For Ohio State, It's Showdown Time

From Associated Press

Craig Krenzel was more worried about losing the game than his starting job.

Krenzel threw three touchdown passes and Lydell Ross ran for 125 yards to lead No. 7 Ohio State to a 33-23 victory over No. 14 Michigan State at Columbus, Ohio, on Saturday. The defending national champion Buckeyes won their 15th consecutive home game before a crowd of 105,194, the second largest ever at Ohio Stadium.

Ohio State Coach Jim Tressel said on Tuesday that he hoped to get backup Scott McMullen into the game early because of the way McMullen had played last week. It was McMullen's five-yard pass to Michael Jenkins with 1:35 left that gave the Buckeyes a 21-20 win at Penn State while Krenzel watched from the sideline with a mild concussion.

"I wasn't motivated by being replaced; I was motivated by offensively we haven't done as well as we should have all year long," Krenzel said. "Coming down the stretch of this season we're going to need to put some points on the board to help our defense."

Krenzel, 22-2 as a starter, completed 12 of 23 passes for 213 yards with one interception and had 33 yards rushing in 14 attempts. Krenzel, who entered the game with only six touchdown passes, threw touchdown passes to Ben Hartsock, Santonio Holmes and Ryan Hamby.

"This time of year in the Big Ten, wins are tough to come by," he said. "I'm just happy we walked away from this game with a win against a great team. We've got two more great football teams coming up."

Ohio State, (9-1 overall and 5-1 in the Big Ten, is in a three-way tie for first place in the conference with No. 16 Purdue (8-2, 5-1) and No. 8 Michigan (8-2, 5-1). The Buckeyes play the Boilermakers at Columbus on Saturday and the Wolverines at Ann Arbor on Nov. 22

Jeff Smoker passed for 351 yards for Michigan State (7-3, 4-2), but 265 yards came in the opening half. Smoker was 35 of 55 passing for two touchdowns with two interceptions. The 55 attempts were one more than John Leister's 1980 school mark and Smoker's 35 completions were three more than the MSU mark he shared with Leister.

No. 24 Minnesota 37, Wisconsin 34 -- Rhys Lloyd kicked a 35-yard field goal as time expired and the Golden Gophers (9-2, 5-2) overcame a career passing performance by Jim Sorgi at Minneapolis.

Marion Barber III had 139 yards rushing and a touchdown, and Laurence Maroney ran for 135 yards and a touchdown as Minnesota won its third in a row and reached nine victories in a season for the first time since 1905.

Backup quarterback Benji Kamrath completed six of 10 passes for 93 yards in place of Asad Abdul-Khaliq, who left the game because of an injured shoulder just before halftime.

Sorgi, returning after having minor left knee surgery three weeks ago, threw for a career-high 305 yards and four touchdowns in rallying the Badgers (6-4, 3-3) from a 24-6 deficit.

Northwestern 17, Penn State 7 -- Brett Basanez threw a 41-yard touchdown pass that was batted into the air by two defenders and caught by Brandon Horn for the go-ahead score for the Wildcats (5-5, 3-3) at Evanston, Ill.

The loss was the sixth in a row for Penn State (2-8, 0-6) -- its longest losing skid under Coach Joe Paterno.

Indiana 17, Illinois 14 -- Matt LoVecchio's eight-yard touchdown run with 24 seconds left at Bloomington, Ind., allowed the Hoosiers (2-8, 1-5) to end their Big Ten losing streak at 11. Illinois is 1-10 and 0-7.

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