Howard Griffith ran for a school-record 263 yards and scored two touchdowns to lead Illinois to a 28-23 Big Ten victory over Northwestern Saturday at Champaign, Ill.
Griffith, who carried 37 times, broke the one-game mark set by Jim Grabowski, who gained 237 yards against Wisconsin in 1964. Griffith also set records with 15 touchdowns this season and 33 in his career, two more than Red Grange, the Galloping Ghost.
“It was really the story of the Galloping Grif today,” Illinois Coach John Mackovic said.
Griffith scored an NCAA-record eight touchdowns in a 56-21 victory over Southern Illinois on Sept. 23. He gained 208 yards in 21 carries in that game.
He needed 207 against Northwestern to finish the regular season with 1,000.
“My teammates were saying they would get me the 207 yards,” Griffith said. “I was saying to myself, ‘That’s a lot of yards.’ Basically, I can’t do anything but thank my teammates.”
Griffith scored on a pair of two-yard runs for Illinois (8-3, 6-2), which will play Clemson in the Hall of Fame Bowl Jan. 1. Northwestern finished 2-9 and 1-7.
The Illini rolled to a 21-0 lead in the first quarter on Griffith’s first touchdown, a three-yard run by Steve Feagin and a 14-yard scoring pass from Jason Verduzco to Jeff Finke.
No. 24 Michigan State 14, Wisconsin 9--Hyland Hickson, with 134 yards rushing, and Tico Duckett, with 82, were double trouble for the Badgers at East Lansing, Mich.
Hickson ran for two touchdowns, both in the first quarter, and the Spartan defense held Wisconsin to 69 rushing yards as Michigan State (7-3-1, 6-2) won its fifth consecutive game.
Hickson finished the regular season with 1,128 yards. That, combined with Duckett’s 1,376 yards, makes them the first Big Ten duo in 15 years and only the third in league history to combine for more than 2,000 yards rushing.
Duckett and Hickson are five yards shy of the Big Ten record of 2,509 yards by Ohio State’s Archie Griffin and Pete Johnson in 1975. Since the conference includes bowl games in its records, the Michigan State runners appear certain to break the mark against USC in the John Hancock Bowl on Dec. 31 at El Paso, Tex.
Wisconsin (1-10, 0-8) lost a school-record 13th consecutive conference game. The Badgers’ last Big Ten victory was over Northwestern, 35-31, in 1989.
“We’re obviously not crazy about our record, but we have some things we can build on,” said Barry Alvarez, Wisconsin’s first-year coach. “I was very proud of the effort that our kids gave today. It would have been easy . . . to come out here and go through the motions.”
Indiana 28, Purdue 14--Vaughn Dunbar ran for 105 yards and three touchdowns at West Lafayette, Ind., and Mike Dumas set an Indiana school record with a 99-yard interception return, although he fell a yard short of scoring.
Indiana (6-4-1, 3-4-1) intercepted four passes and recovered three fumbles by Purdue’s Ernest Calloway.
The Hoosiers secured a berth in the Peach Bowl Dec. 29 at Atlanta, where they will meet a Southeastern Conference opponent, probably the loser of next Saturday’s Alabama-Auburn game.
Indiana’s interceptions against Purdue included one returned 21 yards for a touchdown by Mark Hagen, one returned 25 yards by Damon Watts that set up Dunbar’s first touchdown and the one by Dumas that set up Dunbar’s final touchdown.
Indiana, winning the annual season-ending battle for the Old Oaken Bucket, took a 21-0 halftime lead before Purdue’s Eric Hunter passed 41 yards for a touchdown to Jermaine Ross early in the third quarter.
The Boilermakers (2-9, 1-7) reached the Indiana 24 late in the quarter, but a pass intended for Jimmy Young was intercepted by Dumas at the goal line.
Dumas returned to the Purdue one before he was knocked out of bounds by Hunter. Three plays later, after a penalty for illegal motion, Dunbar ran three yards for the touchdown.
The return by Dumas broke the Indiana record of 98 yards, set by Tim Wilbur against Michigan State in 1978.