Sunday, November 10, 2002

With backs to wall,
Buckeyes battle to 11-0



By Dan Gelston
The Associated Press

img
Ohio State quarterback Craig Krenzel throws the game-winning touchdown to receiver Michael Jenkins and ...
(AP photo)
| ZOOM |
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Ohio State was trailing on the road and facing fourth down late in the game, with not only a victory but the Big Ten title and a chance at the Fiesta Bowl berth slipping away.

Craig Krenzel found a way to keep it all within reach for the Buckeyes.

He threw a 37-yard touchdown pass to Michael Jenkins on fourth-and-1 with 1:36 left as the third-ranked Buckeyes defeated Purdue 10-6 Saturday to keep their national championship hopes alive.

The Buckeyes (6-0 Big Ten) are off to their fourth 11-0 start in team history, joining the 1975, 1979 and 1995 teams. More importantly, they probably will remain No. 2 in the BCS standings, keeping them on course for a trip to the Tempe, Ariz., and a shot at the national title.

img
... Jenkins outruns Purdue's Antwaun Rogers to the end zone.
(AP photo)
| ZOOM |
The Boilermakers (4-6, 2-4 Big Ten) were leading 6-3 when Krenzel dropped back and found Jenkins - who sprinted down the sideline before cutting in - for an over-the-shoulder catch in the end zone.

"It's a situation I wish everybody in the world could feel, with that kind of excitement, that natural high," Krenzel said.

Krenzel completed 13 of 20 passes for 173 yards. He had been pressured the entire game by a bruising Purdue defense that held Ohio State to only 267 total yards and sacked Krenzel three times.

But Krenzel, using a no-huddle offense, called the game-winning play at the line of scrimmage, and Jenkins beat Antwaun Rogers to get open.

"That's what a receiver has to do. We have to separate when the ball is coming," Jenkins said.

img
Chris Gamble's interception ends Purdue's last threat.
(AP photo)
| ZOOM |
Purdue got the ball again, but Kyle Orton's long pass into double coverage was intercepted by Chris Gamble.

The Buckeyes though, nearly were done in by the deep pass. Two years ago it was Drew Brees who did the damage, and this time it was Brandon Kirsch, whose 59-yard completion to Ray Williams early in the fourth quarter set up Berin Lacevic's 32-yard field goal that put the Boilermakers ahead by three with 7:50 left.

In that 2000 game, Brees connected with Seth Morales for a 64-yard game-winning TD that sent Purdue to its first Rose Bowl in 34 years and knocked the Buckeyes out of the conference title picture.

The Boilermakers have long been out of title contention this season, and they need wins in their final two games to become bowl-eligible for the sixth straight season. They've lost eight straight games against ranked teams.

"This may or may not be hard to believe, but the game played out exactly as we hoped," Purdue coach Joe Tiller said. "We just wanted to be in position to win the game in the fourth quarter. We just didn't get the key stop on a fourth-down play and didn't operate the two-minute offense."

Strong performances by both defenses ensured a low-scoring game.

The Buckeyes barely had enough time to kick a field goal as time ran out in the first half to make it 3-all. Krenzel escaped pressure and scrambled 15 yards down the middle to Purdue's 13. On third-and-9 from the 12, Krenzel ran again, this time for seven yards but short of the first down.

With no timeouts left and the clock ticking down, the field-goal unit hurried onto the field, and the center snapped the ball just in time for Mike Nugent to kick a 22-yarder. Tiller argued to officials that time had expired, but television replays indicated that there was one second showing when the ball was snapped.

Nugent has made 22 straight field goals dating to last season and is closing in on the NCAA Division I-A career record of 30 straight, set by Washington's Chuck Nelson. Nugent has made 21 straight this year and is within reach of the single-season record of 25, which Nelson set in 1982.

Orton got the start in place of Kirsch, who broke a bone in his right hand when he accidentally struck a wall during a fight at a fraternity party. Orton took command early, going 6-for-9 for 55 yards on the opening drive before a pass was intercepted by cornerback Dustin Fox deep in the far left corner of the end zone.

Orton was benched at halftime for Kirsch but returned in the fourth quarter.

"I don't know the reason, and I didn't ask why," Orton said. "Whatever the head man says goes. There is no discussion or debating the decision."

Orton finished 18-for-28 with three interceptions and 169 yards. Kirsch went 13-for-20 for 116 yards.

Buckeyes running back Maurice Clarett, who had nerve damage in his left shoulder that kept him out of the last two games, started the game and ran 14 times for 52 yards.

Ohio State played without wide receiver Chris Vance, who was attending his brother's funeral.

Ohio State coach Jim Tressel stressed to his team - which plays at Illinois next week - that its first mission should be winning the Big Ten. If it loses and Iowa wins out, the Hawkeyes win the league title.

"We're not going to drop in the Big Ten standings, and that is what's important right now," Tressel said.

Ohio State0307-10
Purdue3003-6

First Quarter

Pur-FG Lacevic 21, :42.

Second Quarter

OSU-FG Nugent 22, :00.

Fourth Quarter

Pur-FG Lacevic 32, 7:50.

OSU-Jenkins 37 pass from Krenzel (Nugent kick), 1:36.

A-65,250.

OSUPur
First downs1317
Rushes-yards39-9429-56
Passing173285
Comp-Att-Int13-20-127-39-3
Return Yards4643
Punts-Avg.8-425-35
Fumbles-Lost3-00-0
Penalties-Yards3-255-30
Time of Possession28:2031:40
INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

RUSHING-OSU, Clarett 14-52, Ross 11-24, Krenzel 12-19, Hall 1-1, team 1-(minus 2). Purdue, Jones 12-28, Harris 11-25, Void 1-2, Kirsch 5-1.

PASSING-OSU, Krenzel 13-20-1-173. Purdue, Orton 18-28-3-169, Kirsch 9-11-0-116.

RECEIVING-OSU, Jenkins 5-87, Gamble 3-51, Hartsock 2-21, Ross 1-8, Childress 1-7, Clarett 1-(minus 1). Purdue, Standeford 8-57, Stubblefield 7-63, Chambers 7-44, Harris 2-45, Williams 1-58, Jones 1-9, Rhinehart 1-9.




BENGALS / NFL
Ravens 38, Bengals 27
Blake empathizes with former mates
Bengals' defense will need to step up once again
The Edge
Isolation booth: Johnson vs. Demps
Levi: Life as a Rookie
Bengals, Ravens stats
Bengals-Ravens by the numbers
NFL notebook, standings
Are you ready for some Monday Night Football history?
Curnutte's NFL power rankings

UC BEARCATS
Sloppy UC still slams NKU
Daugherty: Wrath - not grapes - seems more Huggins' style
Center position still work in progress
UC women win C-USA soccer crown

XAVIER HOOPS
Cole ponders redshirt season
XU women win exhibition

REDS / BASEBALL
Bowden mum regarding free agent wish list
Reds Q & A
Phils set to spend on Thome

OHIO FOOTBALL PLAYOFFS
Elder, Colerain at Nippert Saturday
Where to buy football tickets
Elder 31, Wayne 3
Colerain 28, Lebanon 7
Ohio scores | Ohio pairings
Fans enjoy atmosphere at Paul Brown Stadium
Kings 36, Edgewood 19
Reading 41, Coldwater 38

KENTUCKY FOOTBALL PLAYOFFS
Kentucky scores | Kentucky pairings
CovCath 54, Harrison Co. 6
Beechwood 55, Fairview 7
Boone Co. 34, Oldham Co. 28
Dixie Heights 43, Lou. Ballard 41
Eastern 22, Conner 7
Highlands 56, Anderson Co. 0
Holy Cross 35, Nicholas Co. 14
Lex. Catholic 52, Holmes 20
Lloyd 51, East Carter 20
Louisville Trinity 48, Ryle 9
NewCath 57, Paris 14
Russell 31, Newport 14
Scott 53, Bourbon Co. 22

INDIANA FOOTBALL PLAYOFFS
East Central 38, Whiteland 30


OHIO VOLLEYBALL CHAMPIONSHIPS
Ursuline unseats St. Ursula as Div. I champs
GGCL players rule all-state team

OHIO SOCCER CHAMPIONSHIPS
St. Ursula loses soccer final
Wyoming girls denied soccer title
Madeira boys win state title

KENTUCKY CROSS COUNTRY CHAMPIONSHIPS
St. Henry boys take cross country title
Highlands girls run to state title

PREP INSIDER COLUMN
Prep Insider: Late coach was ahead of his time


COLLEGE FOOTBALL
With backs to wall, Buckeyes battle to 11-0
Hail Mary heave halts fun for UK
Bowen corners market at Miami
Huskies stun BGSU, take first in division
Mount St. Joseph thumped by undefeated Hanover 49-14
Miami crushes Vols
Texas shows Baylor some attitude
Texas A&M ruins party for Sooners
Irish escape Navy
Syracuse topples No. 8 Virginia Tech in 3OT
Big Ten roundup
Top 25 roundup
How the Top 25 fared
College Football Today

COLLEGE HOOPS
Hoops: Big matchups come early, often
Dayton player's parents don't believe son lied

REGIONAL INTERESTS
MSJ football finally growling
Five questions with Brandon Miree
Enquirer Page Two power rankings

NATIONAL HEADLINES
Dredge leads Volvo Masters
Mighty Ducks blank Barons
Kolzig slams door on Flyers
Second-half scoring surge lifts Pacers over Raptors
Women's soccer: U.S. 2, Canada 1
Serena Williams, Capriati advance to WTA semis
Will Fittipaldi be first of new wave of drivers?
Stewart on cusp of Cup title