BIG TEN ROUNDUP : Boilermakers Spoil Hoosiers’ Chances for Bowl Bid, 15-14
Larry Sullivan’s third field goal, a 32-yard kick with 2:51 remaining, lifted Purdue to a 15-14 victory over Indiana on Saturday at Bloomington, Ind., knocking the Hoosiers out of the Dec. 30 Freedom Bowl.
After Sullivan’s last field goal, Indiana’s Anthony Thompson returned the kickoff 64 yards to the Purdue 15-yard line, but Scott Bonnell missed a 26-yard field goal attempt four plays later.
Indiana, which scored earlier on two field goals by Bonnell, a three-yard run by quarterback Dave Schnell and a safety, led 14-3 after three quarters. But Purdue shut down Thompson, the nation’s leading rusher and scorer, and rallied with a 20-yard touchdown pass play from freshman Eric Hunter to Calvin Williams and two field goals by Sullivan.
Thompson, a Heisman Trophy finalist, rushed for 97 yards but had only 36 in the second half.
Purdue, 2-6 in the Big Ten and 3-8 overall, pulled to within two points on a 29-yard field goal by Sullivan after Indiana punter Macky Smith couldn’t get off a kick and fumbled at the Hoosiers’ 15. Indiana twice was forced to punt, and Purdue started its go-ahead drive from its 37 with 6:22 left.
A pass to Steve Letnich and a face-mask penalty against Indiana gave the Boilermakers the ball at the 17. Three plays later, Sullivan kicked the winning field goal.
Indiana had one more chance in the closing seconds, but Thompson couldn’t get out of bounds after a three-yard reception to the Purdue 40.
The Hoosiers, who would have received a bid to play Washington in the Freedom Bowl with a victory, ended the season 3-5 and 5-6.
Michigan State 31, Wisconsin 3--The 25th-ranked Spartans won their fifth consecutive game and earned a trip to the Aloha Bowl on Christmas Day against the University of Hawaii.
The Spartans overcame a determined first-half performance by Wisconsin and got three touchdowns from Blake Ezor in the victory at Madison, Wis.
Ezor gained 187 yards in 30 carries to surpass 1,000 yards for the second consecutive season.
The Spartans took control in the third quarter after Wisconsin moved from its 21-yard line to the Spartans’ 30, where Wisconsin’s Rich Thompson missed a 47-yard field goal.
Ezor’s one-yard run with 2:56 left in the quarter capped a 65-yard drive, featuring a 37-yard run by Tico Duckett and gave the Spartans a 17-3 lead.
Michigan State drove 57 yards on its next possession with Enos scoring from seven yards with 13 minutes left.
Ezor then broke loose on a 58-yard touchdown run with 9:22 remaining to complete the scoring.
The Spartan defense had nine sacks. Badger quarterback Sean Wilson completed 18 of 27 passes for 202 yards before hurting his back late in the game.
Ezor, who had six touchdowns last week against Northwestern, got his first touchdown of the day on a three-yard run to make it 7-0 with 8:41 left in the first quarter.
The score was set up by the first of two Wisconsin fumbles on the Badgers’ first two possessions. Robert Williams fumbled at the Wisconsin 22. Matt Vanderbeek recovered and six plays later Ezor was in the end zone.
Minnesota 43, Iowa 7--Darrell Thompson ran for 122 yards and threw for a touchdown and the Gophers scored 30 fourth-quarter points at Iowa City, Iowa.
Minnesota ended the season 6-5 overall and 4-4 in the Big Ten. Iowa finished 5-6 and 3-5 for the Hawkeyes’ first losing season since a 4-7 record in 1980.
The Gophers’ win was their first over Iowa since 1984 and was the largest margin of victory since a 31-7 victory in 1975.
The Golden Gophers had 467 yards in total offense and held Iowa to 226. Minnesota had 28 first downs to Iowa’s 12 and held the ball for 41:02 compared to just 18:58 for Iowa.
Minnesota nursed a 13-7 lead into the final period on a 14-yard halfback option pass from Thompson to Chris Gaiters in the first quarter and second-quarter field goals of 41 and 21 yards by Brent Berglund.
Iowa’s only score came in the third quarter when quarterback Matt Rodgers, who had three passes intercepted, threw to Mike Saunders on a 12-yard touchdown play.
Marquel Fleetwood, who replaced shaken up Scott Schaffner in the first half, began the fourth-quarter scoring blitz when he ran 22 yards around right end to extend Minnesota’s lead to 19-7. A two-point conversion failed
On the ensuing kickoff, Danan Hughes fumbled for Iowa and Andre Davis recovered on the Iowa 27. Four plays later, Berglund booted a 39-yard field goal for a 22-7 lead.
The Golden Gophers scored another touchdown when Eddie Miles intercepted backup quarterback Tom Poholsky’s pass on Iowa’s next possession and returned it 30 yards for a score to make it 29-7 with 8:45 to play.
Minnesota took over on downs at its 49 after Iowa failed to move the ball and Fleetwood directed the Gophers to James King’s five-yard touchdown run with 4:42 left.
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