his assault on Purdue and Big Ten records, throwing two touchdown passes and scoring two on the ground.

The senior completed 32 of 46 passes for 415 yards while becoming Purdue's career leader in total offense and completions. He passed Mark Herrmann in both categories. He also moved into second on the Big Ten list in total offense and third in completions.

PENN ST. 67, LA. TECH 7: Rashard Casey threw a school record-tying five touchdowns as the host Nittany Lions took out their frustrations on Louisiana Tech.

Casey, benched in losses to Southern Cal and Toledo, had touchdowns of 5 and 2 yards to Eric McCoo, 10 to Tony Stewart, 35 to Tony Johnson and 13 to Steve Delich.

"It felt good to finally get in a rhythm," Casey said. "It was a lot of relief. But there's still going to be critics regardless."

Casey, 12-of-15 for 162 yards, tied the school record set by Tony Sacca against Georgia Tech in 1991.

N.C. STATE 41, INDIANA 38: Freshman Philip Rivers passed for 401 yards and five touchdowns, three in the final quarter, as the visiting Wolfpack rallied.

The go-ahead touchdown came with 54 seconds to go on a 47-yard pass to Koren Robinson. Terrence Holt then blocked a 37-yard field-goal attempt by Indiana's Andy Payne that could have tied the score as time expired.

Rivers was 31-for-52 and broke the N.C. State freshman records for completions, yardage and touchdowns he set last week in a double-overtime victory over Arkansas State.

NORTHWESTERN 38, DUKE 5: Damien Anderson ran for a career-high 187 yards and two long touchdowns as the host Wildcats improved to 2-0 for the first time in 25 years.

Anderson carried 21 times and scored from 56 and 66 yards as Northwestern topped 30 points in consecutive games for the first time in five years.

OHIO 23, MINNESOTA 17: Halfback Chad Brinker had a touchdown catch, run and pass for the visiting Bobcats.

Brinker's third touchdown, a 6-yard run up the middle at the start of the fourth quarter, gave Ohio a 23-14 lead with 14:42 left. Bop White intercepted a pass from Asad Abdul-Khaliq six minutes later to stifle Minnesota's drive.

W. MICHIGAN 27, IOWA 21: Jeff Welsh passed for 216 yards and a touchdown and Jared Pike thwarted host Iowa's final drive with two sacks.

The Broncos, who lost 19-7 to Wisconsin in their opener, gave the Hawkeyes fits in racing to a 24-6 halftime lead. Iowa lost to a Mid-American Conference foe for the first time in eight games.

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