Iowa Knows How to Finish

From Associated Press

Iowa wanted its dominant defense and not its ordinary offense on the field at the end. Still, some of the Hawkeye players couldn't bear to watch the final play.

"I just closed my eyes and listened," running back Fred Russell said.

He heard nearly 80,000 fans moan when free safety Sean Considine broke up John Stocco's pass in the end zone with no time left to preserve No. 17 Iowa's 27-21 victory over Wisconsin on Saturday in Madison, Wis.

Considine, whose interception of Matt Schabert's pass in the third quarter led to the Hawkeyes' go-ahead score, batted down Stocco's throw intended for Jonathan Orr on fourth and goal from the four.

"We didn't want it any other way," Considine said. "It was up to us. It was a test of character."

The Hawkeyes (9-3, 5-3 Big Ten) overcame three first-half turnovers and a 14-point deficit to thwart the Badgers' longshot bid for a New Year's Day bowl berth.

The Badgers (7-5, 4-4) were cruising until starting quarterback Jim Sorgi was knocked out of the game because of a head injury in the second quarter. Schabert threw three interceptions, all leading to Iowa scores, before being benched.

On its final drive, Wisconsin started at the Iowa 48 with 3:38 left and drove to the 10. Dwayne Smith then rushed for four yards and Stocco gained another on a quarterback draw, bringing up third and goal from the five.

After Wisconsin used its last timeout with 21 seconds left, Smith was stopped after a one-yard reception and the Badgers hustled to the line and snapped the ball as time expired.

"I couldn't imagine they got the play off," Iowa Coach Kirk Ferentz said. "I thought we were in good shape when we tackled Smith inbounds. I thought the game was over. But they got the play off. I think it was legal. That was amazing."

Badger Coach Barry Alvarez failed to win his 100th career game.

"That was a very difficult loss," he said. "We just turned it over too many times in the second half."

Purdue 24, Indiana 16 -- John Standeford caught two touchdowns from Kyle Orton and raced 56 yards on a late catch-and-run to help secure the Boilermakers' victory at Bloomington, Ind.

In a game the Boilermakers (9-3, 6-2) needed to win to help secure a New Year's Day bowl bid, Standeford excelled, catching six passes for 151 yards.

Indiana (2-10, 1-7) was buoyed by BenJarvus Green-Ellis. He carried 35 times for 155 yards and one touchdown.

Michigan State 41, Penn State 10 -- Jeff Smoker threw for 357 yards and four touchdowns at East Lansing, Mich., and the Spartans ended the worst season in Joe Paterno's 38 years as coach of the Nittany Lions.

Penn State (3-9, 1-7) lost nine games for the first time in school history and is only the fourth losing team in Paterno's career.

"This is as bad a football game as we've played in a long time," Paterno said. "I want to get out of here, get on a plane, go home and hug my wife."

The Spartans (8-4, 5-3) ended a three-game losing streak.

Northwestern 37, Illinois 20 -- Jason Wright ran for 251 yards and four touchdowns at Champaign, Ill., as the Wildcats became eligible for their first bowl game since 2000.

Noah Herron also carried for 163 yards as the Wildcats (6-6, 4-4) turned entirely to their running game in the second half. Quarterback Brett Basanez's only pass attempt after halftime was nullified by an Illinois penalty.

Illinois (1-11, 0-8) lost its 10th in a row.

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