Sunday, November 11, 2001

Ohio State 35, Purdue 9

Victory keeps Buckeyes in Big Ten hunt

The Associated Press

David Thompson (95) tackles Purdue's Taylor Stubblefield.
(AP photo)
| ZOOM |
        COLUMBUS — A season that seemed forgettable two weeks ago could be memorable for Ohio State. Steve Bellisari threw three touchdown passes, and Ohio State's defense intercepted three passes and forced two safeties as the Buckeyes beat Purdue 35-9 Saturday to remain in the hunt for the Big Ten title.

        “We've got something to play for,” Bellisari said. “Now we've got to go out and make it happen.”

        Ohio State (6-3, 4-2 Big Ten) still can share the conference title by winning its final two games. The Buckeyes play host to Illinois, then travel to rival Michigan.

        Bellisari has been booed all season. But for the second straight game, he seemed to make all the right moves.

        “Eleven of his last 12 quarters were what I had always hoped,” Ohio State coach Jim Tressel said of Bellisari. “He's got a lot of confidence, he's getting a lot of help from a young receiving corps, and the guys up front have matured and done a good job.”

        Bellisari was 14-of-20 for 263 yards without an interception. His touchdown throws — all in the second half — covered 53 yards to Michael Jenkins, 13 yards to Ben Hartsock and 7 yards to Chris Vance.

        Vance had the biggest receiving day of his career, catching seven passes for 138 yards — including two dramatic one-handed grabs. One went for 31 yards on a third-and-5 play, and the other resulted in the touchdown.

        Vance returned on Tuesday from his father's funeral.

        “He always told me to do the best I can do,” Vance said. “I knew he's looking down on me, especially on that end zone catch.”

        Jonathan Wells carried 21 times for 101 yards and a touchdown for OSU.

        Purdue (5-3, 3-3), which came in ranked last in the Big Ten in offense, struggled all day. Quarterback Brandon Hance completed just 10 of 22 passes for 122 yards and was intercepted by Donnie Nickey, Cie Grant and Derek Ross.

        “In order to throw the ball, you've got to get somebody open or make the catch over the top of somebody who's got you covered,” Purdue coach Joe Tiller said. “We didn't do either of those.”

        Hance also was tackled in the end zone for a safety by Kenny Peterson and Matt Wilhelm in the third quarter after a wayward snap.

        OSU took a 12-0 lead in the first 10 minutes.

        Mike Nugent kicked a 36-yard field goal, the Boilermakers took the safety, and Wells cut across the grain for a 15-yard touchdown run.

        Ohio State, which wasted 17- and 18-point leads in its last two losses, didn't let this one slip away.

        Travis Dorsch, the Big Ten's top kicker, made a 41-yard field goal for the Boilermakers to make it 12-3.

        After the first of Bellisari's three lost fumbles, Purdue drove 18 yards in five plays with Hance bootlegging the final yard for the touchdown. Dorsch shanked the extra-point kick, making the score 12-9 at the half.

        The Buckeyes outgained the Boilermakers 243-89 in the second half.

        “We can't play a complete game,” Purdue safety Stuart Schweigert said. “I don't know what it is. We have series where we look like the best defense in the country and then we have series where we look like the worst.”

        Eddie George, who won the Heisman Trophy at Ohio State, had his No.27 retired during halftime.

Team   1 2 3 4     SCORE
Purdue   3 6 0 0     9
Ohio State   12 0 9 14     35
Scoring Summary
1st QuarterOhio State Field Goal - 36-yarder by Mike Nugent.
9:08 remaining.
Ohio State Team Saftey. 8:18 remaining.
Ohio State Touchdown - 15-yard run by Jonathan Wells.
(Mike Nugent kick). 5:11 remaining.
Purdue Field Goal - 41-yarder by Travis Dorsch.
0:02 remaining.
2nd QuarterPurdue Touchdown - 1-yard run by Brandon Hance.
(kick failed). 2:04 remaining.
3rd QuarterOhio State Touchdown - 53-yard pass from Steve Bellisari to
Michael Jenkins. (Mike Nugent kick). 12:34 remaining.
Ohio State Team Saftey. 1:45 remaining.
4th QuarterOhio State Touchdown - 13-yard pass from Steve Bellisari to
Ben Hartsock. (Mike Nugent kick). 13:53 remaining.
Ohio State Touchdown - 7-yard pass from Steve Bellisari to
Chris Vance. (Mike Nugent kick). 6:26 remaining.

Final Team StatisticsPurdue Ohio State
First downs 1220
Rushes-yards 32-7149-166
Passing yards 140263
Return yards 16118
Passing (Att-Comp-Int) 27-12-320-14-0
Punts-Average 4-45.03-56.0
Fumbles-Lost 2-04-4
Penalties-Yards 6-508-55
Time of Possession 24:1735:43
Purdue - Lowe 14-30, Hance 10-26, Brown 4-19, Harris 2-8, Orton 1-(-1), TEAM 1-(-11).
Ohio State - Wells 21-101, Ross 12-20, Hall 3-14, Bellisari 9-14, Maldonado 3-13, Martin 1-4.
Purdue - Hance 10-22-3, 122 yards. Orton 2-5-0, 18 yards.
Ohio State - Bellisari 14-20-0, 263 yards and 3 touchdowns.
Purdue - Stubblefield 5-63, Harris 3-40, James 1-13, Lowe 1-12, Strandeford 1-7, Rhinehart 1-5.
Ohio State - Vance 7-138, Jenkins 4-84, Hartsock 2-31, Sanders 1-10.

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