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These two are separated at last

Hiserman and Dufresne are Times staff writers.

Linfield (Ore.) College and the University of Michigan are no longer linked in college football lore.

What? You didn’t know they were?

Well, until Saturday, both had long streaks of consecutive winning seasons. Linfield still does.

The Wildcats took advantage of four turnovers and were sparked by reserve quarterback Cole Bixenman, a sophomore who passed for one touchdown and ran for another in the second half of a 32-24 victory over Puget Sound.

That improved Linfield’s record to 5-2, clinching the Division III Wildcats’ 53rd consecutive winning season -- an NCAA all-divisions record.

Meanwhile, Michigan lost to Purdue, 48-42, to drop to 2-7, thereby ending its streak of 40 consecutive winning campaigns. The Wolverines also won’t be going to a bowl game after 33 consecutive postseason appearances.

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Michigan now has another kind of streak -- five straight losses -- and Coach Rich Rodriguez seems to be getting tired of questions he doesn’t have answers for.

“You want to look at the finality of it all?” he told reporters Saturday. “I’ve been here nine, 10 months. We’ve had great tradition; we still have great tradition, and we’re going to try to do all we can to uphold it. But right now, we’re not going to a bowl.”

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Truly ugly

We’ve all witnessed ugly games, but witnesses to California’s 26-16 victory over Oregon in a rain-soaked game at Berkeley got a double dose.

Not only was the game and field sloppy, but Cal’s mustard-yellow jerseys with Berkeley-blue trim made the action twice as tough to watch.

By comparison, usually unsightly Oregon was conservative in an all-white montage with green trim. Heck, the Ducks almost looked like Penn State -- except they’re not 9-0.

Wonder how the late Mr. Blackwell would have scored it.

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Cheap shot

Umpire Wilbur Hackett, a YouTube sensation for his forearm shimmy that staggered a South Carolina quarterback two weeks ago, was back in action Saturday, again working a game involving the Gamecocks.

Hackett, a former All-Southeastern Conference linebacker, worked the Tennessee at South Carolina game. He was not credited with a tackle.

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Muffed chance

Florida State fumbled away its chance to move Coach Bobby Bowden to within one win of Joe Paterno on the major-college coaches’ career victories list.

Penn State’s Paterno, 81, held at 381 victories as Penn State had an open week. Bowden was held at 379 when the No. 16 Seminoles lost a fumble in the Georgia Tech end zone during the final minute of what became an upset loss.

Bowden will turn 79 on Saturday, when Florida State plays Clemson.

That one will be personal. Clemson last month fired Bowden’s son, Tommy, as its coach.

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Return to sender

Given plenty of chances by an Oklahoma State offense that couldn’t be stopped, freshman Leonard Johnson of Iowa State set the major-college, single-game record for kickoff return yardage.

Johnson had nine returns for 319 yards, falling only seven yards shy of equaling the NCAA all-divisions record set by Bashir Levingston of Eastern Washington during a 1998 Division I-AA game.

“If you really look at it, it’s really one of the only bright spots of our team,” Coach Gene Chizik said of Johnson.

The major-college record had been held by Justin Miller of Clemson, who had 282 return yards against Florida State in 2004.

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More records, streaks

Florida’s Tim Tebow accounted for five touchdowns against Georgia -- two passing and three running -- giving him 39 career rushing touchdowns to establish a Gators’ record. Until Saturday, he shared the record with Emmitt Smith, the NFL’s career rushing leader. . . .

Speaking of running quarterbacks, Northwestern’s Mike Kafka set a school rushing record for a quarterback with 217 yards in 27 carries against Minnesota. He nearly doubled the previous record of 115 yards by Zak Kustok in 2001. . . .

Jeremy Moses, a sophomore from Stephen F. Austin, completed a record 57 passes in 85 throws for 501 yards and four touchdowns -- and his team lost in double overtime to Sam Houston State.

Baylor freshman Robert Griffin set a major-college record for most pass attempts without an interception to start a career. But that first one was a lulu. The streak was at 210 when a Griffin pass was picked off by Brock Christopher with 1 minute 40 seconds left in Saturday’s game against No. 14 Missouri, enabling the Tigers to hold on for a 31-28 victory. The previous record of 202 was held by USC’s Brad Otton. . . .

West Virginia senior quarterback Pat White completed 11 of 18 passes for 121 yards and ran 21 times for 109 yards and two touchdowns against Connecticut. In his career, White has run for more than 4,000 yards, passed for more than 5,000 yards and accounted for 91 touchdowns.

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The Associated Press contributed to this report.

mike.hiserman@latimes.com

chris.dufresne@latimes.com


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